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A heart of love

Make sure you do not associate with the other people still remaining in the land. Do not even mention the names of their gods, much less swear by them or serve them or worship them. Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now. “For the Lord has driven out great and powerful nations for you, and no one has yet been able to defeat you. Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God. Joshua 23:7-11 NLT

Once you profess your faith to God, you will immediately feel the pressure of the worldly environment around you trying to squeeze you to conform. But we are called to defy this force and to stay true to the Lord. "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2). This was also what Joshua was admonishing the Israelites do. They cannot take for granted the desire and tendency to conform to ungodly dispositions. In verse 8, the Israelites were commanded to “cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.” Joshua used the metaphor “cling” to describe the relationship that believers should have with God. The Hebrew word used was also same that was used when God told the husband to be joined to his wife in marriage. “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:24). The believer in Christ is married to Him and is expected to be faithful. Joshua reminded the Israelites to “be very careful to love the Lord your God” (Joshua 23:11). If we love the Lord, we will obey Him. We cannot “take part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). True, we must have friends and contacts who are not Christians, but to fiddle in the world’s godless affairs will damage our spiritual lives. Sadly, today there are those who used to be committed to God and now had fallen out of love which weakens the witness of the church. Our obedience to God should not spring out of compulsion but rather from a heart of love. Knowing that this is not easy, Joshua told the Israelites to “be very careful.” Only those that are watchful of their hearts could love God sincerely.


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