Bravery. It's fun to read about in books or watch on the movie screen. But when you're called to do something brave … woah, different story.
Vocabulary.com defines brave this way: Courageous, dauntless, perhaps a little bit daring, a person who is brave faces dangerous or difficult situations with courage.
Joshua needed to hear about courage several times before taking people into a new land. God said to him,
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 1:9.
I don't know about you but I have always thought … Joshua, what the heck? You saw God part the red sea, defeat the Amakelites, bring you to the promised land … how can you be scared now? Really?
I don't think anyone is ready to be brave when the opportunity presents itself. Joshua had experience being brave before this assignment … and he still needed to be encouraged.
I see it like this: God throws you a curveball. Not to catch you off guard so you miss it, but because He knows you got this! He needs you to see you're ready to hit that ball out of the park too. He's not your enemy who tries to entice you into a dangerous situation but your guide into the unknown territory that brings greater blessings and freedom.
How is God calling you to be #BraveToo? (I just made that up but it sounds cool to me.)
The #BraveToo Journey
In order to highlight a testimony, you need to share the test. It helps people have faith for a God-sized miracle. That's the good part! I mean, movies aren't made with just the struggle part of the story … we wait to see how it will all work out! No longer the victim of a #MeToo or #ChurchToo or #WeToo but victorious children of God defined by a #BraveToo!
I've joined the ranks of the brave a few times. One hundred percent of the time it didn't work out like I thought it would. Often it was way harder than anticipated. But I've never regretted it. I will write more about the details of my #BraveToo stories in different posts but here are some of the bravest things I've been called to:
I told the elders of a church about the Sr. Pastor who made inappropriate advances (you can read about it here). After being laid off I started my own ministry in faith (and without a job or income to support me) and trusted that if God was calling me to it He would also provide. Still unemployed, I drove across the country by myself for 8 months to serve the homeless, pray with strangers. Just this past year I reported to the police a man who molested me as a child. And … I write blogs to share the vulnerable parts of my life with people I don't know! 🙂
I can tell you that we can't compare brave journey's. Each one is different. What is brave for me may be foolish for you. What may be permitted for you may not be for me. God leads us differently.
Here are 4 things you need to know when you join the #BraveToo movement.
If you are called to be brave you'll have multiple opportunities to do it. Each time you step out you will advance to a new level of authority. The next challenge will be more difficult than you think you can handle but remember you have the Lord behind you.
There will be a “first battle”
Everyone has that first brave moment. It may not be flashy or documented for all to see. But it's powerful none the less because it prepared you for what you face now.
If we look at the life of Joshua we know he was brave enough to leave Egypt with Moses. But the first time we get to see into his bravery is in Exodus 17:9-10, 13.
So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. ….. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
Joshua knew his victory didn't come from his great military strategy because he had none! He knew God intervened. Joshua learned to trust in a powerful God. He was not powerful in his own right yet he came against an entire people (the Amalekites) and fought on God's behalf for the freedom of the people.
We are often called into a situation where we don't have experience or feel qualified. Our only comfort is that people are fighting with us and we have the support of our Moses. This is entry level brave … you still need to lead but you have tons of support. You may be leading others in this battle and the payoff is many people are saved because of our #BraveToo.
Waiting is part of the training
Part of brave training is learning to wait on the Lord. There is nothing more nervewracking than feeling like you can't do anything to move along the promised “good ending.”
In Exodus Joshua and Moses go up the mountain and wait for 6 days. On the 7th day, God calls Moses to come up higher. Joshua waits for 40 days.
(v 12-13) The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God.
(v 16) The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
(v 18) Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Joshua had proven himself to be faithful in the battle. His reward? Wait. By himself. (Good times) He had a few promises to keep him going. He knew the reward would be something to help them (the law and commandments). And let's not discount the amazing opportunity to see the glory of the Lord in the form of a cloud. But not knowing what would come or how long he'd be alone … waiting and not being moved took some guts. I wonder if he felt like hanging out with his friends down the mountain … I mean, does it matter where you wait or who you wait with? Yes.
There are times God will ask us to wait upon Him for further instructions. It's just as hard to wait as it is to fight. No matter what people say or want you to do … if God says wait for further instruction, you wait. You may feel alone and forgotten. You may not know how long you are supposed to wait … the end is not in sight. This is your #BraveToo moment.
Stay faithful even when others aren't
Sometimes your #BraveToo will bring out fear in others. They will turn against you and God because of their own pain. They will turn to what soothes their discontent even if it's against God's ways. God will give you an upgrade for your trouble.
When Joshua and Moses returned from the mountain they found the people made a golden calf. To their surprise, some of the other leaders actually helped! God permitted those who didn't participate to live and the rest were killed. Moses moved the tent of meeting outside the camp. Who did Moses trust to be in charge of the safety of the tabernacle? Joshua!
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. Exodus 33:11
Joshua was the right-hand man of Moses. He was being trained and influenced by one degree of separation from Almighty God! He was found faithful in the past so he was positioned to a greater place of authority. He didn't want to leave the presence of God. And he was trusted because of it.
It takes bravery to stand for the Lord and guard over His word. Sharing your #BraveToo will most likely come at a cost. It's not always the giants in the land that threatens to steal your brave, but those you are used to doing life with. Not everyone will go with you. Not everyone will give up their idols. Not everyone will have faith.
Others need your encouragement
The more you are brave, the more God trusts you with difficult assignments. One of the hardest things to do is to lead others who are afraid.
Joshua went to spy on the promised land. He was given the opportunity to use his leadership skills to evaluate the situation. Then he had to lead the people so they wouldn't give up. (see underlined). Joshua 14:6-9 explains,
And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
We really see the evolution of Joshua's leadership at this point. I love how Joshua declared the goodness in the land and the promise that God would give it to them. But he also warned them that they needed to not rebel against the Lord or fear the people that currently occupied the land. In fact, he saw that the people of the land had lost their protection. God was with the Israelites.
When we keep our eyes on the promises of God we are able to lead others well. In each case, we will see giants that look like they won't move but that can't deter us. You may also be correcting those you are leading from a place of love … but it's always with the goal to stay connected to the Lord. You don't always need to say what's wrong with the enemy or put them down. You just need to remind people of who God is and the promises He has for them. Maybe your current brave test is to see the challenge and encourage others that it is possible to enter the promises of God. That's a powerful #BraveToo story.
Brave Like Joshua
Joshua was brave over and over … He knew it wasn't just about him. It was about the future of God's people.
We know Joshua had been trained and tested as he served alongside Moses. Yet, when it came time to enter the promised land, God had to tell him three times to be courageous. We can assume he too was struggling with fear. But he had the experience and faith to do this hard thing … God just had to remind him He was with him no matter what came against him.
The presence of fear is normal. But if you act out of fear, you may react instead of thoughtfully respond to the situation. The key is to let God speak to your fear by reminding you of who He is and His promises for you. There is no man that can take away the promises of God for your life … no matter what they threaten. In fact, you can often discover what the promises are by how others come against them. They try to act like giants and use scare tactics to keep you out of their territory.
Because of my recent posts on spiritual abuse I've received emails and messages on social media from men and women, ministry leaders and church attendees, the healed and hurting … so many people in different stages of their #BraveToo journey.
I can't tell you what to share or when to share your #BraveToo story. I don't know where you are in your journey. But I can tell you that I want to be like Joshua and engage as the Lord directs me. Each brave step is advancing us to the next level. God will never forsake us. He is for us and not against us. He is good and has good things for us. He protects the innocent and gives courage to the fearful.
Let's commit to supporting each other along the way …. we are #BraveToo.
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
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