August 17

Joshua 24:16-18

“Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods…therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’” vss. 16, 18b

As they entered the land of Canaan the people of Israel were positive and optimistic. In their enthusiasm they quickly endorsed Joshua’s challenge and said that they too would serve the Lord. Of course that’s not how it worked out–they didn’t realize how hard it would be to resist the alluring appeal of the Canaanite gods. Why should they continue worshipping an invisible God when the visible gods offered such pleasure and delight? Remaining faithful is never easy when immediate gratification beckons. Those challenges are a part of our life in Christ too. We live in fast-paced times and there are a myriad of powers competing for our attention. Some offer pleasure and material gain–others just suck up our time. Always there is the temptation to relax our faith practices by cutting back on worship or neglecting our prayers. Young people pledge a lifetime of commitment to the Lord Jesus in their confirmation vows and drift away in a matter of weeks or months. It’s not that we are lying when our promises are made–our intentions are likely good. But following Jesus requires long-term commitment–and few are able to follow through. Those who do are blessed beyond measure, and indeed, they become blessings for the entire world.

Thought for the Day: How has my faith been affected by the pandemic?

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