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Stop Making Excuses! Instead, Be Strong and Courageous

In the book of Joshua, we see Israel, led by Joshua, son of Nun, conquer the Promised Land. God repeats, and then Joshua Repeats this command over and again: “Be strong and courageous.” And why? Because the Lord their God fights for them. At the end of the book, Joshua gives a command to the people of God: “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). Note here, Joshua leaves no room for anyone within his household to do anything less than serve the Lord?

Over and again, I hear reasons people cannot serve God (at least not on HIS terms): “I believe God wants me to <fill in the blank>” or “I don’t believe God would want me to because <fill in the blank>.” These excuses are just USING God to either affirm a choice, or to shy away from a Biblical command. “If I do <x> then my child(ren) will do <y> and God doesn’t want me to force them to go to church, does He?” There are a plethora of excuses that go along these lines, but what we’re saying is that we, unlike Joshua, are letting our house decide if they will follow the Lord, instead of choosing for our house to follow the Lord. Or what about “Jesus doesn’t want me to push people away. If I act like Jesus and the Christians of the Bible, that will turn people off, and God doesn’t want me to do that, does he?”

Every one of these excuses has nothing to do with Jesus, and everything to do with fear: fear of obeying God, fear of leading our homes as God would have us lead, and fear of what others might think. Loved ones, if we fear what others will think, and seek to be liked by them, Jesus says we’ve already received our reward in full! Be careful not to fall in this trap! The Enemy of our souls wants to make us as unproductive as possible, instead, choose this day whom you will serve! Be strong and courageous, trust in God, and hold firm to His word and His promises. HE will make it all right, WE just need to be obedient, in spite of what people may do or our present circumstances.

Follow Jesus, and take courage at His words:

Luke 9:57-62

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 10:26-39

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24-27

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

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