Set Your Foot

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.

Joshua 1:1-3

God had led the people out of Egypt and through the desert by using His servant Moses. Now it was time for the new leadership of Joshua. Now it was time to enter the Promised Land. The long wait was over. The Hebrew people were about to get their own land, the land that God has promised them for so many years.

I think it is interesting that God says, “I will give you every place where you set your foot.” In other words, this land is a gift but the people of God will have to go get it. They didn’t get to camp on the other side of the Jordan River and have the land given to them on a silver platter. They had to act. They had to walk. They had to fight. They had to do something to receive the gift God had for them. Inactivity was not an option.

What if God says the same thing to us today? What if God is saying, “I will give you every place where you set your foot.” We have to pursue it, but if we do, God will give it to us. We have to put in the work, the study, the trial and error. But if we do, God will give it to us. When God gives us things, inactivity is not an option.

God is a God of partnership. He partnered with Moses to deliver the people from Egypt. Now He is partnering with Joshua to bring the people into the Promised Land. And God wants to partner with us. We need to stop looking for some sovereign act of God and instead understand that most of the time, God would rather work through us as His hands and feet in the world.

The beauty of partnering with God is that we get to do things that are impossible for us to do on our own strength. The hard part about partnering with God is listening to His voice, discerning His direction, and yielding to His will. We don’t get to “do our own thing.” We get to join God in doing His thing. It’s a partnership, but let’s not forget that He is the senior partner.

Where is God saying to you, “I will give you every place where you set your foot.” What gift of God is awaiting your action?

Demonic Faith

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

James 2:19

In a polytheistic culture, there were some who thought it was enough to be monotheistic. They believed in the one true God, but they weren’t expressing that belief through obedient surrender to Jesus and faithful action. James was challenging their self-congratulatory complacency.

Demons believe in God. They know He exists. They believe in Jesus in the sense that they acknowledge His existence and are terrified of Him. They shudder at His name and squirm under His authority. They don’t like to be around God’s Presence or anyone who carries God’s Presence through the Holy Spirit. The fire of the Lord burns them and the Light of Christ blinds them. While they are completely comfortable around nominal Christians and at home in religious settings void of the Spirit, they despise Christians filled with the Spirit and on fire for the Lord.

I’ve heard a number of people say, “I believe in God; I just don’t like organized religion.” By this they usually mean they have a generic belief in God that doesn’t require anything from them and doesn’t impact the way they live life. Their “faith” without action is dead (James 2:26). This kind of faith is no occasion for self-congratulations or pride. This faith just barely reaches the level of demonic faith. This person has about as much confidence and trust in God as the demons. Not exactly something to be excited about.

James reminds us that just as our spirit expresses itself through our body, our faith expresses itself through action. To take active risks and live in obedient trust is the life of faith. To call oneself a competitive athlete and yet never do any physical activity doesn’t line up. Likewise, to call oneself a follower of Jesus and yet never express our faith through action doesn’t line up. At the very least we should challenge ourselves to have faith that surpasses that of the demons.