THE COURAGE TO MAKE A DECISION – Introduction Lesson 9 – Nov. 11 – 18

Confidence, “a feeling of assurance or certainty, especially concerning oneself”, is a very important personal characteristic.   We all need to have that kind of internal strength in order to make good decisions, to trust our instincts, to set boundaries, and to be independent individuals.  It is possible, however, to have an excessive amount of confidence – the erroneous idea that your personal beliefs and opinions are almost always right or the exaggerated belief that if only people would agree with you, everything would be better for them and for you.  One of the most common problems for those who are overconfident is they do not have the ability or desire to think through the possible outcomes of their decisions.  Because they generally do not want much input from other people, they are often more sure of themselves than they are correct.  There are times when the right amount of “anxiety” or caution would actually serve them well.

When Joshua gave his final farewell addresses to the leadership of the tribes and to all of the people, he passionately called for them to promise, to decide, they would be faithful to the covenant which they had made with the Lord, their God.  He gave them warnings about idols and turning away from the God who had kept all His promises to them.  He reminded them it was the Lord who had gone before them and gave them every victory over the enemies that they had experienced.  He urged them to implicitly obey all that was written in the Book of the Law of Moses.  So why did he say to them “they would not be able to serve the Lord because He was holy and a jealous God”?  (Joshua 24: 19)  It’s a rather peculiar and startling statement, isn’t it?  Did he realize that in their own strength they would not be able to sustain the enthusiasm they had in those decisive moments?  Did he understand that, while they, no doubt, meant every word they were repeating in his presence, that without humility and dependence on God Himself, they would fail?  Did he know that if they forgot the ways in which God had provided for them, they would soon turn to other gods?

It was true for the nation of Israel, but it is also very true for us today.  How God longs for us to grasp that in our own strength, we will not be able to turn away from idols or the many voices that compete for our attention and admiration.  In our own SELF confidence, we will not be successful in living out the call to be holy and righteous, no matter how much we desire for it to be true.  BUT in His mercy and grace, we have been given the indwelling Holy Spirit, who will give us His power and courage and strength to be the person that Jesus desires us to be.  So – count on Him to keep every promise He has given to you every day of your life.  It’s the most incredible experience you can ever have.  I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS – no turning back, no turning back!

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