“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Written by: Matt Swartz
I was talking with someone recently about those points in our lives where we face major decisions and spend way too much time worrying about making the right choice. I made a comment about a principle that has helped me again and again when it comes to making big decisions: When facing most major decisions, we see the uncomfortableness that is associated with change and tend to forget that there will also be uncomfortableness if we choose to stay.
This principle has been so helpful to me because I, like most humans, try to avoid pain. I can get caught thinking about the pain associated with the decision to make a change and forget that there also tends to be pain associated with the decision to stay where I am. This was especially true for the nation of Israel. They faced a decision standing at the Jordan River where they could either cross the Jordan and step into battle or face the struggle that they would experience if they failed to claim the land that God has promised them. Either choice had pain and struggle associated with it.
In today’s passage, Joshua is giving his farewell message after leading the nation of Israel in conquering the “Promised Land.” The very pinnacle of his message is a challenge: decide who you will follow. It was not enough to follow God in conquering the land, now they had to make a choice to follow God while living in the land. The choice to follow God is not a one-time decision. It requires regular renewal.
So back to the conversation I was having with my friend. I believe that each of us will tend to stay put in the pain that is making us miserable over embracing the pain that will lead to a new chapter in life. The issue is not about whether or not we will experience pain. The issue is whether or not we will embrace pain that will actually lead us somewhere that will give us a fuller and more healthy life.
Thought of the day: Which pain will you choose? Pain that leaves you stuck where you are, or pain that could lead to the life God wants for you?
Prayer: Jesus, please give me the courage to lean into the pain that will lead me towards the life you have always wanted for me. Amen.