It has been suggested that eighty percent of people who go to a counselor are struggling with change. When we encounter change the difficulties we face are often related to a lack faith and/or courage.
Joshua, after the death of Moses, was faced with the biggest change of his life. It was a time when perhaps he was undoubtedly grieving and just ready to sit back for awhile. He might have even been tempted to be comfortable in the wilderness. But, the Lord makes it clear this is not a time to hang back. It is a time to face the transition of his life. Joshua 1 has some lessons for us when we are faced with a change and transition.
- Discovering your potential mission is a first priority. Joshua was given a clear mission based on God’s previous declaration. Now he is given a direct command ARISE, GO over this Jordan. Let me suggest three things that help in discovering our mission.
- Respect the past. Joshua was blessed to have a long term mentorship under Moses. One of the lessons I would draw from this is: always respect the past leadership and your mentorship.
- Recognize the present changes and culture. The change for Joshua was clear. Moses had passed, and it was now time for him to take the leadership position. It is very likely that even this generation had become passive about the potential of the promised land and even comfortable living in the desert. One of the biggest challenges leaders face in transition is that people have become passive. This is a major problem in small churches. Transitional time is when we need to discover the potential vision and mission of the church.
- The response of leadership in transition is to be ready to move forward. If leadership is passive there will be no movement and opportunities will be missed.
- Dependency on the power of the Lord is an essential to reaching the potential. Joshua was given a promise with few conditions.
Joshua 1:6-7, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
The conditions are essential to success in any transition focused on the biblical mission.
- Be strong and courageous are qualities essential for success in times of transitions. A key to remember is that our strength is dependent on knowing God’s promises and His calling. The root of being strong and courageous is being committed to the mission.
- Do not turn or stay on the path. It is easy to get distracted from our mission. You probably at least know of the book, “The Tyranny of the Urgent.” Often the urgent is what turns us to one side or the other distracting us from the mission.
- Success is the promise when we observe to follow the instructions.
- Devotion to the promise is at he heart of being successful. Joshua had the promise of God’s presence, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). When we are devoted to the command of the Lord we do not need to be frightened or dismayed.
The mission and promise to Joshua is very similar to the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20
Many churches today need to realize they are facing a transition. Some are at transitions that will determine the future of the church. Getting back to the mission must be the first priority. Likewise, many churches feel powerless and need to remember to depend on God’s power over their programs. We have a promise of success, but it requires being mission focused.