“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.”                                                                            

Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV, 1984)

Anytime I have the opportunity to preach to our students at Adult & Teen Challenge, I realize it could very well be the last. The idea of leaving the program to return to their former way of living is often not far from many of their minds at any given time. I chose these verses to share with them not long ago.

Joshua had been leading the Israelites since the death of Moses and he had observed their “roller-coaster” devotion to the Lord as closely as anyone. Knowing his death was not far away, he made it clear that it was time to “get off the fence” with their commitment to the Lord. After repeatedly chiding them about their previous lack of consistency as well as sincerity in upholding their covenant with the Lord, the people emphatically declared to Joshua that they would follow the Lord faithfully from this time forward.

The prospect of being “on the fence” in our relationship with God was far from our minds when we began our lives as new believers in Jesus Christ. It was unthinkable that anything could sway us from our devotion to the One who had died for our sins, but as we continually experienced His grace and forgiveness, a certain complacency began to creep in. And, before long, we may have had the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit sounding just like Joshua in our ears.

If we are honest, we know that when the Apostle James said that a double-minded man “is unstable in all his ways” he knew what he was talking about. Joshua knew that Israel could not face the challenges that lay ahead if they waffled in their devotion to God. Neither can we embrace the abundant life that Jesus has ahead for us if we don’t get off the fence!