How are you feeling this January? Is January a time of year for new beginnings and looking at the next 12 months with hope and expectation? Or are you having difficulty waking in the mornings? Do the cold and dreary days, following the fullness of December, leave you worn out or downcast wondering where your strength will come from or when hope will enter in?
I have found myself in both places in past Januarys and often struggle with the New Year Blues for a variety of reasons. This year, I find myself more filled with hope and expectation for what God is doing and will do. In part, some of my attitude is due to focusing on God’s character as my Mighty Warrior as I have pondered Joshua the past 2 weeks. Joshua was bold and courageous despite unbelievable enemies before him.
In the first half of the book of Joshua, we see Joshua as a mighty warrior who entered into the promised land of Israel conquering 31 kings in the land (Joshua 12:24), all while maintaining his devotion to the Lord. Joshua’s success was ultimately determined by the Lord. However, I see several key aspects of Joshua and his life that I believe made him successful and have application for each of us today.
Joshua met with the Lord faithfully and listened to God’s voice. After Moses died, God spoke to Joshua and instructed him in what to do.
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success[a]wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:7-9
Joshua had an unwavering commitment to God’s word and shared it with God’s people.
“And afterward he (Joshua) read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.” ~Joshua 8:34-35
Joshua stepped forward faithfully in his sphere, often arising early in the morning. In Joshua, chapters 3-8, the phrase or words “Joshua arose or set out early in the morning” appear at least 6 times (Josh 3:1, 6:12, 6:15, 7:16, 8:10, 8:14). This may have been one of the tactics marking Joshua’s success in battle or just a coincidence, but I do find the repetition interesting. Often I know, when I arise early in the morning to meet with the Lord and read His word, I find myself more ready to meet the challenges before me, my personal “battles.”
Joshua embodies many of the character traits we long to possess and/or pray for our children or grandchildren to possess. We may not feel powerful or successful like Joshua in the midst of our present January battles. However, we have the promise of ultimate victory from the Mightiest Warrior King – Jesus Christ. In His ministry, Jesus often spoke of the battle for people’s hearts and souls from misplaced priorities where rules, religion, or family were a higher priority than singular devotion to God (Luke 12:49-53, Luke 14:25-33). Jesus demanded full devotion of His followers. Jesus taught of the evil in the present world and promised us we would meet hardship and strife among men and spiritual forces. However, some of His parting words give us hope in His victory.
“Behold the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in Me (Jesus) you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:32-33
Both Joshua and Jesus are examples to us of mighty warriors. They both were devoted to God and met faithfully with Him and shared His Word with others. They both embodied strength, courage, and confidence knowing God was with them as they stepped into the spheres where God placed them and the tasks before them.
So, as you move into and through 2019, whether you find yourself in the midst of an intense battle or full of hope – Be Strong in the Lord. Have courage and confidence that the Mighty Warrior is with you.
- Meet faithfully with the Lord
- Commit to Read God’s Word
- Arise early – even if it is only 5 minutes before everyone else awakes and ask God to arm you with the armor of God
- Put on the full Armor of God before you begin your day. See prayer below.
- Step forward as God’s woman in your sphere of influence facing each day knowing God is with you.
Prayer of Spiritual Protection with God’s Armor based on Ephesians 6:11-20
Surround me with your Spiritual Armor Lord! I put on the Helmet of Salvation which reminds me of what You did for me on the cross. Next, I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness which protects the condition of my heart. I place in my hand the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God that reminds me of your precepts & truth. I put on the Belt of Truth which reminds me of Your promises & to stand firm in my Identity in Christ! I hold strongly the Shield of Faith, that protects me from the flaming arrows of the evil one. I lace up the shoes of the Gospel of Peace, to remind me to speak the Mystery of the Gospel in love! I am Yours Lord, ready to face whatever comes and I know You are with me. Amen.
(I must give credit for this prayer which I have adapted over the years to Sara Coleman McGahey who prayed this over her children enroute to school most mornings many decades ago).
May the following worship song remind you God is with you and you are not alone in the battle you face. For who can stop the Lord Almighty?
The Lion and the Lamb – by Big Daddy Weave https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=aTUX8_ETIjc