"This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
In verses 6-9, the Lord told Joshua to "be strong and courageous" three separate times. In between those commands, God gave the reasons that Joshua could be fearless. Read these qualifiers that would ensure God’s presence and Israel’s success: "Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do." These verses about courage were not good-luck charms. They were promises from God that were dependent upon whether or not Joshua and the Israelites obeyed His instructions.
We sometimes pick apart the Bible to find verses we like, without reading them in their proper context. We can treat scripture like a collection of sound bites or good-luck charms, never considering the qualifiers that make them applicable to us. For us to know that “the Lord our God is with us wherever we go,” we must align our lives with God’s word. But before we can live it, we must know it. God has written an entire book to give us instructions for life. If we ignore those instructions, we forfeit the right to claim His promises.
Before God’s promises can encourage us, God’s truth must define us.
When we are obeying Him, then we have the confidence to be strong and courageous, knowing He is with us. We can fearlessly stand on God's promises when our live are defined by His commands.