Everything in life that is of value requires courage. Joining the church… being baptized… getting involved in ministry…moving countries… getting married…

The men and women of God that we read about in the bible have set great examples of courage. One such leader in the Old Testament is Joshua. He had served Moses, he had fought battles for the people of Israel and he had been one of the spies that came back full of faith that God would give them the Promised Land. Now he faced his biggest challenge – leading the people of Israel across the river Jordan into the Promised Land. God encourages him: 
You and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot. (Joshua 1:2-3)
The call was there, the promise was there, but there was something else required for him so that he could take the land – courage!
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous... 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. 
(Joshua 1:6-9)

We need to take steps of courage to move from today’s reality into the purpose that God has for our lives – this was true for Joshua and it is true for us. We need courage to invite a neighbour to church, to mentor someone who requires advice, to help a refugee family, to pray for 
someone to get healed…

God has a purpose for each and everyone of us (Ephesians 2:10 NIV – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”). Courage enables us to “do the good works” God has prepared for us and to fulfill God’s call on our lives.

So what holds us back from our destiny? Why don’t we progress into everything God has for us? Very simple – courage propels us forward, yet fear holds us back. Fear is the enemy’s favourite weapon.

How can we build up our courage and overcome our fear?

We can Build Courage and Overcome our Fear…
…Through Prayer 
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers” (Anonymous)
It is in prayer that we come to an awareness of God’s greatness and power that helps us to overcome the obstacles we face. Specifically, we need to pray the promises of God. Let us seek the Word of God for the promises that relate to our struggle – promises of healing, restoration, salvation…

…by “Giving it a Go”
The parable of the talents (Matthew 25) illustrates that the Master is most concerned that we make use of what he has entrusted to us. The servant who did not put his resources to use is the servant that displeased its Master. Amazingly, every servant that used what was entrusted to him was able to grow and expand his talents. This shows that in God’s economy, over time we will see results when we step out. We cannot wait until everything has perfectly lined up (Ecclesiastes 11:4 – “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap”). As for the story of Joshua and the entry into the promised land, it was only as the priests put their foot in the water, that the river Jordan opened up. In the New Testament, the lepers were healed as they went to show themselves to the priests. As we step out, God works in and through us.

Most of us discover in life that we “stumble into our destiny” – as we take steps of courage, God’s purposes become clear over time.

…by Becoming our Own “Cheerleader”
We need to learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord. The daily conversations that every person has in their own hearts needs to be reflective of God’s will and purpose. The Psalmist reminds us repeatedly to speak to our soul and to remind it of God’s goodness (Psalm 42, 43, 104, 116, 146). The woman with the issue of blood said “If only I touch his mantle, I will be healed” – she spoke of faith and courage to her own soul. Rather than being your “worst critic”, become your own cheerleader. 
Let’s take it a step further - as a community of faith, we need to “think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 NLT). What a difference it can make if we become a “cheerleading squad” that helps one another to keep up our faith and courage to go for everything God has in store for us.

…by Refusing to be Limited by what People Think
While the bible keeps encouraging us to seek godly advice, it also warns us that an undue focus on what people think of us is a trap. (Psalm 118:6-8)
Fear of Rejection creates on of the biggest obstacles for us to reach out for our destiny. 
 “If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection” (Lecrae)

Your Next Steps
First – It is not only Joshua who received the promise that the land is to be given to him. “The earth is the Lord’s” – so every day, as you walk into your university, hospital, neighbourhood, school, office or factory… remember there is a purpose that God has for you right there.

Second – Be strong and courageous! Be willing to step out and to make your life count.
“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you” (Bethany Hamilton)

Discussion Questions
  1. In which areas of life do you need to step out? Share how you have seen God move before as you took steps of courage.
  2. What holds you back? How you have overcome fear in the past?
  3. Discuss why being in community is so important to reach your own destiny? 
  4. What does the parable of the talents mean in the context of your life? What can you contribute that you have not contributed as yet?
  5. What are the conversations of your heart? How can you become a person of encouragement to yourself and the people around you?

Pray for each other to become people of courage that change their world.

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We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we work and live, the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.