The Lord is with you. Walk with Him courageously.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10. We have a home with the Lord which we cannot see yet, so we have to walk by faith. By faith, we know we will appear before Him and be rewarded for what we did on earth. This reward we cannot see yet. In light of receiving a home and rewards which we cannot see, we should seek to please Him in everything.
This takes courage because the world does not understand Him (John 1:9-13); the world hates Him and us (John 15:18-27).
-Paul speaks affirmatively, “we are courageous” (2 Cor. 5:6)…as we submit to the Spirit in us (vs, 5)—which Jesus promised His disciples.
Jesus gave what seemed to be an exclusively future promise of the Holy Spirit, so what about Old Testament believers?
God has always been with His people. One example can be found in Joshua 1:1-9,
“Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success 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 success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
-God’s exhortation (3 times): “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!”
—God’s instruction: Be careful to do everything (vs. 7) in submission to His will at all times (vs. 8).
--When the task looks impossible, we can have courage, knowing God is with us
Another example is David, as seen in Psalm 23. Goodness, lovingkindness, and fearlessness should characterize us as we follow the Lord, our Shepherd.
Jesus was—and is—“God with us.” Matthew 1:18-23,
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
“Save people from their sins…” means saving people from their sinful way of life. Jesus came to give people a new life—HIS life. Jesus was conceived bodily by the Holy Spirit, and we as regenerated believers have our rebirth by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus on many occasions encouraged his disciples to be courageous. One example is Matthew 10:16-20,
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
The courage here is the courage to be different, weaker, and vulnerable. The Spirit helps us in that weakness. Further, in verses 26-31, Jesus says,
““Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
We should fear God, not men.
The worst people can do to us is kill our body. But as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, when we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord! So we can welcome the day our body dies with hope, expectation, and courage.
As we are living in the body, let’s submit to the working of the Holy Spirit, unafraid and unashamed, knowing that we are in the hands of Almighty God—our true home and reward.
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!