He crawled to the edge of the hill and peered over. There was really no reason to crawl. The enemy had no idea he was there. More than that, none of them were afraid of him. But one can’t be too careful.
The enemy territory was vast, and all that was going through his mind was the report of 10 of the 12 spies his mentor decided to listen to. They talked about giants and formidable foes. And the people listened to them over him and his friend Caleb.
That was 40 years ago. That entire generation died off in the wilderness from lack of faith. Here they were again. He had seen God do incredible things. But when Moses died, it was all up to Joshua. How could he, as Moses’ understudy, ever leave these obstinate people to victory?
That’s when he heard God’s voice, “Be strong and courageous!” God promised that he would be with Josh every step of the way. He wouldn’t have to do it on his own. And not only that, but God promised his word would be with Joshua as well. He couldn’t lose!
But three times for encouragement God told Josh to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). Some say courage is choosing bravery instead of fear. But Joshua experienced courage as relying on God when we are afraid.
Perhaps Paul thought of Joshua when he talked about the armor of God and the battles Christians would face. Four times as he began talking about the spiritual battles in our lives, Paul mentions standing or standing firm. He also uses words for strength as he introduces this topic.
To face temptations, evil in this world, wickedness of all kinds, the flesh and evil desires, and the list goes on, we must have the strength of the Lord and stand firm in the battle. None of the pieces of armor provide protection for the back. Retreating is not an option, nor should it be, because we serve the victorious Lord Jesus.
We’re in the fight for God but he didn’t leave us without any resources to be victorious. He commands us to be strong in God’s strength and might (Ephesians 6:10). But his strength comes with an entire suit of armor to defeat every firing dart of the devil headed for us.
God’s armor is not our last defense. We don’t run and put the armor on after we have been mortally wounded. It goes on the moment we awake. And we don’t just put on a few pieces. The whole armor works as a system together.
We don’t put it on to look cool like those old suits of armor from the medieval ages. Know this is the working person’s armor. It’s not for show. It’s to stand against the devil’s schemes. After thousands of years, he has a lot of schemes.
It doesn’t matter what he brings against us. If we are wearing the armor and connected to Jesus in vibrant, regular relationship, nothing he does can touch us. He can think up any kind of plan to catch us off guard, but the armor of God helps us see through anything he brings.
But I must stress again that we must have the armor on. It does no good sitting in the corner of our minds or in the pages of our Bibles. The Enemy is real, as real as the battle. He has all kinds of plans in place. Let’s not make ourselves easy prey.
As we walk through each piece of the armor of God, praying through them to with prayer, this series will be like a battlefield manual. When we come up against circumstances designed to trick us and bring us down, knowing how to use the armor and fight with it will not only protect us from the enemy but will give us the tools to defeat him by God’s strength and power.
Before we get into the armor pieces, there is one more important piece of information we must know. It’s all about our true enemy. Without knowing the enemy, we won’t have the right tactics to defeat the right enemy.
How have you defined courage in the past? Leave a comment and tell me what you think courage is and how to get it.