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August 18, 2018

How to “Be Strong and Courageous” Today

By Annie Garman

“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.” (Deut. 31:6)

In this passage, Moses is speaking to Israel about crossing the Jordan and taking possession of Canaan. He is repeating to them what the Lord has told him. In the Old Testament, there are many commands to be courageous, and they were all given in specific situations, like the Lord to Joshua regarding conquest of Canaan, David as he encourages Solomon to build the temple, the Lord’s encouragement in Isaiah, and so forth. 

So, what about us, centuries later?  

What are we to be courageous about?  About expressing our feelings?  Following our dreams? Being our true selves?  Making our mark?  Changing the world?

First Corinthians 15:58 states, “Be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (emphasis added). 

We are to be courageous as we give ourselves completely to God’s work.  What exactly is God’s work?  Listening to Jesus’ final words on this earth can help us to answer, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of[a] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember,  I am with you always,[c] to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20). 

How many of us turn away from foreign missions simply out of a lack of courage? 

How many of us refuse to share the gospel with our neighbors because we choose fear instead of bravery? 

How many of us don’t attempt to disciple someone because it’s just too daunting? 

Many of us use the excuses that it’s not practical or safe to avoid the call to bring the gospel to the nations. 

Being about the Father’s business is what we were created for, and we must fight to not lose sight of this in the midst of life’s demands. But, how? This really isn’t the question, isn’t it? 

The only reason we can be courageous is because God is with us. Not our own with slick maneuvering.  Not our strength or popularity.  Not our talent or wealth.  The God of the universe is with us. 

He’s ahead of us, clearing the way. “The Lord is the one who will go before you” (Deut. 31:8a). 

He’s at our side, comforting us.  “He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged” (Deut. 6:8b).

He is even behind us, tucking us in like a good parent. Psalm 139:5 reminds us, “You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me.”

We are surrounded by God on every side.  For this reason, and this reason alone, we can take courage.  

Jesus was courageous, even as death breathed down His neck.  Very few of us will be called to be courageous to that point.  Will we choose to not be discouraged and afraid?  Will we instead fix our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith (who, remember, is with us in every direction) and work courageously for Him?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annie Garman

Annie B. Garman is a pastor’s wife and mother to four excitable girls, and author of Unexpected Grace: When Your Child is Born With Half a Heart. She and her family serve at Pillar Church in Northern Virginia where the traffic is thick, but the church planting opportunities abound. Their network of churches is attempting to plant a reproducible gospel-centered church at every Marine Corps base around the world (praetorianproject.org). Her biggest passion is to know Christ and make Him known in whatever situation she finds herself in. Annie shares her thoughts on motherhood, mayhem, and the meaning of life at anniebgarman.com.

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