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“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 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 24:14,15).

THE LONGER I LIVE, THE MORE I SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF DECISIVENESS. If we don’t train ourselves to make decisive choices, we will self-destruct. So Joshua could not have challenged Israel more profitably than by saying, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” He knew they would serve one god or another; he just hoped it would be the true God they chose — deliberately and decisively.

What are we to make of Joshua’s saying, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”? Did Joshua have the power to choose for his family that they would serve God? No, at least not in the strictest sense. I believe he was saying, “As the leader of my clan, I am making the choice to serve the Lord, and to the best of my ability I will influence each member of the family to do likewise.” In his day, Joshua would have had the authority to enforce certain rules in his clan (at least externally). But in truth, Joshua could not make this, the greatest decision of life, for anyone but himself. Then, as now, we cannot compel; we can only influence.

As important as choice is, then, it must be exercised individually. This powerful gift of freedom that God has given us is perhaps the most private of all our gifts. We can influence other human beings and they can influence us, but no human being can enter the secret chambers of another’s heart and make even the slightest decision for him. Even if I say to you, “I can’t make up my mind; you decide,” you are not really making my decision. I have simply made the decision to follow your lead. And as we all know, “not making a decision” is a misnomer. Not to decide is really just one kind of decision: the decision to do nothing and hope for the best.

In regard to God, we must say a decisive Yes! — or we’ll not like where we end up. As I heard someone say, “God lives upstream from us, and we’re not going to get to where He is by just drifting.” The most disastrous thing we can do is “not decide.”

“There is a time when we must firmly choose the course we will follow, or the relentless drift of events will make the decision” (Herbert V. Prochnow).

Gary Henry — +

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