Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance.  Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go.  This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9

Too often I think we fall off of the wagon because we get discouraged. It can become a cycle. We aren’t listening to God’s commands and sin so we get discouraged which is also disregarding His commands and sinning some more. We forget to get into The Word. His Word, that gives us all that we need. Maybe we only read the warm fuzzy verses. Or perhaps we read only the commandments and feel convicted and condemned before we even get out of bed in the morning.

We have to read God’s Word in context and in its entirety. God’s commands are backed by His promises which are based on His Character. God doesn’t have a god complex. He doesn’t tell us to do things for the sake of doing them. He tells us to do things that align with His plan which are for the ultimate good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) The more scripture we learn, the more we know His character. The more we know His character and scripture, the more we can rest assured that His promises are good and the more in love with Him we will fall. The more we know and love Him, the easier it is to follow His commands.

Had Joshua not known God, it wouldn’t have made a lick of sense to be strong and courageous against the inhabitants of the Promised Land. (Numbers 13 tells of Joshua and Caleb’s account of Canaan as based on God, not the circumstances.) But Joshua DID know the Lord and Joshua knew scripture. And He knew it was, in fact, promised land.

So when God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous, Joshua didn’t hesitate to obey. He knew God’s commands were tied to His promises. God promised success in everything Joshua did. He promised all the land he set foot on. God promised His presence. Joshua also knew that God’s promises were backed by His never-changing character, justice, and steadfast love. He had seen it time and time again. He had read it and meditated on it.

God extends these same promises and commands to you and I. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We need to dive into the Word so we, like Joshua, can confidently stand on His promises and character as we fall more and more in love with our personal, relational God. I believe the more we know Him, the less like commands they’ll actually seem in light of His goodness & presence.  “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2-3)