The Columns – May 2016

Mens

Have you ever faced a decision in life that you just didn’t know what to do and froze? Have you ever tried to help someone else make the right decision and ended up frustrated? Let’s take a look at Joshua who was a great and decisive leader. Why was he able to be so bold? How did he lead others?

Decisiveness in itself is not a virtue. We have all known people who are decisively wrong and like to make decisions without regard to others. Their goal is to control and get their own way. Joshua, on the other hand, had a decisiveness grounded in his relationship with God. The mantle of decisive leadership did not come to Joshua out of the blue. Joshua had been on Mount Sinai when Moses met with God. He was one of the spies who brought back a report from the Promised Land and wanted to follow God to claim it. Joshua’s decisiveness came out of a heart for God and character forged by God’s words. His confidence was grounded in his trust in God. He didn’t rely upon his own ability but upon God’s faithfulness, power and wisdom. It was out of this character that Joshua was able to confidently make decisions. With a God-given task and promise of God’s presence, Joshua could boldly move forward. What are your God-given tasks? Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would empower and guide you to accomplish what he has set before you.

Later, at the end of his life, Joshua called all of Israel together and challenged them to make a decision to follow God.
‘Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods 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.’ Joshua 24:14-15

This reveals three important ways to help others be decisive. First, Joshua made very clear the choice that was before the Israelites. He didn’t beat around the bush or present only one side of the equation. In fact, he tells them that they need to ‘fear God’ and throw away any idols they have. He also recites options of different gods that they might choose. Clarity is a gift that we can give to others who are struggling to make a decision. We need to make clear the choices and the consequences. When we clarify what someone stands to gain, it makes it easier for him to make the right decision.

Second, Joshua understood the limits of his decision making. Anyone who has had young children knows this. There is a clear moment when the child realizes that they don’t have to do what their mommy says. The mommy realizes the same thing! That realization is that we make our own decisions and we can’t make decisions for other people. Joshua made sure they understood that they were responsible for themselves. ‘Choose for yourselves…’(Josh 24:15). Highlighting a person’s responsibility empowers them to be intentional and own their decisions. Conversely, it releases us from the anxiety of trying to control other people. If we live our lives for God and make decisions that we think are pleasing to Him, we can be at peace despite the chaos of other’s lives that surround us.

Third, we learn the power of example. Joshua’s decisiveness encouraged others to do the same. “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”. Then the people answered… ”We too will serve the Lord because he is our God”(Josh 24:15, 18). Most people underestimate the power of their example. Your co-workers look to see how you are going to respond in a heated situation. They see you with a Bible, a verse on your wall, or an encouraging email from a Christian author – and they watch. They subconsciously think: ‘Does following God really help them in life? If it does, maybe I’ll try it.’ The decisions you make when the pressure is on will influence them. As Christians we are swimming against the cultural and ethical current of our day, but many people are hoping to find the strength to do the same. Don’t wait to see what others will do. Take the initiative. Seize the day. Set the example!

Help others be decisive to do what is right. Clarify their options. Recognize the power of their decisions. Lead by example. Be Decisive! God has gifted you and empowered you to do great things for him at work, at home and in the community. As Paul wrote, ‘We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do’(Eph 2:10). So ‘Be strong and courageous, …the LORD himself goes before you and will be with you’(Deut 31:7-8).

DR. JONATHAN BECK • Executive Pastor • jbeck@fumcshreveport.orgfirstshreveport.org/men@jonathanbeck

UPCOMING EVENTS
Global Leadership Summit • August 11-12
Sporting Clays Tournament • August 28, 2016

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