Courage is not optional. It was commanded.

As a young man, Joshua had once spied out the promised land. He and 11 others entered the land of Canaan and found that it flowed with milk and honey. On their spy mission, they came into contact with resistance. Giants. 10 of the 12 said, “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (Numbers 13:33). When faced with giants and fear, the Israelites rebelled against God and spent the next 40 years in the wilderness. 

As the 40 years concluded, Joshua found himself in a new season. Moses had died and his leadership had been passed to Joshua. It was time for Joshua to lead the children of Israel into their promised land.

In the first nine verses of the book of Joshua, God encourages Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. The first time, God exhorts Joshua that He will give the Israelites their promised land. The second time, God instructs Joshua to follow the law and meditate on it. The third and final time God says, “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.”

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.”

Courage was not optional for Joshua. It was a command. God commanded Joshua to be courageous which leads me to believe that courage was an active choice. God gave Joshua a promise and a strategy to fulfill his calling. God reminded Joshua of His promise to give the Israelites their land (Joshua 1:6) and a strategy to succeed by obeying and meditating on the law (Joshua 1:7-8). In these ways, Joshua had ample supply to the resources he needed to lead. Courage was commanded. Courage became an active choice.

In the days that followed, Joshua acted with courage and led his people into their inheritance.

In your current season, do you need to be reminded and commanded, “be strong and courageous, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” God can make courage a command for He knows how to fulfill what He has called you to do. Your job is to courageously trust and obey Him. After all, fear and discouragement (which are real and hard) are faith in an inferior kingdom. You belong to the Kingdom above.

For the sake of lost youth everywhere, courage is not optional, it is commanded.