Jan 06, 2021 08:00am
Here’s a Mandate You’ll be Glad You Complied With

This past month has been one of the most difficult of my 38 years.  As an optimist who has prided herself on being joyful and positive, it pains me to even admit the struggle is indeed real. My family has experienced unexpected loss, stressful business decisions, big disappointments, a personal COVID, tackled working full-time while having children home for school, not to mention the disastrous decision to cut my own bangs.   

It’s just been rough.

Minutes ago, I answered a phone call and found out a life-long friend battling COVID has just been hospitalized.

So many can relate. The battleground of our minds has never been more crowded and the enemy never so relentless. The fight to hold on to what we absolutely know is true has become wearisome as we are overwhelmed by how each day makes us feel. Grief, uncertainty and the burden of responsibility are too heavy, and exhaustion has pushed us to the complete end of our supply.

But praise God for his Word!  

I’m telling you the absolute truth, if it were not for the soothing and holy words of Scripture, I would be in a deep, dark place. If you are managing 2020 without the sustenance Scripture provides, my hat is sincerely off to you. You have an inner strength I do not. I mean that, because 2020 has revealed weaknesses in me I despise. 

Maybe you totally get it and you are brave enough to admit you’re coping somehow?  Personally, the only thing I trust to pull me through to the other side of this crazy is the never-have-failed truths of the Bible. If you are privileged enough to have the technology to be reading this, then you have access to the Word of God. 

That’s an astonishing thought.  

Maybe you have never in your life opened a Bible?  Well, 2020 is your year, friend. I want to challenge you TODAY to find Joshua chapter 1 verses 5 through 9.  Use the table of contents or just google the passage. It’s only 5 verses, but through them the Lord has affirmed a life-changing truth I want to share . . . but quickly, a little background.  

Joshua was a successor to Moses, one of the greatest leaders of all time.  God used Moses to rescue a whole nation of people from slavery. It is quite a story!  For 400 years, the Israelites had been living in bondage to the Egyptians then, through a wild series of miraculous events, God freed them. However, after being set free, the people failed to obey God’s instructions designed to lead them to a new and wonderful home on beautiful land so they could build their new life and fulfill their destiny.  Instead, for nearly four long decades they wavered in obedience, whined a whole lot and wandered around in a wilderness. 

Then Moses died. 

By God’s design, Joshua took over the leadership role of these people.  I cannot even fathom the burden of responsibility, the frustration, the grief — the struggle. So this word from God to Joshua in chapter one must have meant absolutely everything to him! I’ll let you read it and see the details for yourself, but the overall message that spoke to my heart was this:

Joshua’s PRIMARY responsibility, the ONE thing mandated, was for Joshua to maintain his relationship with God. Period.  

Everything else God would handle.  Pretty simplistic compared to the endless list of must-dos and coping strategies I could create for this man.  

For my own sake, allow me to repeat the life-changing message part: Our PRIMARY responsibility is to maintain our relationship with God.  

Everything else God will handle.  

This morning God’s Spirit has filled me with much needed peace laced with unexpected energy and optimism simply from this principle tucked in an ancient text. That’s how the Bible works. Yes, the roles and responsibilities on my plate today are big. The grief and the uncertainty are still real.  

But I understand the mandate.  

So today I will choose to focus on the ONE primary responsibility God has given me, staying connected to Him.  He has a way of handling all the rest and for that I love him so.

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