Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Question of Serving

Joshua 24:15 -Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the regions 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.

A brand new year and it is a time of making resolutions, decisions, and plans which will we hope will guide us well through the next 12 months. 

Joshua and the Israelites faced just such a time as they prepared to enter the promised land to begin a new life there.  Joshua asked the people to make a decision.  Whom will you serve?  Will you serve the gods of the past?  Will you serve the gods you will encounter in the near future?  Or will you serve the Lord God who is here with you now - the God who has led you out of bondage and guided you to freedom?

Today is an excellent time to ask ourselves the same question.  Whom will I serve? 

Will I serve the things of the past?  Will I be unwilling to face new challenges and to embrace new ideas?  We serve the past when we continue to stubbornly do things the way they have always been done simply because that's how they've always been done.  We serve the past as we hang on to ideas, habits, and thoughts which have outlived their usefulness.  When we live life by looking backwards, when we are resistant to new and different, then we are serving the past.  Serving the past makes us stagnant, stale, and boring.

Will I serve only the new things?  Will I always be chasing after the newest, shiniest, and hottest new thing?  Will I live life hopping from one hot new fad to another?  Will I ignore past lessons learned?  Will the pursuit of more money, more prestige, and more stuff be the theme of my life this year?  We live in a culture that values having more and our self-worth can become wrapped up in trying to achieve that dream of the nice house in the right neighborhood with a new car parked in the drive.  We live in a culture that promotes tolerance over true faith, relativity over truth, and trendy over sensible.  Serving this causes us to miss the blessings of today and leads to dissatisfaction.

Will I serve the God who is?  God is an unchanging constant.  He was there as the Israelites left Egypt and He is still a real presence in the lives of His people today,  He has promised His people a future life living within His glory.  He is the Lord of now.  His very name, I AM, signifies that He is the one who is living and active today.  He is grace, mercy, peace, and joy.  He longs to give those things to me.  He forgives.  He wipes away sin and makes all things new.  Serving God changes hearts and lives.

On this start of a brand new year, I ask myself, "Whom will I serve?"  Like Joshua, my answer is that I will serve the Lord.

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