When I was growing up I had a great desire to be something, to make a difference and to leave a mark when I left the earth.
I would often dream of being a sporting superstar. I remember a particularly inspiring poster my Dad gave me; a surfer looking into a big wave with the words, "face your fears and live your dreams".
This was the motto of No Fear, an early 90s surf brand that was all about adrenaline and taking a risk. This phrase became a word of inspiration and spurred me on in my life—whether in sport, relationships, family, education and more.
"Be strong and courageous"
I became the surfer, I faced my fears many times and have lived my dreams on many waves—achieving and experiencing way more than I could have imagined.
Courage is the opposite emotion to fear—something that allows us to step forward in faith.
I was having some quiet time with the Father recently and I felt the words of Joshua chapter 1, verse 9—"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous."—fill my heart and begin to challenge me in my current life situation.
This verse is about Joshua's choice between the ways of the wilderness (where the Israelites were stuck and stubborn) or to be courageous and to walk into the promise of God, first spoken to Joshua's descendent Abraham, to move into the Promised Land over the Jordan River. As the Israelites stood on the banks of this raging river their fearless leader would have to be courageous and step forward.
I realised I had an opportunity to let these words take hold in my heart—overcoming the battlefield of the mind and manifesting into an action that would change my life and lives of those around me.
Steps to courage
What does it take to be courageous?
We all experience moments where the first emotion to arise is fear; for some of us this is the most common response to change. I wonder what leads us to this place. Is it our culture? The world? Our peers?
This prevents so many people from walking courageously into their dreams. So what is the solution? Joshua's story and my own personal experience reveal there are few key things that make us courageous.
A focus on God and his plan
So much of our fear is the result of failing to keep our heart and mind fixed on God.
Just like the Apostle Peter sinking into the ocean waves and currents as he attempted to walk on water towards Jesus, we also lose focus. Too often we focus on the problem, circumstance and situation rather than on God. We succumb to fear and then, as a result, lose that opportunity.
Joshua remembered God's Promised Land and he had plenty of evidence to suggest that God would be faithful; through the Israelites' history. For me, I know that my history, my testimony, has proven that God never lies and always fulfils his promises.
When you remember and focus on God he fills you with courage and he reminds you who you are in him. There is no greater inspiration than when God reminds us: "for he who is in you is greater than he is in the world" (1 John chapter 4, verse 4).
Belief without doubt
Belief in God's faithfulness can sometimes be a battle, especially when we are tempted to doubt God's goodness.
When Jesus rebuked his disciples it was often because they stopped believing in the God who is able and can do the impossible. For in God "all things are possible" and he passed this same power to be with us, to live in us and spur us on to great things.
In this process we actually become supernatural and override the limitations of the world; and as a result become mighty women and men of God.
Discipline and diligence
Jesus's followers were not called 'easy ones' or 'relaxed ones' they were called disciplined ones, meaning there was a choice to be disciplined and to be diligent in how they followed Jesus.
I have learnt this over these past few months; especially in my journey to being a professional artist. If I am not disciplined and practice my craft regularly, I cannot expect the Holy Spirit to bring masterpieces.
God calls us into partnership and this means we have a big part. Joshua had to literally step on to the water and put his focus on God and his belief into action. We must also focus on God and step out in faith if we want to live the dream—the plan that God has for us.
A call to be courageous
Be courageous and when you feel the fear rising remember you are a son or daughter of the Most High God. Remember God's promises are true and his Spirit equips you to do great things: you are supernatural.
The last part of Joshua chapter 1, verse 9 says: "do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."—that's what I call the backing of heaven as you live out the dream God has for your life.
Justin Monaghan is currently launching as a professional prophetic artist under the label JR Faith Creations and runs a creative home fellowship with his wife Liana. Justin is also heavily involved in his local surfing community of South Australia as a surf coach, a judge of surf contests and a member of Christian Surfers
Check out JR Faith Creations to see some of his art at www.jrfaithcreations.com
Justin Monaghan's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/justin-monaghan.html