Time was short for the elderly Joshua when he warned the Jewish leaders about being enticed by foreign gods. He wanted them to be fully aware of what the allure and deception of foreign gods could do to the Jewish people. He urged them to remain faithful to the Word of God…persevering with self-discipline in their walk…guarding their hearts and minds from deceit…veering neither to the right nor to the left but always keeping on the straight and narrow. Joshua’s words ring true for God’s people today…Be courageous, keep guard, remain faithful.
The only way you can become really good at something is to practice…whether it’s a sport, a musical instrument, or a newly discovered talent, without practice, it’s just wishful thinking. Today, this Scripture wants us to take a new and different attitude when faced with the trials in our lives. It wants us to consider trials as practice. Every time we’re put to the test, we need to realized it’s a God-ordained crucible in which we are being purified. In other words, trials equal refining…trials equal developing patience…trials equal suffering in the faith…trials are a chance to practice what we preach.
I’ll be the first to admit…I’m not a patient person. But patience is exactly what God wants from me. He asks that I steadfastly pray for unsaved loved ones…even if I don’t see change. He asks that I not give up on dreams He’s given me…even if it’s been years. God only asks that I be patient in my faith…unwavering in my trust of Him, as He works towards His divine purpose in my life. For if you think about it, it’s very little He’s asking.
What happens when you encourage someone? They hear those words of inspiration and their spirit is renewed and energized. And as their spirit is lifted, that encouragement gives them the courage to persevere through the challenges they face. Never refuse the chance to encourage someone…it may be the one word they need to hang on.