Leaving the past behind and moving forward
There comes a time in all of our lives where God will call us to step out of our comfort zone and embrace something new that He has in store for us. As the chosen children of God, we have each been given a destiny and a purpose; a unique assignment to fulfill during our time here on earth that will ultimately serve as our testimony to glorify God. But in order to move forward with God’s good plans for our life, we must leave the past behind us and press forward, despite how unqualified we may feel for the task and despite our own fears of failure that will try to hinder us. Taking hold of our spiritual inheritance requires a righteous boldness and trust in God. Oftentimes moving forward in faith doesn't mean we won't feel fear, but it's not giving into it. It means stepping out, even when we're afraid.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
After mourning Moses’ death, God told Joshua that it was time for him to step into his new position in leading the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. After serving as Moses’ assistant for 40 years, Joshua was an eyewitness to the many ways God powerfully used Moses in his lifetime. As Israel’s new leader, Joshua would not only have to gain the trust of God’s people—who recognized Moses as God’s chosen instrument and submitted to his leadership—but Joshua would likely have to work through thoughts of comparison and inadequacy because of the legacy Moses left behind. No doubt, Joshua had big shoes to fill but God was not calling Joshua to simply be another Moses; He was calling him to pick up his own mantle and lead the Israelites into new territory—something that had not been done before. Joshua may not have felt ready to step into this role but in his years of faithful service to Moses, God had actually uniquely positioned Joshua for the task ahead. What God was requiring from Joshua was a bold step of faith into foreign land.
We learn from Joshua’s life that following God requires courage. New things will always seem frightening to us at first but if we want to see the blessings of God over our life, we must respond to His call and be obedient to His leading. This requires abandoning our own desire for self-sufficiency and allowing God to stretch our capacity to trust in Him through the process, no matter how crazy it may seem. When God spoke to Joshua and told him not to be afraid or discouraged, He was encouraging Joshua not to give into fear or allow it to hold him back from the victory that was to come. This instruction came with the comforting assurance that God would be with him every step of the way. Jesus would even later confirm this promise by physically appearing to Joshua near Jericho as the mighty Commander of the Army of the Lord to personally lead His people into battle.
Is fear holding you back from stepping into your spiritual inheritance? Perhaps God is calling you to a new job, business venture or relationship that requires closing one chapter and starting a new one. In our own fears and doubts, we can often become hesitant to take that first step of obedience, which tends to be the hardest one to make. Instead, we may outrightly refuse God's call, delay our assignment or choose not to move forward without understanding the whole plan. The reality is that in most cases, we don't need more assurance from God; what we need is the boldness to step into what He has asked of us. As uncomfortable as we may feel in the process, we can rest assured that God can be trusted with our future and that He will never leave us or forsake us. Realize that God wants to use you and begin taking baby steps of faith in that direction, trusting that if He has called you to it, He will bring you through it!