We’ve all said it, “I’m fed up. I’ve had enough.” You could be talking about any matter of things here. It might be your boss, your kids, your spouse or your bad habits. In reality you are frustrated and you want to respond in a different way, but will you really?
To make a change, one that really matters to your future, you have to come to the complete end of yourself. You really have to mean that you’ve had enough. It’s not really a snap decision. It’s a decision made with deliberation, counting the costs and realizing what they mean. It means more than just being a little put out.
I’m interested in the scripture Jeremy Risner, C2 pastor, shared today. “Choose you this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”1
You may have this scripture up on the wall of your house. You may have it as a family watchword.
I know I’ve read this in context before, but I never realized the people’s response and then Joshua’s response back.
The people immediately respond, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods … we will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”2
Yeah people, good answer. Good answer! However, Joshua knows these people. He knows they didn’t really think through their Sunday morning answer. He knew when Monday morning came they would forget their declaration.
He says, “You can’t do it; you’re not able to worship God. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won’t put up with your fooling around and sinning. When you leave God and take up the worship of foreign gods, he’ll turn right around and come down on you hard. He’ll put an end to you—and after all the good he has done for you!”3
The people argue with Joshua and say they will serve the Lord. Then Joshua tells them something interesting, “You are witnesses to your own decision”4 to which they agree.
Then he tells then to destroy their idols and turn their hearts to God. The chapter ends with saying the people served God during Joshua’s life. What it doesn’t say is that when Joshua died they went astray. It didn’t take long.
The people are so gung-ho about serving God until it gets tough and their leader dies. Joshua has been real clear about what they need to do and what will happen if they don’t. God will put an end to them after He’s done good for them.
They are to give up anything that competes with their service and commitment to God because God is holy and jealous. He won’t share their love with anyone else.
What that means is whatever the people trust in more than God must be utterly destroyed, forsaken, done away with. Obviously they didn’t do that because two chapters after Joshua dies, they fall away.
Today, we have idols or other gods in our life. They may not be statues made of gold, but they are things we want more than we want God.
Many times these are “good things we put as the ultimate thing,” Risner said. “They are good things that take the wrong place. They take the place of God.”
Over-emphasis on children and their performance can become an idol putting undo pressure on children to be perfect. Work, although a good thing, can also become an idol. Working long hours to provide for the family can take the wrong place in our lives.
Addictions or strongholds become like gods in our lives that we run to whenever we need to feel comfort, peace, strength, courage, relief from pain. A stronghold might start out as seemingly not obtrusive, but ends up overtaking our lives so that we are serving it. That’s a god.
God wants us to forsake everything and come to the end of ourselves, but we want what we want. Even though we say we might be fed up with ourselves, the feeling soon passes.
All the things we find ourselves bowing down to are actually just a search for a real and true relationship with the one true God.
We must come to the end of ourselves, like the Prodigal son did. “You were never meant to live in the pig sty of wrath,” Risner said. “God will not share you with anyone or anything else.”
Today, I pray you become fed up with where you are. I pray you’ve had enough and God won’t let you have your way. I pray you cry out to Him to reveal His way. I pray you surrender your own way.
Father, bring us to the end of ourselves. Restore us and bring us back into relationship with You.
What are you totally fed up with today?
1Joshua 24:15, NKJV
2Joshua 24:16-18, NKJV
3Joshua 24:19-20, MSG
4Joshua 24:22, NIV
Thursday, March 6, 6:30-8 p.m. will be the first session of C2 Women’s Bible Study on Sweet Grace. The only cost is for Sweet Grace and Sweet Grace Study Guide. Books will be available the first night. Total cost is $18 if you don’t already have your copy. The study runs every Thursday through the end of June. Make every attempt to get to the study, but it is understandable that you may need to miss a week for other commitments. To register, email Teresa Parker.