(by Perry Hurst)
Life is full of choices, some of which have lasting consequences or blessings while others do not. Daily I make choices concerning what I am going to wear, what I am going to eat, what kind of toothpaste I will use, etc. but these choices will ultimately have little effect upon my eternal destiny. It is those other choices which will have an effect upon my soul and where I will spend eternity that I need to be most concerned about.
Joshua speaks of such a choice in Josh.24:14-23. He tells the people in vs.15 to “…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (KJV). Up to this point, the people had a history of “on the one hand” trying to serve God and “on the other hand,” serving the false gods of the nations round about them. They were being “double-minded” or “wishy-washy” (uncertain, indecisive, unable to make up one’s mind, weak in will power or courage, lacking in strength of character or purpose). Joshua basically tells them that it’s time to make up their mind one way or the other. God won’t accept their double-mindedness which has resulted in them forsaking Him (vs.16)
Joshua encourages them to “fear the Lord in sincerity and Truth” (vs.14). What a wonderful description of devotion! First, fear the Lord! Recognize who God is, our Creator and sustainer of life (Acts 17:22-34) and give Him great respect and reverence! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov.9:10). Second, if we are truly impressed with “who” God is, then we need to respond accordingly and “incline your hearts to the Lord” (Josh.24:23). This is DEVOTION! It is making a choice to be completely dedicated to God!
When Joshua challenged the people to make this choice, they responded by saying, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the LORD , for He is our God.” (Josh.24:16-18 - NKJV). We are faced with the same choice today! Let us fear the Lord in sincerity and Truth and incline our hearts to Him.
This spiritual journey begins whenever a person becomes convicted of their sins and make a choice to put on Christ in the waters of baptism that their sins might be washed away by His blood (Gal.3:26-27; Acts 22:16).
From that point on we are to daily make choices being guided by the will of God thus we “keep seeking the things above” and “set our mind on things above not on things that are on earth” (Col.3:1-2)!