God’s Presence Equips Us
Open Your Bible
Joshua 1:1-9, Joshua 1:17, Joshua 10:8-14, Romans 8:31-39
God calls His people to take part in establishing His kingdom on earth, and His presence secures our victory.
I played on a smattering of different sports teams growing up. Soccer, volleyball, basketball—I tried them all at some point or another. And while I loved athletics, I was never the “star player” of a team. You know that kid who seems like they were born to swim laps or shoot a three-pointer? I wasn’t that kid, but I got to play on teams with that kid. And having an exceptionally talented athlete on your team is a blessing, because their strength becomes your team’s strength.
When I think of God’s power, I think of Him like that star player who carried the rest of our team on to victory. Sure, everyone got to participate during the game, but make no mistake, there would be no “win” if God didn’t show up to make the plays and set the strategy. Honestly, He could win every single game by Himself, but He graciously chooses to involve and work through other players.
The thing is though, in our daily lives God is often an unseen force leading our team. And so we can make the mistake of thinking we need to be the star player or maybe even call some of the shots. Perhaps we feel God prompting us to help build His kingdom in a specific way, but then we think all the pressure rests on our shoulders. Let me tell you from experience, that is a recipe for disaster. Either we will become prideful and think we really are the star of the show and take all the credit that God deserves, or we will become fearful, knowing we cannot measure up, causing us to spiral into discouragement.
The book of Joshua reminds us that it is through God’s power, not our own, that His kingdom is built. God directed Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. It was natural for them to be afraid as they stepped onto unknown soil with enemies around every corner, but God continually reassured His people that He would never leave them. He would show up for the game. They only needed to trust and obey. God would carry them to victory, and they would get to participate in the celebration.
Just as God encouraged the Israelites to be “strong and courageous,” He encourages us to do the same. In every good work the Lord has called us to, we must not forget that “the LORD [our] God is with [us] wherever [we] go” (Joshua 1:9). It does not all rest on our shoulders. In fact, God doesn’t need us to accomplish His purposes. We should neither be arrogant nor insecure. Instead, we can be grateful we get to play on the winning team, taking part in the thrill of a game well won, and celebrating the victory that God has already secured. While we work passionately, we no longer sweat the outcome because we know that in the end, God always wins.
When Christ went down to the grave and rose up victorious, not even death could defeat Him. Just as we join with Christ in His death, we will one day join with Him in resurrection (Romans 6:5). As Paul says, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39), and that is the greatest prize of all.