By Phil Porter
When I was appointed the national leader of YWAM Thailand, a scripture verse was given to me from Joshua 1:6 which became my guiding word from that day forward. “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”
At the time, I didn’t fully understand, but only had a glimpse of what God seemed to be describing. On one hand, it pointed to a beautiful vision of the future for all of the YWAM Thailand family. But I knew it was also a significant word for me, personally, in my new leadership role. Why? Because He knows me. He knows all my insecurities, my fears, my worries about not performing well enough or meeting others’ expectations.
Taking on a leadership role at a national level was a daunting task. Although I had vision and hopes and dreams for YWAM Thailand, and felt certain that God and others had confirmed that I was in the right role at the right time, there was still so much I didn’t know how to do. There were so many expectations I didn’t know how to fulfill. There were decisions to make which significantly affected others’ lives. What if my decisions were a disappointment to others? What if I missed an opportunity? What if I couldn’t handle the pressure?
My only option was to seek the Lord and His help to “be strong and courageous”. At one point, I stumbled on an internet article that claimed there were 365 “do not fear” verses in the Bible – one for every day of the year. That was inspiring! So I determined to read every single verse, one per day, that reminded me to be strong and courageous, and to not be afraid. It turns out that there probably are not 365 verses (at least I didn’t find that many). But there are a LOT – probably at least 150, depending on how you count them. This is such a strong reminder of a key message God is constantly communicating to us. “Do not fear. I am with you.”
This process of daily reading the next “do not fear” verse, and writing it in my journal, renewed my courage each day. It reminded me of the presence of the Lord, that He was the One who had called me, and that He was WITH me. I even combined Joshua 1:6 and Mark 6:50 to write a scripture song to take this message deeper into my own heart.
Did God repeat this message of “do not fear” in scripture so often because He expects us to reach a state of not being afraid of anything? Or did He repeat it because He understands our human frailty, and knows we just need to be reminded over and over to bring our fears to Him? My experience has been the latter. Paul said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
So be strong and courageous . . . in the midst of your fears and weakness. That is leading with courage!
*For more ALLC resources on the topic of courage, click here.