How to Be Strong when Life Wears You Down

“Be strong and courageous.”

It isn’t a suggestion. In fact, it’s a command. From God.

But what happens when you don’t feel all that strong. What if you’re flat-out tired… exhausted from seemingly constant challenges? Poor health, work, kids, marriage, even church can wear a body down. What then?

God’s answer: “Be strong and courageous.”

It feels a little unrealistic. It’s like being told “Be holy….” when you feel anything but special, set apart, and miles away from perfect.

But look at the second part of God’s demand for holiness: “Be holy, for I am holy.” You aren’t (and can never be) holy or “good enough” in and of yourself. His perfection is what perfects you. In the same way, the words in and around Joshua 1:9 affirm that your strength doesn’t come from your own power or doing. You can’t perpetually will yourself to be stronger or braver. It may work for a little while, but that well only runs so deep.

Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

What you can do is trust. In the middle of the mess, trust that God is strong enough to see you through any challenge. Just as He promised Joshua, He is with you today. You’ll feel His closeness when you lean into Him. If that sounds “touchy-feely” or not practical enough, here’s how you can lean into God and feel His presence.

1. Remember what God has already done for you.

By telling Joshua that He would be with him the way He had been with Moses, God reminded Joshua of His power (Joshua 1:5). Joshua had seen the plagues in Egypt. He had walked through the parted waters of the Red Sea. He had seen water spill out of a rock. He had seen people walk in the desert for 40 years without their feet swelling or their clothes wearing out. In big and small ways, God made His presence and power known to the Jews. How much stronger and braver Joshua must have felt when he remembered that God had already demonstrated immense power and love in countless ways.

2. Meditate on God’s Word and let Him use it to change you.

God’s Word offers instruction for real life. Especially through Jesus’s words in the New Testament, you can learn how to love God, love others, and be more like Him.

God told Joshua to meditate on His word day and night and to follow the law He had given Moses. “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7). In other words, don’t just read it, do what it says.

Today, reading the Bible is how you can get to know who God is and what He wants from you. Meditating isn’t about chanting with a blank mind; it’s about thinking deeply or intentionally focusing your attention on something. Meditate on God’s Word. Let it soak into your soul and change you from the inside out, so that your words, attitude and actions reflect Him and His love.

3. Remember that God will not abandon you.

“I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). God created you because He wants a relationship with you. He wants YOU to know HIM. It’s what He’s always wanted. And it’s why Jesus died for you—so that you could have a personal relationship with God. He will not abandon you.

You never have to be alone because God is as near as your next breath (Acts 17:26-28). Reach out in prayer and ask for His help, courage, and strength. The LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

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