A vital element: Morale
In the blood, sweat and violence of warfare it is not always the larger army that wins. Nor the better equipped.
There is that difficult to define but vital element to a regiment called morale, which can draw nearly superhuman feats of daring and gallantry out of soldiers.
Discouragement is the devil’s dynamite
Low morale is perhaps easier to see: where well trained, fully equipped troops lack the stomach for a fight.
We might call it by a different name, but we have something remarkably similar within our Christian life and experience. Discouragement is the devil’s dynamite, while fear is his idea of fun.
And so, Joshua was commanded to be strong and courageous – in fact, be strong and very courageous, in an oft-repeated instruction. Get across that Jordan River and take the land. And, although being sent in against a numerous and powerful foe, with cities that had walls up to the sky, Joshua is given only two dangers to watch out for. You’ve guessed them – discouragement and fear!
Goliath intimidated the entire army of Israel, until one young man with an audacious faith in God told him, “Today I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.”
And he did. Which would you rather be like: the ranks of Saul’s army who were ‘dismayed and terrified’ or a young shepherd boy who was strong and courageous? It’s not a difficult choice, and faith is what makes the difference.
Face to face with Jericho
If only it were easy! We set out on our Christian walk determined to make a difference for the Kingdom of God – but that is before we come face to face with Jericho (Jos 6). Faith is not so much fun when we’re coping with the defeat and hardship caused by Achan’s sin (Jos 7). And, with the very best of intentions, it is easy to fall for Satan’s lies when they are as plausible as the story the Gibeonites came up with (Jos 9).
Before you know it, your faith has changed into fear, and discouragement is draining your strength away. And who wants to be a hero anyway?
But we don’t have to stay there! The call of God comes to each one of us afresh today: to reject fear and discouragement; to shake the dust off our faith and stand to our feet with the audacity of David.
Every believer has to do battle with the devil’s deadly duo, but we don’t have to be defeated. We have the promise of God and his command to stand on and the Word of God, which guarantees success.
And so, like David and Joshua and many other giants of the faith, let’s stand tall and make each day count for the cross and for the Kingdom!
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