As the Christmas season comes to an end and the New Year begins, many of us make resolutions. Are you one of them? Maybe it is losing weight, obtaining a promotion, being there for your kids more often, learning another language, or going back to school. How about your spiritual life? Have you made any resolutions, as far as church? Maybe you want to read the Bible more, go to church more often, or spend more time with the Lord in prayer. Whatever it is, I believe all of us have made resolutions at one time or another. The problem is keeping the resolution. There are three things that need to happen to keep the resolution. First, we need to look at our past to see how we got to this point. The point at which we realize we need to make a change. Second, we need to make a plan that will allow us to obtain the goal or resolution we set. Third, we must daily work our plan until we have reached our goal. This is very important. I believe the third step is where most of us fail because we do not daily discipline ourselves to keep doing what is necessary to reach the goal we want.
In Joshua 24, Joshua’s final address to the people, he challenged the Israelites with these three points:
First – Remember:Oh Israel, remember what God did. How He led our forefathers out of captivity, out of the hand of the Egyptians. By His power, the red sea was parted, our forefathers crossed over dry land, and the Egytians were consumed when God returned the red sea to normal and the pursuing Egyptians drowned. Remember how He brought us over the Jordan and fought the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and the Jebusites for us. He drove them out of the land that He gave us. Notice that Joshua tells the nation of Israel to remember what God had done for them. We need to do the same thing. We need to remember the many blessings He has given us. How God has taken care of us. Above all, we need to remember why God sent His only begotten Son. At Christmas time we remember Christ’s birth. At Easter, we remember Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Without that, we would have no hope. We need to always remember the great sacrifice God made for us.
Second – Make a Resolution or Plan
Joshua said, “… choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15. A choice was given to the Israelites. Either go and serve false gods, like their forefathers did, or serve the one and only true God. Go back and worship the Egyptian gods, the Amorite gods, Baal, or some other god you want, or worship the God of the Bible. He is the one that delivered Israel. Like Israel, we have a choice to make. What is more important? Your job, money, sports? Is there anything wrong of these things? No. However, if they are more important to you than serving God, they become gods to you. Anything that takes the place of God becomes your idol. Joshua made his resolution, “…choose you this day whom ye will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He didn’t care what everyone else was doing. He didn’t care how hard it might be. Nothing was going to stop him and his family from serving God. How about you?
Third – Daily Work Your Plan
Joshua 24:19-21, “… God: he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.” Do not turn back and serve other gods. Do not forsake God. That is what Joshua was saying to the Israelites. They were not to serve other gods, nor are we. Daily, they had to choose to follow God and daily we need to put God first. Each person needs to learn this and the next generation needs to be taught this.
As this year comes to a close and the New Year begins, I leave you with this. “ Choose you this [year] whom ye will serve. Fear the Lord, and serve him [with your whole heart.]” All resolutions begin with a choice. Will you choose to serve God this new year and for the rest of your life? Daily, remember what the Lord has done for you and seek the Lord in prayer, Bible reading, and in every action you do. Put God first in your life and do not allow anything else to take His place.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.