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I recently heard a pastor preach on the topic of “legacy.” As he described his family background, he told about three generations of pastors, till-death-do-you-part marriages, and children who all followed God’s call on their lives. It was a beautiful story, but as he progressed, I couldn’t help but feel a slight tinge of cynicism creeping up.
“It must be nice to be you,” I thought.
This man could trace his spiritual legacy back three generations, yet I couldn’t even tell you my grandfather’s name. While the pastor grew up in a beautiful house on acres of land and played tag in the fields until the sun went down, I grew up in a crumbling apartment in Brooklyn dodging bullets and gang members. In his family, faithfulness in marriage was the norm. In mine, adultery was rampant.
It is one thing to follow God when everyone else around you is, but how do you follow God when you’re all alone? Is it possible to break free from patterns of behavior that go back for generations?
Read Joshua 24:15. When Joshua gave his famous ultimatum to the people of Israel, they were in a similar situation. The surrounding people were used to living their own way. Idolatry, human sacrifices, murder, deceit, sexual sin—they were all commonplace. To make matters worse, many of these practices had found their way into the homes of God’s chosen people, as well.
Joshua challenged the Israelites to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” Choosing to serve God wouldn’t be easy. To follow God meant they would no longer be able to ride the fence and lay low. They would no longer be able to blend in to their surroundings. Standing with God would mean standing out.
Radical changes like this are hard to hide. People notice. Even if they went out of their way to be nonjudgmental, righteous living has a way of making others uncomfortable. Their righteous acts would be like candles in the darkness, exposing areas of sin others may never have noticed before.
When God exposes sin in our lives, we have a choice to make. We can choose to run further away from the light, or we can let the knowledge lead to repentance.
Joshua told the Israelites, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Choosing to follow God when everyone around you isn’t, won’t be easy. You will likely face persecution, doubts, fears, and the temptation to give up. The Israelites certainly did. Perhaps that’s why God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:9)
For more on breaking free from your past listen to, “Facing Your Past” on FamilyLifeToday.com.
About this Plan
Breaking free from a legacy of sin can be difficult, especially when it seems everyone around you is going in a different direction. This 9-day plan will help you to start a new legacy and stand strong in your faith, eve...
We would like to thank Carlos Santiago and FamilyLife for providing this plan. For more information, please visit https://www.familylife.com/
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