I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I have earned nothing that You have given me, Father. Nothing but Your grace has provided for me. And when I’ve tried to provide for myself it has only led to rebellion, suffering, and pain. Even knowing that, Lord, I still look to things besides You to find my joy and my deliverance. I have put other gods before You, Jesus. And I’ll probably do it again. I’m pretty miserable at trusting You and following You, and in that way I’m no different than the Israelites.
But just like the Israelites, You have given me a leader. You’ve given me someone to follow, someone to lead me in the right way. Someone even better than Joshua. He is called Faithful and True. (Rev. 19:11) He is called Jesus, Yeshua, and he is my salvation. When I was a very little girl I said yes to following Him. And since that time I have strayed and strayed away. But every time, He has been faithful and true to me. He has never left me nor forsaken me.
What I have learned is that following You is a choice, Jesus. Each moment I choose who I will serve. My heart longs to please You and follow You, but my sinful nature pulls me away time and time again. Like Paul said, I do what I do not want to do, and do not do what I should do.
It can be easy for me to get hard on myself. I know that You have given me Your Spirit and I look at my actions and wonder how I could ever disobey You with Your Spirit so alive and active within me! Yet I do. I look at the Israelites and say to myself, “Well, they didn’t have the Holy Spirit. No wonder they strayed away from God all the time!” But I don’t have that excuse. Thank you for Paul’s example and of others in scripture who had Your Spirit in them and still failed You miserably at times.
Lord, the Israelites obeyed You and trusted You when You were right there with them, guiding them and protecting them, just like the Disciples did when Jesus was with them and helping them, and teaching them what to do. And when You weren’t tangibly present they struggled to obey and over time they abandoned You altogether, serving themselves and the idols of their own making.
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Jesus said that it was better for Him to go so that we could have the Helper. Thank You, Jesus, that You have made a way to be forgiven by the cross, You have made a way for life by Your resurrection, and You have made a way to obey by the gifting of Your Spirit. So, today I choose to serve You, Lord. I choose to let Your Spirit guide me. I choose to submit to Your greater authority and be filled with your forgiveness, your life, and your obedience.
Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
I will no longer be conformed to this world. I will let my mind be renewed by You and stop trying to renew it myself. I will stop living in condemnation of my failures and strive to forgive myself and follow You. Thank You God. Thank You for Your help, Your guidance, Your love, Your forgiveness, and Your life.
I am Yours, Jesus. Today I choose to follow You.