Moment of Renewal

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5).

Joshua and the Israelites knew too well that paving their own path would end up in tragedy. Standing before the Jordan River, without a doubt, they wholeheartedly believed that following the path that God Himself was leading would bring utmost joy to their lives.

A day before crossing the Jordan River, Joshua commanded the people to consecrate, meaning to purify themselves. Strangely, Joshua did not command the people to sharpen their weapons for war but spiritually prepare themselves. The reason for consecrating themselves is told in the same verse, because the Lord was ready to do something amazing.

We see in Exodus 19:10-13, God told the Israelites to consecrate themselves because He was coming down from Mount Sinai to give them the Ten Commandments. Whenever we enter the majestic presence of God, we must prepare ourselves spiritually because God will not advance His kingdom through sinful vessels. However, this does not mean we need to be perfect but we need to surrender everything to God. We are do have neither hidden agendas nor hidden motives in following God.

Furthermore, the Israelites were to be gripped by a sense of awe and wonder. They were not to lose sight of the Lord who could do miraculous and powerful things that were humanly impossible. The priests were commanded to take the Ark ahead of the people and stand in the river. They were not told how they would cross the overflowing river during the flood stage (Joshua 3:15). Simply, God wanted His people to step out in faith before He opened the path.

Many Christians choose not to fully engage in life because we don’t want to be stretched and be challenge to a point where we would have to go without comfort. Listen to King David’s last words to his son Solomon. “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9).

Paul tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Col. 3:23a). We are commanded to do everything in life wholeheartedly and not halfheartedly. I believe whatever you are involved in you must engage in them wholeheartedly for something to overflow.

God knows when our heart is in it or not, because He knows our thought. However, I have seen people foolishly try to make a deal with God: God, if you get me into the medical school, I will use it for medical missions. Then, you get married and have kids and live in comfort and forget you have ever made a deal with God.

I was told that less than 10% of the people who commit to overseas missions actually go. The reason we are not really happy is we are not fully engaged in the work that God has revealed to us. For most believers, they are disengaged and make excuses not to take risks for the gospel of our Savior Christ Jesus our Lord. We need to come to a moment of renewal and fully devote wholeheartedly to the Lord. Would you fully engage?

Life Illustration: During the invasion of France at the end of WWII, the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions were dropped in behind the enemy’s lines to cut off Hitler’s reinforcements. Private Francis Palys saw something that took place at a near farmhouse that was dishonoring to their call of duty: many of the American paratroopers found liquor in the cellar and they were getting drunk.

John Eldredge said, “Unbelievable indeed. These men knew they were at war, yet they refused to act like it. They lived in a dangerous denial-a denial that not only endangered them but countless others who depended on them to do their part.” Before even engaging in the war “those men have been already taken out” because “you can’t fight the battle you don’t think exists.”

We are in the spiritual war daily, and the enemy has taken out many Christians already because they live in a dangerous denial that such war exists. We come to believe in such lies, because we are spending all of our time in mind-numbing activities. As a result, we have disengaged in involving ourselves in the task that would captivate our souls and make us come alive. Halfhearted people seem to be waiting for something better to come along to take their breath away.

We all have defining moments in our lives that significantly changed us on how we view challenges, how we discover life’s purpose, and how we journey in life. Often, we revisit our defining moments because they have a lasting and on going impact upon our lives. Thus, when we look back, we can clearly see the difference our defining moments had on our lives.

Past Wednesday, we were reminded as a nation how 9-11 had changed us and how that day became a defining moment for our nation. The House Speaker Dennis Hastert stood in front of the US Capitol and said, “We stand united and we stand together. We will stand shoulder to shoulder.” Tragedy brought the nation together.

Todd Beamer faced the terrorists on Flight 93 and rallied others to sacrifice their lives to save others. He called the operator to explain the situation and requested the operator to tell his wife that he loved her. When the operator offered to connect him to his wife he refused because he didn’t want to place stress upon her while she was carrying their baby. Then, he asked the operator to recite the Lord’s Prayer with him. Soon after, he gave his last words, “Let’s roll.”
It’s time for us to roll!

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