Joshua had to face one of the most difficult challenges in leadership: removing sin from the team. Often times, we are afraid to remove the person or thing that is holding us back or pulling us down. It’s easier to just try to get along.
The same is true in our personal lives. It’s easier to just leave the anger inside but learn to “manage it.” It’s easier, we think, just to leave the fear inside and just “push through it.” We allow Satan, his thoughts, and his influences to hang around. That way, we don’t get anyone upset.
God made it clear to Joshua, though, that he would continue to lose in battle “out there” as long as he ignored the problem at home. He needed to remove the cause in Israel before he could go out and fight the battles of the world around him. We need to do the same. But when we remove the problems in us, it is not just so we can feel better or experience the fruit of God’s Spirit. We fight and win the battles within ourselves so we can go back out into the world and start doing our part in battle “out there.” Lived-out courage gets back into battle.
And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it." (Joshua 8:1-2 ESV)
How about you? Do fight and win the battles in your own mind and heart? Does it free you up to go out into the world and fight battles along with God? Do you fight the enemy and love God? Do you fight the enemy and love people? Do you get back into battle?