Do you have the slightest reliance on anything other than God? Is there a remnant of reliance left on any natural virtue, any set of circumstances? When it comes to the new dilemma God has put before you, are you relying on yourself in any way?

This is the kind of rigorous self-examination God expects. When you say to yourself, “I can’t live a holy life,” you let yourself off the hook too easily. It’s true that you can’t make yourself holy, but you can always decide to let Jesus make you holy. Perhaps, like the Israelites in Joshua 24:19, you “are not able to serve the Lord” because your sinfulness and rebellion are too great. Yet it is always possible for God’s almighty power to work through you. You simply have to put yourself in the proper place—the place where you are right with him. Are you sufficiently right with God to expect him to manifest his wonderful life through you?

“The people said to Joshua, ‘No! We will serve the Lord’” (v. 21). The decision to serve isn’t an impulse but a deliberate commitment. You say, “God can’t possibly have called me to this. I’m too unworthy. He can’t mean me.” He does mean you. The weaker you are, the better. The person who has something besides God to trust in doesn’t come anywhere close to saying, “I will serve the Lord.”

We say, “If only I could truly believe.” The point is “If only I will believe.” No wonder Jesus Christ puts so much emphasis on the sin of unbelief: “He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matthew 13:58). If we really believed that God meant what he said, what would we be like? Do I dare let God be to me all he says he will?

Wisdom from Oswald

Am I becoming more and more in love with God as a holy God, or with the conception of an amiable Being who says, “Oh well, sin doesn’t matter much”?  Disciples Indeed, 389 L