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Cultivating a Courageous Spirit



What does it look like to turn opposition into opportunity? In this talk, Ben Stuart shares how faith in a faithful God produces a humble confidence and the hope we need in order to have courage during tough times. In every season, we can trust the Lord to lead us through any opposition we encounter.

Key Takeaway

Life can be hard, but that doesn't mean God is not good. He loves to bless us in ways that don't look like a blessing at first. Remain faithful to him, and He will provide.

So often we feel like, "I'm trying to get to a place that is good, why is this so difficult?" Excessive friction turns into futility and we give up. Discouragement and despair are having a moment right now in America.

Read Joshua 17:14-17 - Ephraim and Manasseh are the sons of Joseph, one of the tribes of Israel. They are essentially having a little pity party. Joshua is going to show us how to encourage a courageous heart on a discouraging day.

Joshua 17:14 - The two sons are doing what almost every young leader says, "I'm blessed, give me more." It's a bizarre mix of entitlement and victimhood mentality. They are insinuating that "God has blessed us, but you're holding us back."

Joshua 17:15- Joshua doesn't argue the facts. He tells them that if they want more space, go up into the forest and make it. Had they even thought of that?

  1. When you identify problems, cultivate solutions, not cynicism. Leadership often surfaces as identifying problems, that's a good thing. But you have to choose to find solutions. If you buy into cynicism, you'll learn helplessness. Coming up with solutions is where leadership grows and you retain your agency.
    • Joshua 17:16- The sons could just be explaining facts, but when they introduce the word "yet", it reveals they are actually whining. They want the inheritance without the irritation, the blessing of God without the road being bumpy. They want the promise without any pain.
  2. Remember that life is hard. Good things are hard and hard things can be good. It doesn't mean God is not good, it means we're not home yet. Yes, the world is broken, but God can still do good in it.
    • Laughter can lead to hope.
    • Over-analyzing leads to depression.
      • Joshua 17:17- Joshua takes a more solemn tone. He agrees on all the facts but tells them to go clear the land anyway. Both parties have the same facts, but they have totally different perspectives. The sons see irritation and opposition, and Joshua sees provision and opportunities.
  3. In irritation, see provision; in opposition, see opportunity. God loves to bless us through what doesn't initially look like a blessing. You never know what is a doorway or where it could lead.
  4. Faith in a faithful God produces humble confidence and the hope for a courageous Spirit. In Joshua 14:6-12, Caleb also wanted his inheritance but He had a completely different approach. He's 85 years old and asking for the land with the giants because He knows God will be with him and get glory there. He possesses a humility in his request.

In the Hebrew language, there are no "J's", so Joshua would have sounded like Yeshua. In Greek, they pronounced Yeshua as Iesous (which sounds like yeh-soos), and how we ended up saying Jesus. It's the same name. People followed their hero Joshua into the promised land, but that land is still a piece of land on earth. Why did God do this in the Old Testament? It was so that the seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, would show up at a given time.

Our Jesus did what their hero did by leading them into the promised land. Jesus is leading us into the eternal promised land. He entered our pain and though He knew no sin, He became sin for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21. He was the perfect sacrifice for us and sealed our redemption. His difficulty was our deliverance. He took our sin so we could take His righteousness.

It's as if Jesus entered the cave in death, but punched out the back and made it a tunnel with life on the other side. He's looking back through inviting us to join Him. We'll have to walk through the shadow of death, we won't get everything we want, but He is good and is offering hope and life in Him.


"God loves to take opposition and turn it into opportunities."

Ben Stuart

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Scripture References

  • Joshua 17:14-17
  • Joshua 14:6-12
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.