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Have you ever felt spiritually stuck; like you’re not doing anything wrong but you’re also not doing your best?
If so, you’re not alone. At some point we all feel spiritually stuck, but it’s usually for two totally opposite reasons:
We either feel so overwhelmed by all there is to do and all that is expected of us that we just do NOTHING, or we feel complacent and like our minimal efforts are good enough.
Either way the result is the same: a feeling of distance from God and an inability to move forward. So what can you do about it? How can you get unstuck from the spiritual muck?
The prophet Joshua taught his people a lesson that can help you and I when we feel like we’re standing still on the covenant path.
After over 400 years in Egypt the Israelites had a problem: they had left Egypt behind 40 years earlier, but they still had a little bit of Egypt inside of them.
You see, despite the goodness of their God they continually turned back to their old ways: the worship of graven images, of multiple gods, of focusing on the world. God had set them up in a beautiful land with houses they didn’t have to build, farmlands they didn’t sow, and vineyards they hadn’t planted. And yet they still forgot to remember who the blessings came from.
And so, in his last speech to the Israelites before his death, the great prophet Joshua cried out, “choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Now Joshua was encouraging the Israelites to make a decision once and for all whom they would serve– but chances are if you’re watching this video you’ve already chosen the side of Jesus.
So what do Joshua’s words have to do with you?
Well let’s talk first about how they can help when we feel stuck by spiritual complacency. When this happens we can remember Joshua’s invitation to choose THIS day to serve the Lord. Choosing to serve the Lord should be a one time decision, but we also need to choose EACH day HOW we serve Him.
We can choose to serve Him only on Sundays when we attend church. Or we can choose to serve Him each day through acts of kindness, prayerful scripture study, and seeking to hear Him. But which way do you think will lead you more steadily down the covenant path?
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said that in the gospel, “Either you are moving forward or you are standing still. There’s no halfway.” So choose THIS day and EVERY day to let go of complacency and keep moving forward. . . and not just once a week.
But what if your problem isn’t complacency? What if you feel stuck because the gospel seems like a never ending to do list, and you just can’t do it all? Well, we can learn from the second part of Joshua’s invitation when he said, “. . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Who did Joshua say we serve? The Lord!
And what do we know about the Lord? We know that “The Lord loves effort.”
We do not serve a task master, we do not serve a God of failing grades and swift anger. We serve a loving God filled with grace who is simply trying to shepherd us home.
So when you feel overwhelmed by your gospel to-do list remember who you are serving: your Heavenly Father who is focused on the progress of your heart, not the progress of your to-do list. The Lord loves effort and simply wants your best effort each day to move down the covenant path, no matter how slow your pace may be!
So how can you get unstuck from the spiritual muck?
By choosing THIS day and EVERY day to be an active disciple of Christ, and by giving yourself the grace God is so willing to give by focusing more on effort than outcome.