I have this verse hanging in my master bedroom. It’s one of the first things I see each day when I wake up. This verse is one of the most popular verses in the entire Old Testament. It’s part of Joshua’s last words to his family and his people.
“As for ME..” It all starts with me: faith and a decision to follow Christ is a personal decision that I must make for myself.
It’s been said that “God has no grandchildren, only children.” When it comes to the choice to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and then spend your life serving Him as Lord, no one can decide this for you. Your mom can’t decide this for you. Your dad can’t. Your pastor can’t. It is your decision. You decide.
We need fathers and mothers today who say, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” “Our primary job is not to be our child’s friend but a parent. We will go to church on Sundays, read the bible and live out its principles. Others may skip church because of select sports, we will not! Other kids may have no boundaries and call the shots but not our kids! We will strive to serve the Lord.”
We need single adults who say, “As for me and my body I will serve the Lord!” “If you choose to sleep around or live together before marriage that is your choice, but as for me, it’s not going to happen! As for my sexuality I will serve the Lord.”
We need business men who say, “As for me and my business we will serve the Lord!” “Other businesses may choose to defraud, cheat or lie. We will not!” We need more businesses like Chick-fil-a, Hobby Lobby and Mardell’s that will hold to biblical and family values. They close on Sundays to observe a day of rest and spend time with God and their families. Their businesses are booming.
Personal choice and stance are the first part of this verse. Joshua also reminds us here that Christian parents have another choice to make.
Remember God’s Words in Deuteronomy 6:6-7?
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
In his final words Joshua says, “I have obeyed this instruction from God. I don’t know about you “but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” If we read on we would see that the people replied saying that “Yes, We will serve the Lord!” but Joshua asked them again and again and repeatedly they said yes. Finally, he accepted their answer and put up a stone memorial to remind them of their commitment to teach their children about God. I’m sure there were a lot of amens as he did so. But unfortunately they did not follow through with this commitment. They didn’t teach their children about God’s loving actions.
In the very next book of the Bible, (which we will look at next week!) in Judges chapter 2:1-2 it says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, Who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them.” So the parents didn’t make this choice. How sad.
The fact is we are only one generation away from a culture that turns it’s back on our faith because all it takes is the failure of one generation of parents to tell their children about God. Moms and Dads, this is our God-given responsibility and don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that children decide to serve God simply by parental decree or that children inherit their faith from their parents like they do their physical characteristics. But I am saying that if the next generation is to remain faithful to God, parents we must teach them about God.
We must tell them what God has done and what He means to them. The fact is much of the problems in our culture stem from the fact that many parents have not made this choice correctly.
There are many parents these days who say, “My choice is no. I don’t want to influence my child when it comes to religion. When they are old enough they will choose for themselves.” I find it strange though that they don’t follow that philosophy in other important matters. They don’t let their young children decide when to go to bed or what to eat or wear. They don’t let them decide if they want to go to school or not. They don’t say, “Hey play in the street if you want to! That’s your choice.” Why this inconsistency? Why give your child some guidance in life but refuse to give them the most important guidance? Guidance that not only equips them to deal with the heartbreaks that are around every corner in this fallen world of ours, but also prepares them to make their own personal choice when it comes to their allegiance to God. That choice that will affect where they spend eternity.
The final choice of faith is up to the child but a child needs guidance and encouragement that will help them make the right choice. Think of it this way. If children are allowed to grow up like weeds in a spiritual wilderness, chances are good that they will remain weeds. We can be sure that our children do not grow up in a spiritual vacuum. If we don’t teach him, someone else will. The only sure hope that a child has when it comes to making the right choice when it comes to faith in God is the home.
Listen to these words,
“The facts show that it is the family which is the main center of maintaining the religious spirit. We cannot and we shall not remain indifferent to the fate of children on whom their parents, fanatical believers, commit an act of spiritual violence. We are not indifferent to the fact that, in the Soviet society, a family is a cell of communist education or a refuge of backward conceptions.” These words were spoken in 1964 by one of the top officials in communist Russia. Back then the Russians feared Christianity so much that they forcibly took children from believing parents. Even they were wise enough to know something that many Christian parents apparently ignore. The family is the key to passing on faith in Jesus.
What about you and your house? Like Joshua have you made the commitment to tell your kids all about the Lord you love and serve so that they can make a well-informed decision?
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”