As one makes progress through the book of Joshua, one finds a large amount of tedious, historical information. It is all inspired revelation, but it can be about as enjoyable as going to the Public Records Office and reading through the legal briefs. However, within these sacred real estate transactions, one finds Joshua making an interesting statement:
How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you? (Joshua 18:3)
Some Israelite families have been very eager to claim and occupy their land grants, but others have been somewhat slow to acquire and take possession of the land which God had promised them. Joshua is calling them to get up and go finish the job.
Similarly, Christians have been called by Christ to advance the Kingdom of God, and they have been promised ultimate success in doing so. But like Israel in Joshua’s day, so often they prove to be passive procrastinators. One can imagine Christ looking and asking:
How long will you put off inviting your neighbors over for a meal?
How long will you avoid repeating the Gospel to your still unbelieving relative?
How long will you let the wicked walk all over the righteous in your work place, school environment, or governmental assembly?
How long will you let the world scare you into silence of moral issues?
How long will you allow your personal children or fellow church members to walk in sin and hate them by not confronting them?
How long will you, pastor, second-guess your message and prefer to tickle the ears of members instead of pleasing the ears of the Father?
There could be several reasons why Christians are passive and so prone to procrastination?
Some procrastinate due to laziness. They are numb and satisfied with their current lack of accomplishment. They have not the vision or work-ethic desired by God. They are not wise stewards of their time, energy and talents.
Some procrastinate due to fear. They have not faith in either the promises of God or the power of God. They give more credibility to the “giants in the land” than they do the God of the land.
Some procrastinate due to idolatrous pleasure. They find it less pleasurable to please God and more pleasurable to please their neighbors and themselves. Because they are self-pleasers, they become people-pleasers.
Some procrastinate due to ignorance. They conclude God’s plan is not best. They conclude God’s enemies are not that dangerous. They conclude sin is not that devastating. They conclude God’s hell cannot be real.
Friends, how long will we be characterized by passivity and procrastination? Will it continue today, or do we hear the voice of Christ calling us to go onward and forward. Let us be bold! Let us be aggressive! Let us be motivated! Christ tells us that the gates of hell cannot prevail, and we are more than conquerors through him who loves us so. He encourages us to be strong and have great courage; we are not to fear. He reminds us that the Spirit who dwells within is greater than the devil who inhabits the world. Therefore, let us obey! Let us gird up our loins and put on the armor of God. Let us run with vigor the race that is set before us. Let us not be ashamed of Christ, and let us fight the good fight.
Christ has given us our marching orders. Christ has given us all we need to accomplish his task. Christ is watching, and he waits to give us the victor’s crown at the end of our Gospel campaign.