Time to Grow Up
“So, fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.” Joshua 24:14
The reality of growing up hit me when I was getting married. I realized that for the first time that I would now be responsible for taking care of someone else. Even though it hit me after getting married, the full effect did not come until a little later. It came when we had our first child. Up until the birth of our first child, I played church softball, basketball in the city leagues, golf, and tennis almost year-round.
I will never forget getting hurt playing church softball one summer. God used that instance to reveal something very powerful to me about the direction of my life. I was lying on the ground in pain from sliding into a base and it suddenly dawned on me it was time to move beyond being involved in every sport known to man and start focusing on the people that were most important to me.
Not only the people that were most important to me, but also it was time for me to start prioritizing my relationship with God so that I could be the husband and dad He wanted me to be. I knew it was time to put away all that stuff that I had pursued growing up. I was now a dad and I was overcome with the idea that I needed to devote my attention to doing all I could do to raise a Godly child. In addition, I knew in the back of my mind that God had more for my life in terms of my career. I would find out a few short years later that God would move me into full time ministry.
Similarly, there comes a time in the life of every Christian to realize that it is time to get serious about our relationship with the Lord. Joshua had one of those times in his farewell address to his people. Joshua had reached the point where he knew his time as the leader was coming to an end and he wanted to make sure that his people knew what was most important. Joshua’s words are so poignant that they still speak to us today.
First, notice that he told them to “fear the Lord and serve Him wholeheartedly.” When you consider that Joshua is near the end of his ministry and his life, then his words in Joshua 24:14 take on extra significance. He is saying that it is time to stop playing games and instead start taking the purpose of our lives seriously.
Joshua goes on to tell them to “put away forever the idols” In other words, get rid of all the other stuff that is drawing your hearts away from loving and serving God. He is telling us that it is time to grow up. We are all at times being drawn away from God and what is most important in our lives by things that will never satisfy. I am afraid that many Christians have never allowed themselves to grow up spiritually because their affections have been stolen by modern day idols.
As a result, their marriages, their children, and their own spiritual wellbeing are all suffering. It is time, as Joshua says in verse 14, to “serve the Lord alone.” It is easy to get caught up in things that do not matter. I pray that the truth of the verse above will speak to our hearts and embolden us all to seek and serve the Lord with all our heart!