Summary: If you want to find the courage to fulfill your calling, trust in the promises of God; obey the precepts of God; rest in the presence of God; and receive support from the people of God.
In an episode from the classic 1960’s TV series, The Andy Griffith Show, Andy Taylor, the sheriff of Mayberry, is out of town. His deputy, Barney Fife, is in charge, and he has deputized the local mechanic, named Gomer. The two deputies are walking down the street one evening when they notice that someone is robbing the town's bank. Very much afraid, they hide behind a car and don't know what to do. Finally, Gomer looks at Barney and says excitedly, “Shazam! We need to call the police.”
In utter exasperation, Barney shoots back: “We are the police!” (Stephen Mansfield, Mansfield's Book of Manly Men, Nelson, 2013, page 12; www.PreachingToday.com)
As we look around our world, we see the evil and it scares some of us. We don’t know what to do, and we think somebody ought to do something. Then we realize that God has called US to do something. “WE are the police,” so to speak.
Jesus said to His followers: “You are the salt… You are the light” in a dark and decaying world (Matthew 5:13-16).
Claude Alexander, bishop of The Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, says this to believers everywhere:
There are questions that beg to be answered. There are dilemmas to be overcome. There are gaps to be filled, and the challenge is for you to fill them… There is a purpose for your being here. You are meant to answer something, solve something, provide something, lead something, discover something, compose something, write something, say something, translate something, interpret something, sing something, create something, teach something, preach something, bear something, overcome something, and in doing so, you improve the lives of others under the power of God, for the glory of God. (Claude Alexander, "Can You Do Any Better?" Sermon, PreachingToday.com)
The call is clear for every believer in Christ: Do something with God’s power for God’s glory!
The only thing many of us lack is the courage to answer the call. Joshua, Moses’ successor in the Old Testament, found himself in a similar predicament. Moses had just died and now Joshua is in charge. God has called Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised land, to conquer all their enemies, and to possess all that God has given them.
It’s a huge, scary task, but God says to Joshua no less than four times: “Be strong and courageous.” “Be strong and courageous” as you face the task ahead. “Be strong and courageous” as you conquer evil in this world. “Be strong and courageous” as you answer My call on your life.
The question is how. How do we find the courage to do what God has called us to do? How do we become brave enough to do something about the evil in our world? How do we gain a holy boldness to be salt and light in a dark and decaying culture? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Joshua 1, Joshua 1, where God shows Joshua and us how to find the courage to do His will.
Joshua 1:1-6 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. (ESV)
God reminds Joshua of the promises He made to Abraham, Jacob, and Moses – the promise of land (Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:31) and the promise of His presence (Genesis 28:15; Deut. 31:6). Then, based on those promises, God says, “Be strong and courageous.” My dear friends, if you want to find the courage to do what God calls you to do, first of all…
TRUST IN THE PROMISES OF GOD.
Rely on what God has pledged to do for you. Depend on the Lord’s infallible Word.
God promised Joshua possession of the Promised Land, His power, and His presence. And God promises the same kind of things to you and me who believe!
1 Peter 1 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, he has caused us to be born again… to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).