“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV)
Before he dies, Joshua gathers the tribe of Israel, and they present themselves to Yahweh. Yahweh wants to renew His covenant with these people. He reminds them of all He has done for their fathers before them. He reminds them of all He has done for them. Then, we come to verses 14 and 15 of chapter 24. Joshua tells the people, “Alright, guys. It’s time to be sincere and faithful. It is time to let go of the false gods. It is time to choose if you’re going to be the people of Yahweh or not.” Joshua then lets them know where he stands. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (v.15). The people gathered answer, “Sure. We’ll do that, too.” And Joshua responds by telling the people, “You can’t do this. This is hard. You are going to fail, and then it is going to be super bad for you because Yahweh doesn’t like it when His people serve other gods.” But the people double-down: “No way, Joshua! We want to serve the Lord.” So, Joshua says, “Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool… I warned you. But you heard you; you’re choosing Yahweh. Now, put away your idols, and turn your hearts to the Lord.” And they say, “Yahweh is our God, and we will obey His voice!” Joshua then sets up a stone to remind the people of their covenant so that they don’t go back on their word.
Like Joshua, I’m calling you here today, before the Lord, to decide who you’re going to serve. Too many Christians are ‘Christian’ in name only (which means they are very much not Christian in reality). You’ve got other gods in your pocket, your calendar, and your checkbook. You keep wondering why your kids are doing the same things your ‘secular’ neighbor’s kids do, while you’re doing the same things your ‘secular’ neighbor does. You’re looking over at Egypt, and you’re wanting the things they have. You’re neglecting to see the work of God in your life and, instead, are coveting the life of your godless neighbor.
Some of us— well, we’re choosing to be Christian in more than name only. We’re going to actually follow Jesus. I invite you to come along. Choose today whom your family will serve. Will you serve yourselves as so many in our culture do? Will you serve money? Will you serve ease and comfort? Whatever you choose— choose it. Please stop saying you’re a follower of Jesus while you’re living out in the weeds of sin. Jesus has the power to save us, so stop wallowing in your sin while trying to wear His name. Choose. Pick a side. (There are no neutral parties, here.)
We’re pressing on. We’re working for His Kingdom. We’re living for Him. We’re raising our kids in His word and on His terms. We’re letting Him shape our lives. We’re seeking and listening to His voice. We’re not content to let another generation rise that doesn’t know His voice. We’re not content to settle for the fool’s gold this world has to offer. We’re bowing before Jesus and no other. If you call yourself a Christian, join me in raising Christian kids at the foot of the cross.
Joshua wasn’t wrong. We can’t do it; we don’t have the power to live lives worthy of the calling of Yahweh. But Jesus can. By following Him, by letting Him direct our steps, by letting Him live in us and through us, we’ll find our lives shining with the light of Heaven here on Earth. If we obey His voice, in Him, we can.
So, choose today. Either be the follower of Jesus you claim to be or stake a claim elsewhere.