Faith is not the absence of fear. Therefore faith requires courage. When I resigned to stay home with my children, it was fearful. Can we really afford this? Can I do it? When I started going to church for the first time in my life, it was fearful. I’m a fish out of water. I don’t fit in. What am I doing? When I was asked to teach Sunday school, it was fearful. How am I going to teach? And the Bible of all things!
As I continued walking with God and being led by the Spirit, God brought me further into His perfect plan. Each time it included surrendering self-reliance and trusting God to enable me to do His will. It was scary. It is no different today then the day I resigned to stay home with my children. I still don’t feel qualified or adequate. Nor can I see how God is causing all things to work together. But I believe it.
Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. While there is hope, there is not proof that it will happen. Faith is seeing ahead and believing that God will prove His word. The knowledge of God gives us spiritual sight that intellectual knowledge cannot attain. Intellectual knowledge causes us to doubt the impossible, the improbable, the impractical, and the unlikely. It was impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have Isaac. It was improbable that the Israelites would conquer and dwell in the Promised Land. It is impractical to think five stones could kill Goliath or seven loaves of bread and a few fish could feed a multitude. It was unlikely that God would use a rough fisherman like Peter or a Pharisee like Paul.
Our knowledge of God inspires us see life from God’s perspective. Having the mind of Christ formed in us fortifies the soul with courage. The promises of God are “yes” and “amen,” but they don’t walk into us. We walk by faith into them. And, often, that is scary because it demands that we let go of the natural to yield ourselves to the supernatural. Faith and hope are not the same things. Hope is a confident expectation in the goodness and faithfulness of God. Faith is more than mental agreement or believing in our heart. Faith transforms our belief into action. We start to order our time, resources, and energy into preparation for fulfillment. Abraham believed God and left Haran not knowing where he was going. When he left Haran, God had not yet defined the Promised Land. It was unseen. What do you see in your spiritual mind that you cannot see with natural eyes?
It was twenty-five years before Abraham and Sarah had Isaac. Thirty years after David was anointed King, Israel crowned him King of all Israel. Even Jesus, who was made in the likeness of man, is estimated to have walked 3,125 miles during His three years of ministry. Paul walked an estimated 10,000 miles. Their journeys started with a single step into the promise.
The Israelites didn’t cross the Red Sea because of great faith. They crossed because of the mercy of God. They crossed because they feared Pharaoh and his approaching army. Sometimes our first steps of faith are steps of desperation. The mess that we are in is more painful than the fear of the unknown. God does not despise us the weakness of our faith. He rewards us with revelations of His faithfulness. He allows us to taste and see that the Lord is good so that we grow in our faith. He uses our weaknesses to prove to us that He is the author and perfecter of our faith.
Nothing undermines courage more than hoping in the wrong thing. 1 Peter 1:21 says, “see to it that your faith is in God.” When faith is in our ability, it results in pride for some and fear of failure for others. When faith is in the immutable character of God, it produces courage that overcomes fear. Letting go of the natural is impossible until we trust in the supernatural. Many times, I “gave it to God” and “laid it down,” but I deceived myself. From the sideline, I continued as a micromanager asking God to bless my strength and my plan. I was sincere, but I didn’t trust God. With each step, I began to trust in God’s proven character and integrity. With every small step, God revealed Himself to me. The more God revealed Himself to me, the more my faith shifted from faith in myself to faith in God.
2 Peter 1:3-4 says that grace and peace are multiplied through our knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing by divine inspiration that our old man was crucified with Christ and that Christ raised us up and seated us with Himself in heavenly places, inspires us to trust God, to seek God, and to reach out to touch Father who reached down and touched us with His own Spirit. As you step into the promise of God, you step into the divine, the supernatural, the life of the Father. Then you grow in your knowledge and faith grows in you.
Joshua never doubted the power of God to deliver them and give them the inheritance. When the twelve spies were sent out, Joshua and Caleb believed that God would bring them into the land and give it to them. But the Israelites spent forty years walking in unbelief. They had a pillar of fire by night, a cloud by day, daily manna, and clothes that did not wear out. God spent forty years showing His faithfulness despite their unbelief. God first had to prepare their hearts to cross the Jordan River so that He could lead them into the Promised Land.
In the first chapter of Joshua, four times God says to Joshua, “only be strong and be courageous.” Wasn’t Joshua always strong and courageous? Didn’t he always believe God would give them the land? Yes! Then why does God encourage Joshua to be strong and courageous? Because stepping out in faith, letting go of the natural, and embracing the supernatural requires courage even when you believe. God not only tells Joshua to be courageous, but He also tells Him how to be courageous. He tells Joshua to obey God’s commands, to meditate on God’s word day and night, and to speak God’s promises. The Bible is the only book written that is alive. The written Word is a revelation of the living Word, Christ Jesus. Christ is the exact image and representation of the Father. When we grow in our knowledge of God the Father and Christ our Lord, grace is multiplied to us. Grace is the courage to walk into the promises of God.
Faith is not the absence of fear. It is the presence of courage. Where ever God is leading you, hold onto the living word which will open your spiritual eyes to see and quicken your soul with the courage to walk. “Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).”
Father God, be courage unto me. Let my strength come from above where my life is hidden in Christ Jesus. Bless me according to your loving kindness to walk in your ways. Today I choose to take a step into the promises and follow you. Amen.