Joshua 1-3; Mark 15
The biggest opportunities for growth come when you step out and take risks. The Bible is full of both risk-takers and those who ran away. The question becomes which will you be when God approaches you with a step of faith to take?
The Lord told Joshua multiple times to be strong and courageous. Part of this charge of being strong an courageous was to be careful to obey the Lord's commands. I think as humans, we don't realize how much courage we can get from clear instruction, whether it is from the Lord or in the midst of a project here on earth. We have more confidence when we have clear direction. The Lord also tells Joshua that He'll be with him wherever he goes. Embedding God's Word on your heart is one way to carry Him everywhere, outside of His actual presence with you.
Rahab took a huge risk in hiding the scouts from the soldiers. Despite her past, Rahab knew the right thing to do, and because of that she and her family would be blessed. You don't have to be cleaned up to come to Christ and serve Him. He'll take you as you are and begin the work on your heart as you go. He has a place for you in His family and in His service. Rahab is a great example of this as we read how boldly she spoke of the Lord's people. She knew that having the Lord on your side was the side to be on. Do you have mistakes from your past that keep you from fully serving God? Remember this story of Rahab and know that you too can be used and redeemed by a beautiful Savior.
The people were getting ready to cross the Jordan, which I'm sure was a nerve-racking thing for them. Joshua tells them "purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you." What would you do with those words? When the people do go to cross, they must allow the Ark of the Covenant to be ahead of them, as the Lord would lead the way and part the overflowing waters. It can be so hard to take a step into what seems so chaotic and scary, wondering if God will actually deliver you. Remember how the people allowed God to go before them, however. Follow God's leading and keep your eyes on Him as you step out in faith and allow Him to take the glory for your deliverance.
Jesus took the ultimate risk for us. While He was fully God and fully human, we know He knew His Father's will, but we know He felt with human emotions, like we do. He was probably terrified, yet had confidence that His Father's will was to be done to deliver a world that would be otherwise separated for eternity. Pilate on the other hand, didn't want to take the risk. He knew that Jesus was innocent and he even asked the people who should be released, but allowed the convicted criminal to go instead, worried that a riot against him would start.
After Jesus died, Joseph took a risk as a member of the Jewish Court. In order to give Jesus a proper burial, he risked his reputation and took care of Jesus' body instead. The women were in the same boat. They couldn't speak for rights. They couldn't stand up openly to the guards or the crowds, but they did all they could, and ended up playing a big role in spreading the news of Jesus' resurrection. We must look at the risks we take in life and see if they outweigh the ramifications. A risk for God is always worth it and will far-exceed any reputation you are trying to protect. Stand firm and courageous.
Step out and take risks that God calls you to. This is a hard thing to do, as you worry about your life and reputation, but remember that if you are stepping out for God, your risk will far outweigh the life you are trying to protect for yourself. These may be bold words, but there is great evidence in God's Word.