Strength to Face the Season Ahead – Olu Jegede

Olu JegedeDevotional

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Joshua 1

6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

There are many opportunities to let fear rule our lives this year, yet God challenges us, via the words to Joshua, to be strong.

What does it mean to be strong?  Does it mean winning a race or a contest?  Or winning an argument?  Does it mean emotional strength, where you are mentally tough and impervious to offense? God tells us being strong is not something we do or put on.  It is a facet of a more important truth, the solidity of our relationship with him. 

Strength ultimately comes from his presence in our lives

That’s why I love the example of Joshua because it illustrates this thought so well. 

You see, Joshua had every reason to be afraid.  He had just inherited the leadership of an entire nation and was tasked with transporting them to their ultimate destination in Canaan.  Joshua was inexperienced and in way over his head. That’s why God commanded him to be strong.

Strength from God gives us courage.  As you can imagine, Joshua would have been very afraid.  Faced with the Moses loyalists and the Joshua naysayers, he needed to be brave.

So how do you be strong?

First, you need to obey the truth revealed in God’s word.  Many times, we wonder why we are afraid, discouraged or lacking strength, and sometimes it’s simply because we willfully choose to disobey God’s word.  When we disobey, we are as powerless as Samson in the Bible, who due to rebellion allowed God’s presence to leave him for a season.  When we disobey God, our strength to fight temptation dissipates as we allow room for the devil to operate in our lives.  At these times we may be confused, indecisive or even anxious, all the while being ineffectual in doing what God has told us to do.

This lack of strength is not limited to spiritual or relational issues, but may also manifest itself physically in our bodies.  I remember hearing of a woman who had a feud with her sibling for over a decade.  Coincidentally this woman also had a debilitating back condition for 10 years.  As she sought her healing, she came to be prayed for by a person known for having the gift of healing.  As the person drew closer to pray for her, all of a sudden he backed off.  He said to her, your sickness is caused by your unwillingness to forgive your sister.  The minister then told her he couldn’t pray for her because it wouldn’t do any good.   Stunned with disbelief, she left the service and went home.  That night she called her sister and made up, the conversation filled with tears and much joy.  The next morning the lady awoke and was healed.

Secondly, we need to internalize the truth of God’s word by meditating on it.  Everyone meditates, it’s just a matter of what you meditate on.  Meditation is simply what we let our minds continually process.  When we meditate on internal issues such as our inadequacies, past mistakes or things external to us such media or other comforts that distract, we have little room left in our minds to ponder the freeing truths of God’s word. We find ourselves incessantly weak and incapacitated to carry out God’s will in our lives.

I want to challenge you, as you pursue God in this new season, to devote yourself to reading, studying, meditating and obeying God’s word.  Doing this will cause you to be strong and courageous, and to see God’s will in your life come to pass  

– Pastor Olu Jegede