As for me and my house is what we are going to talk about. You know the following is a true story and names, and no names have been changed to protect anyone. In fact, we're really interested to know who this person is because of the priorities he set for himself and for his family.
Now, as we come here to Joshua 24, we know that this is set on the last day of his life. You think about the last day of Joshua's life, how would he spend it? Who would he spend it with? Where would he go? How would he use those few final precious moments on this earth?
I think we have probably all thought of something like that ourselves. We might have what you call the bucket list. The things I want to do before I kick the bucket. You know, on my list, one of the things on my list is I want to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft, of course with a parachute. I wanna do that before I die. But the reason I haven't done this is because I might do it just before I die. And so, how would you spend your last moments on earth?
In Joshua, we see Joshua spend his last moments on earth, the last days of his life on earth, addressing the nation, addressing his people, reminding them of their purpose, and reminding them of what they have come from and what God expects of them.
- Joshua 24:14-15
He put the choice to them. You can choose who you will serve.
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…,” — Joshua 24:15
Godly Priorities for the Family
God gives us the choice to serve him or not to serve him, but Joshua says, as for me and my house, notice two things.
And so he spent the last days of his life encouraging his brethren to serve God. His words reveal his resolve. His speech proclaims his priority. He built a Godly home establishing proper, precious, priorities. And so today we are going to look at some of these priorities and how we should set priorities in our life, spiritual priorities to help us go to Heaven.
Establish Family Priorities
And so again, we need to begin, certainly, with establishing priorities for our families. In times like these, family priorities must be established.
- Joshua 24:15 - Fathers take the spiritual lead in the family.
Notice that Joshua took the spiritual lead in his family to establish those priorities. He says, as for me and my house, the two things he had the most control over were himself and his family.
He says, as for us, We are going to serve the Lord. You know, today, we need parents who understand that Jesus deserves the place of preeminence in all things, including in our hearts and in our homes.
- Colossians 1:18 - Christ Deserves Preeminence in all things.
Certainly, in this context within the church, He has a preeminence in all things within the church. He also has to have preeminence in everything in our life, every aspect of our life, and when He has that preeminence in our hearts, and that His kingdom will be first in our hearts and in our minds, in our life.
- Matthew 6:33 - We are to seek the Kingdom first.
You know the reason though, that many homes hurt and that family's fracture is because of a lack of loving leadership, establishing the proper priorities.
Just as attitude determines action, and belief determines behavior so also priorities determine performance and productivity.
And so, we need to ask ourselves as parents, what priorities are we establishing in our families?
And so, we've got to establish family priorities.
Examine Family Priorities
You know in times like these, family priorities must be examined.
Just because we've established our priorities does not mean that the priorities that we have made are appropriate. God has always challenged people to examine their priorities. He wanted them to know that building his house took precedence over building their own houses.
- Haggai 1:2-9 - God challenges His people to examine priorities.
The prophet there comes to these people, they have returned from exile, but they've been in the land for a long time. They have not finished building the Temple of God, but now of course they're living in houses that they have built.
They had the wrong priorities. They were thinking of themselves and their needs before the needs of God.
And so, examine your priorities.
- Luke 10:38-42 - Jesus challenged Martha.
We have that familiar story of Mary and Martha hosting Jesus and his disciples.
Here you have Mary, she is sitting at the feet of Jesus learning from Him. Her sister, Martha, she's taking care of the house and making sure that everybody has food and whatever they need. And she is so overwhelmed by this that she becomes angry that her sister is doing nothing. When Jesus reminds her that her sister had the right priorities in sitting down and listening and learning from the Master. Our Lord wanted Martha to realize that Mary had chosen that good part.
And so, if we do not examine our priorities, then we're gonna end up being led and misled by the mundane. You know, too many families are motivated by the monetary and enthralled by the earthly, instead of being persuaded by proper priorities.
And so as parents, again, we need to ask ourselves to what does your family devote its time, its money, and energy. We need to examine our priorities.
Enjoy Family Priorities
We need to enjoy our family priorities and in times like these families ought to be enjoyed. You know, as every Christian's birthright, to experience joy on earth while serving God.
- Psalm 114:15
- John 15:1 - There is joy in serving God.
God wants us to enjoy serving Him. He wants us to have joy in that, and for our joy to be full.
Likewise, God ordained marriage in the family to bless and enrich humanity.
- Genesis 2:18-24 - Families bless and enrich our lives.
God saw that it was not good that man should be alone, and He decided to make a helpmeet for man. We see the great blessing that came upon Adam because of this.
And so, the family that establishes priorities based upon the Word of God and examines them daily, can enjoy the precious fruit of their labor together in the kingdom.
And so families bless and enrich our life just like they did in the case of Adam, the first family, Adam and Eve.
You know one of the greatest challenges behind building a Godly home is to make sure that it is framed with love and compassion, decorated with peace and harmony, and filled with joy and happiness, and such a home.
Husbands love their wives. Wives submit to their husbands, parents train their children, and children obey their parents in all things.
- Colossians 3:18-21 - A Godly home is framed with love and compassion.
Priorities that Hinder Your Family
There are some priorities also that hinder your family. And so we need to examine our priorities to make sure that our priorities are not hindering us as a family.
You know, God's immutable law is that we will reap what we sow
- Hosea 8:7 - We reap what we sow.
Thus, when we do not sow the proper priorities in our families, we should not be surprised when we reap regrets. Families are suffering serious problems because they're not sowing to the sacred principles or priorities.
And so there are a number of things that, priorities that families make, that are detrimental to the health and the spiritual welfare of their family.
You know, we make a great mistake when God is not the first and foremost priority in our homes.
- Mathew 22:37; 1 Samuel 2:29 - When God is not #1 in our home.
Is there anything that you honor more than God? Even if you honor your children more than God, and we honor our children and certainly so we ought to honor all of our family, but not more than God.
Does God have, does Christ have preeminence in your life? Does this church, or is the church our priority? Is his church our priority? That's what I'm trying to say. You know, it is foolish to define our family success by what we possess.
- Luke 12:15- 20 - The wrong definition of success
He may have thought, boy, I've got it made. I'm the Jones', everybody's gotta keep up with me. He thought he was very successful, but God said, you're a fool.
And the same with us. If we emphasize physical gain and monetary gain above everything else, we're being foolish because those things do not last. And we can't take them with us when we die.
Instead, we need to be walking in the footsteps of Christ.
- 1 Peter 2:21
And so, instead of trying to follow and keep up with the Jones family, we need to follow Christ. So if we define family success by monetary gain, then we're being foolish.
- Elevate mundane over spiritual.
We hinder our spiritual growth when our priorities mirror those of Martha instead of Mary, who elevated the mundane over the spiritual. You know, while families need to be involved in the Lord's work, Mary and Martha remind us that some things are more important than others. In Martha's case, let us not be serving when we should be sitting.
You know, we adversely affect our families when we are not proper stewards of our time.
- Ephesians 5:16 - not redeeming the time
Time is not on our side. We need to take advantage of those moments that we have when we have them because those moments are fleeting. But when we are busy here and there with the affairs of this life, the mundane and earthly will certainly overwhelm the majestic and the eternal. You know, we are failing to help our children exalt, uh, and appreciate the spiritual realm above every other realm. You know, you think about the, uh, the growth of Jesus.
- Luke 2:52 - Not emphasizing spiritual growth.
These things are important certainly to grow and to be in good health, to learn to have wisdom. But we also need to emphasize the spiritual growth that's emphasized in the growth of Jesus. He grew intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially. All of these are important. But, Jesus emphasizes the spiritual. And so, don't exalt intellect over integrity, or, sports above the spiritual, or popularity above purity.
Priorities that will help our family and keep us from those are things that hinder us.
Priorities that Help Your Family
But what about those that help us to grow spiritually? You know, the following points here, they're not intended to be a complete list of, of, uh, helpful priorities. But they are intended to be viewed as a great beginning to a solid foundation for your marriage, your home, and your family.
And so maybe you could use these things as a checklist, a spiritual barometer, so to speak. And so examine yourself and your family to see how you're doing. You know, the purpose of this spiritual exercise is to bring us back to the Lord and to his ways.
- Return to the Lord’s way. - Psalm 119:59-60; Lamentations 3:40
- Give Jesus the preeminence. Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 3:18
- Seek Kingdom 1st. Matthew 6:33; Joshua 24:15
- Help your spouse grow spiritually. Psalm 34:3; 2 Peter 3:17-18
- Train and teach children the Lord’s way - Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Proverbs 22:6; Genesis 18:19
- Learn to love, respect, and serve each other - Galatians 5:13
- Husbands /Fathers, follow the example of Christ - Matthew 20:28; Ephesians 5:25
- Wives / Mothers, be like the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31
- Children obey your parents - Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:21
I think we'll all agree that Joshua chose correctly for himself and for his family when he says, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." He offered them the choice.
You know, like Joshua, we have that God-given right to choose our way. He allows us to choose to serve Him or not. Like Joshua, we have that God-given right to choose our way, our own way. And in this life, we're either going to choose that which pleases God or, we will choose those things in which God has no delight.
Joshua said, "...as for me, in my house, we will serve the Lord." He chose willingly to serve God. Now, let us be wise enough to make our Lord's precious priorities a part of our daily lives. May we ever give our God the very best we have in all things.
We need to decide what our priorities for ourselves are going to be and what our priorities for our family are going to be. Your decision will determine whether you will rejoice or regret in this life, and more importantly in the life to come. And so, we need to be wise. We need to act.
Now, you may think, well, you know, my kids are almost grown. I've missed the boat. It's not too late. Act now. Love God, obey God. Set that as a priority in your life.
If you're here as a parent and you're not currently obeying God, you're not setting the example that your children need to follow. You're not leading them to heaven, if you're here today and you're not in the right relationship with God as a parent, mother, father, or a child, or as just as an individual, you're not in a right relationship with God make that your priority.
Look upon your ways and turn back into the Lord. As we saw in Lamentation chapter three, we urge you, if you are not a child of God to put on Christ in baptism. If you are a Christian but you haven't been faithful, you can repent, contact us so we can assist you in becoming a faithful follower of God through Christ