Originally published Thursday, 03 December 2020.
From a global pandemic, political divisions, social unrest, and more, this year has been defined by uncertainly, loss, and conflict. However, as I was reading through the book of Joshua, I was encouraged by some of his final words to the Israelites.
“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 24:15 ESV)
Joshua knew that the Israelis had a propensity for following other gods. He also knew that their close proximity to other peoples would tempt them to stop serving the one true living God. What I love about his statement to the Israelites is two-fold.
First, Joshua does not try to control things he cannot. He accepts the fact that people will make their own decisions. He presents the truth, but He does not exhaust himself trying to get everyone to agree with him. Changing the hearts of people is not his job, and it’s not ours either. There would be a lot fewer arguments on Facebook if people would accept this truth.
The second reason I love Joshua’s statement is that although he accepts the things he cannot change, he takes full ownership of the things he can.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15 ESV)
Whatever other households decide to do is up to them. But as far as Joshua’s house, there is no question about it. They will serve the Lord. Instead of feeling like he couldn’t do anything and then doing nothing, Joshua focuses on what he can control: His household. His sphere of influence.
You may not be able to change the world, but you do get to choose how you live and how you influence the ones God has entrusted to you. Don’t forfeit that power to discouragement as you look at the world around you. Let the change you want to see start with you and your house.
I hope Joshua’s words encourage you today. God’s Word has been a steady source of encouragement and direction for me during this year particularly. To further help my Beloved sisters study the Bible and grow from God’s Word, we’ve created a new service for you called Beloved TV.
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Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.