“Choose today whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15a NLT)
Joshua is one of the men I’m looking forward to meeting in heaven. In my mind’s eye I see him as a weathered, rugged looking man who shows his battle scars, not with pride in himself, but as trophies he’s earned in service to his Master. He knew what was right and sought with everything within him to do it. He was highly opinionated, but always came down on the side of the Lord.
He was one of only two of the ten men sent to check out the Promised Land and returned with bold confidence that the nations who then possessed the land were “ripe” for the pickin’. When he saw the size of the men they would have to fight, he didn’t see giant men, he chose rather to see how powerful his God was.
What do you see when you face the “giants” in your life? Perhaps your “giant” is financial, relational, physical, mental, emotional – whatever it is, God is bigger, stronger, and more than able to help you defeat your “foe.”
What’s interesting in the above verse is that’s what people most often quote, but that’s only part of the verse. The previous verse ends with the words: “Serve the Lord alone.” Then the opening words of verse 15 are: “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve.”
As Jesus followers you’d think our minds would already be made up, in terms of whom we’ve chosen to serve, yet, like the Israelites, we’re often very fickle in our service to Christ. Chapter 24 is essentially a history lesson where Joshua outlines many of the things the Lord accomplished on their behalf and warns them to serve Him faithfully.
He asks them: “Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live?”
Intellectually, we respond with the Israelites: “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods.” But, as you know, if you’ve served the Lord any length of time, following Jesus isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. We have the best of intentions, but too often we fall prey to the “daily grind.”
Of course, we read our Bibles and “say our prayers,” but if we’re not attentive to the Spirit’s directives, Satan will lull us into a deep, spiritual sleep, opening our hearts to his relentless tactics. We don’t mean to fall away, it just happens. At first, our friends at church may not even notice, but over time we lose our first love and if we’re not diligent to listen to the Spirit’s voice, our hearts harden over time.
Jesus warned the church in Ephesus: “Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to Me and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5 NLT) What did they do at first? They repented. They turned from their old ways and sought with all their hearts to walk closely with the Lord.
We tend to believe repentance is a one-time process. Yes, depending on what kind of lifestyle we followed before coming to the Lord, our initial change of direction in our lives can be dramatic. But the heart and mind change that enabled us to begin our walk with Jesus, is an ongoing process that will continue as long as we’re on this planet.
There’s a sense in which, in an effort to be healthy and continually walk as close to the Lord as possible, we, like King David, ask the Lord to search our heart often, desiring the Spirit to point out anything in us that’s unlike Jesus. Any wicked ways that may be seeking to infiltrate our heart or mind.
Perhaps we should more frequently begin our day with a declaration made with our whole heart and mind: “Today I choose to follow You, Lord Jesus. You’re my life and my heart’s desire. Spirit cleanse me of anything that’s not of You and fill me with Your Holy Presence. May I, this day, walk faithfully and wholeheartedly to Your honor and fame.”
Blessings, Ed 😊