Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Uprsing: Courage

Early on in the chapter, Erwin asks a good question: "What's the purpose of having God's power if you don't have the courage to use it?" (90). When we ask for God's power, we shouldn't be expecting a wand to magically fix the problems at hand. God has a track record of calling people to tasks that are much bigger than themselves. We aren't being courageous when we minimize our risks and make everything in our lives manageable.

God Entrusting Responsibility
God intrigues me with the way he entrusts us with responsibility. He makes promises, but we then have to bring them to pass. Take God's promise to Joshua:
I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west. (Joshua 1:2-4)
God has work for Joshua to do. The guy has to actually go and set foot on the land. He doesn't just want Joshua to sit back and wait for God to do it. If Joshua and the people don't act, the promise doesn't get fulfilled.

I know that for some, responsibility is avoided, as responsibility implies expectation. Without truly being entrusted though, we end up just sitting and not truly living. God doesn't desire us to simply spectate, but rather to be engaged and fully live by doing.

Courage and Truth
There's a lot that can be said about God's charge to Joshua in the beginning of the Joshua, and Erwin does a good job walking through it. One common thing people remember from this passage is God's repeated command to Joshua to "be strong". The Hebrew for "be strong" apparently means to fasten yourself to something. Erwin describes this as the "pit bull part of character" (95). It's where you grab hold to what is right and true, and refuse to let go. This holding on and not letting go is the difference between momentary courage and moral courage.

No matter how small or large the take, being strong is to be rooted in what is true. This is why true courage has the integrity prerequisite. And in God's charge to Joshua, he exhorts him to meditate on the Book of the Law night and day. God's saying, "my words are truth, and you need to marinate in them continually so that truth seeps through your being".

Having this foundation of truth and relentless holding on to obey it is so key. There is so much we don't know (especially about the future), but if we commit to do what we know is truth, then our course suddenly becomes clear. "The key to the future is not revelation, but obedience" (96). This principle is really helpful for me. Instead of focusing on what I don't know or getting frustrated that God isn't telling me what I want to know, I need to take a step back and focus on and do what I do know.

The Speed of Courage
Erwin writes:
When we walk in truth, we accelerate the process and literally fast-forward the future. When we remove hesitation and disobedence from our lives, we not only begin to live more fulfilling lives, but actually seem to live more life than others. When we are slow to live in God's truth, we begin to experience life as a slow drip. But when we passionately obey God's word, life is unleased like a wide-open fire hydrant. (98)
This is so true. I have been there with God where I'd repsond with the unconditional yes. I wouldn't let my circumstances or responsibilities interfere. I could feel my intuition lining up more and more with God. I would trust the thoughts that would pass through my head and act on them.

I have noticed for some time now that this has waned. I'm not exactly sure how or why, but I do really want to turn the corner. To do this, I need to get back to the basics of knowing truth and acting on it. That's what the focus of this Lent will be.

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