WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 2, 2022
TOPIC: CHOOSE WHOM YOU WILL SERVE
BY T. O. BANSO
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15 New King James Version).
God’s will is that human beings should serve Him. He created you for Himself. All things were created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16; Romans 11:36). However, God will not force anyone to serve or worship Him. Serving the Lord is a personal decision that everyone must make. And there is a no better time to decide and commit yourself to serving the Lord than now – just the second day of the New Year.
Maybe you served other gods in 2021; you can decide today to serve the living God in 2022. Probably, last year you tried to serve God but you also served another God. You must change this New Year. You cannot serve God and another god or other gods. Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13 New King James Version). Matthew 6:24 says the same thing.
You cannot serve God and serve any other god. The other god does not refer only to a grave image you bow to. There are modern gods today that people worship. They are not grave images but people give them the first place above God. They come ahead of God in people’s life. They sit on the throne in people’s hearts. People give more attention to them than they give to God.
These gods could be self, money, wealth, ambition, vocation, hobby, sinful pleasure, or fashion. These are some of the modern idols that human beings worship. Any other thing that is more important to you than God or comes before God in your life is an idol. Whatever has captured your heart’s devotion is your god. Thus, you cannot give God the full devotion which God demands from you. He will not share your worship of Him with your worship of another god.
In the first of the Ten Commandments, God told the Israelites, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:2-6 New King James Version).
God will not tolerate the worship of another god alongside the worship of Him. Choose whom you will serve this New Year. Is it the living God or self, money, wealth, ambition, vocation, hobby, sinful pleasure, or fashion you served last year? Choose whom you will serve.
There is no fellowship between the living God and the gods/idols just as there is no fellowship between light and darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). It is either you serve the living God or you serve your idols. Joshua told the Israelites to fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and truth, and put away the gods which their fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt; they should serve the LORD (Joshua 24:14).
However, Joshua added, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (verse 15 New King James Version).
Joshua couldn’t speak for the Israelites but he could speak for himself and his family. Not many heads of families today, who are Christians, can speak for their families that they will, along with them, serve God. But God always wants families/households to be saved and serve Him. This can only happen through godly influence, prayer, and teaching; they can’t be forced.
God says about Abraham, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19 New King James Version).
You should seek to serve the Lord with your families as Joshua said. Aaron and his sons served the LORD as priests, though two of them, Nadab and Abihu, later offered profane fire before the LORD; they, consequently, died before the LORD, childless (Numbers 3:1-4; Leviticus 10:1-2). You must teach your children to serve the Lord reverently. He is a loving God but He is also a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29b; Deuteronomy 4:24).
Eli and his sons served the LORD as priests. Unfortunately, his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, also abused their office (1 Samuel 1:3; 2:12-17, 27-36). Sadly, they and their father died the same day! (1 Samuel 4:10-18).
Furthermore, Samuel and his children served the LORD. Unfortunately, Samuel’s children didn’t behave well as judges. They didn’t follow their father’s good example. They turned aside after dishonest gains, took bribes, and perverted justice (1 Samuel 8:2-3).
In the New Testament, Cornelius and his household were saved and baptized (Acts 10:34-48). Also in Acts 16, the jailor and his household were saved (verses 30-34). At Corinth, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with his entire household (Acts 18:8a).
Choose today whom you will serve. It will be great if you and your family will serve the Lord. Worship Him; serve Him. Don’t let anything come first before God in your life. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27 also say a similar thing.
Don’t serve another god other than the living God. God warned the children of Israel severally against worshipping the gods of the inhabitants of the land He was going to give them (Exodus 23:23-26, 32-33; 34:11-17).
Choose whom you will serve. Deuteronomy 13:6-11 says, “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you” (New King James Version).
Did you see how serious the punishment for enticing someone into idolatry was in the Old Testament? God doesn’t condone idolatry today either. 1 Corinthians 10:14 says, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (New King James Version). God is a jealous God. He doesn’t tolerate rivals or spiritual adultery.
Choose whom you will serve this year. Serve the living God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I and my family will serve the living God this year and continually; we shall not serve another god. No idol will take the place of God in my life and family. I shall not be enticed or deceived to engage in idolatry. Holy Spirit, help me to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind. (For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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