God’s visitations and words are power. As Jesus said,
The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63
The Word that Strengthens
God’s visit with Joshua at the beginning of the campaign for the promised land comes with words that are both spirit and life. Three times God speaks the command, “be strong and courageous,” (Joshua 1:1-9). God’s purpose is to strengthen by the spirit and impart an incorruptible life.
In Jesus’ words to His disciples He reminds them that it is the Word that has pruned and made them clean.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” -John 15:2-3
Jesus is the vine and God the Father is the vine dresser. The Father is pruning in order to bring growth. Jesus tells them that the pruning process is His Words to them. When we receive the Word it will have an outward effect on our life. The truths that are at work in our heart will be displayed by our actions and decisions.
God’s word comes to strengthen. The vine dresser not only prunes and cuts, he also lifts up and gives support. He sets the vine up for maximum success, maximum fruitfulness.
Jesus’ encounter with Peter on the shore was to cut away the dead life from around his heart (John 21). Peter’s denial of Jesus, in John 18, and the subsequent disappointment it created in him, took Peter backward in his life rather than forward into Christ’s call. Peter was back to fishing and taking others back with him. This was not the ‘fishing’ to which he had been called.
The exquisite love of Christ comes to meet Peter on the shore that day, unexpected by Peter but totally intentional of God. Jesus calls to Peter, sets a meal for him, and then prunes from his heart the wounding of betrayal, disappointment, self-accusation, self-righteousness, pride, and self-reliance (John 21:15-19).
The Word of Destiny
The kindness of God leads Peter into the path of repentance. This is such a significant encounter, that Peter never departs from this Word of life now set in him. His trajectory from here forward is immeasurable fruitfulness in ministry, and profound humility to the day of his death.
God’s encounter with Joshua at the crossing of the Jordan sets the same kind of strength within him it set within Peter many generations later. God says to Joshua,
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
This word comes to impart the stamina needed to complete his call. This word also evokes the purity required to follow God’s direction without compromise. God wanted a man who would not only conquer his enemies, but would set a foundation of righteousness in how he did it.
What is God’s Word to you? Embrace it. Let it seep into the center of your soul. It is spirit and life for you.