Evaluate your life and faith in the new year

Joshua was a great leader for Israel, he brought them into the land of promise and he led them in conquering evil kings. Joshua helped divide up the land by each clan and family as he gave them an example of faith in action.

When Joshua was old and knew that his life was about to end, he understood that it would be a new day for Israel. He knew there would be changes in leadership, he understood that the people would no longer have his example to follow, so he wanted to prepare them for the future. It was a new beginning for Israel and the start of eternity for Joshua.  

So what does Joshua do? He gathers the people and speaks to them of the future. 

Joshua 24:14-15, "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

As a new year approaches it's always a good time to examine how you are doing in your life and faith. That's what we see in Joshua's speech. He knows he will not be around much longer but he is committed to God until his dying day. He knows the struggles that the people have and he points them to the one thing that will keep them focused: the fear of the Lord.

Fearing the Lord is what would keep them serving God, the fear of the Lord would be what would help them toss away their idols. And the fear of the Lord would cause them to fulfill the first commandment, having no other gods before the true and living God.

So that brings us to a new year. Have you been weak in your faith? Fear the Lord. Have you served other gods? (Be that your own sin or things that you put before God.) Fear the Lord. Have you committed to serve the Lord, with your household? It is the fear of the Lord that keeps you on the narrow path. 

Of course the words, "fear the Lord," are not quite what we think about today when we speak about serving God. But to fear the Lord means "to understand that he is God." To know that God is in total control and desires to bring all to a relationship with himself. He causes the sun to rise and set, he raises up kingdoms and nations at his will. He is God.  

As a new year approaches, it's a great time to evaluate your life and faith. I suggest that evaluation can start with the beginning of real faith, fearing the Lord. 

Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.


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