Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of 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.
Choose for yourselves. Think about those words. He won’t force us to serve, love, honor, obey or even learn from Him. It is a choice. You have the God-given free will to serve God or not. You will, whether you’re ready to admit it or not serve someone or something.
I have many friends and family members proud to be non-believers. Disturbed by events throughout history that have been blamed on God and the Bible, they reject faith and are willing to argue it away until they are blue in the face. They may not admit to serving anything, but I see their quest to get the last word, prove a point, have the wittiest answer, best joke about a belief system, dependence on facts and proof or the lack thereof as self-serving.
Proverbs 18:2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
Sometimes believers leave the faith. They may be hurt by the judgement of others, confused by recurring pain or what they see as unanswered prayers or fed up with all the rules. They run away, without looking back, to the world and its offer of freedom. Freedom to do what they want when and however they want. That’s serving too.
We can serve anything. We can feed our worldly desires, feeding into insatiable lust, materialism and almost anything else. We risk constant disappointment as the reward for these thrills fade. Or we can serve God, the renewer, redeemer, refresher, forgiver. We can have come and go happiness or we can have joy.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!”
We can thirst for this lie of worldly freedom, never finding anything more than a temporary fix or we can drink and never be thirsty again.
John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Some may see this choice as a no-brainer, of course we’ll serve God. But others may have years of confusion, hurt, anger and resentment clouding their eyes and ears from the truth. God is always available for us to seek out the answers to our questions, heal our wounds and comfort us in the most painful times. But we have to choose to seek Him out and choose to serve Him.
“God has no need of marionettes. He pays men the compliment of allowing them to live without him if they choose. But if they live without him in this life, they must also live without him in the next.” -Leon Morris