My family has had our share of crises. My wife, Lenya, and I had infertility issues. We worked through the death of my father and mother. We've had medical crises, some very recent. And now we're in the middle of another crisis.
In Joshua 24, we find Joshua, the successor of Moses, leading a nation that had known its fair share of crises. Now at the end of his life, Joshua gathered together Israel's leaders and reminded them how God had delivered them from Egypt, led them through the wilderness, and given them victory in the land of Canaan. Then he gave them this challenge: "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!" (v. 14).
Joshua challenged the people to fear the Lord—to live with a reverential awe that produces humble submission to a loving God—and to serve Him, putting away the false gods they had picked up from the pagan belief systems around them. He then went on to say, "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" (v. 15).
Here's the principle: your personal spiritual commitment ought to affect every other relationship you have in life, especially when it comes to your family and especially during times of crisis. God's pattern is that we pass truth from one generation to the next (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9). That means that if you're a parent, you have a very unique role: you are a partner with God in discipling your children.
But you first have to be dedicated to Christ yourself. If you're not, your kids are going to see that. If you're not sold out for Jesus Christ, they're going to know it, particularly when times get tough. You're not just supposed to take your children to Sunday school (and right now, you probably can't). You're to model and teach your children biblical truth so they will then pass it on to the next generation.
Part of modeling and teaching biblical truth is choosing what you allow to influence you and your family. So what are you allowing in your home right now—what voices, pictures, and ideas? What values are shaping the way you do family? If you're exposing yourself to social media or soap operas or secular stuff all day long, that is shaping how you see marriage and how you see raising children. We have to be careful we don't let the influences of the belief systems around us strain and strangle our relationship with God and with our family. Joshua would say we need to choose today who we're really going to serve.
Whether you're the head of an organization or a stay-at-home parent, you are a choice maker. And as you make choices every single day, those choices are going to turn around and shape the future for you and for your family. That continues to be true during this ongoing crisis that is affecting us all. So let me encourage you today: like Joshua, make the choice to serve and fear the Lord only.