Like Everybody Else
- When you were a child, who did you want to be like when you grew up? What did you admire about that person? Looking back, how realistic was your perception of that person?
The first few weeks of this series we’re walking through some of the events that led up to the time of the Judges, noticing that the struggles of the Israelites are no different from our struggles today- namely, that all of us have a desire to do what we want, when we want, with whom we want.
Joshua had these words for Israel as he neared the end of his life:
But if you ever turn away and make alliances with these nations that remain near you, and intermarry with them and establish friendly relations with them, know for certain that the Lord our God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. They will trap and ensnare you; they will be a whip that tears your backs and thorns that blind your eyes until you disappear from this good land the Lord your God gave you. Joshua 23:12-13
- What are some of the cultural “traps” and “snares” you struggle with today? How do they separate you from what God wants for you?
It’s easy for us to think we want to be like everybody else. But everybody else takes their cues from everybody else. Being like everybody else just makes us average- worried, in debt, bored, and dissatisfied with what we have. If we knew that living like everybody else on the outside would leave us feeling empty on the inside, we would have done what we knew was right instead of doing what we thought was right in our own eyes.
Joshua warned the people of Israel that while living in the midst of their pagan neighbors they would need to differentiate themselves. Living like everyone else would result in God removing the good things he had given them.
This is the crucial question we all must face- Is God for me or is God keeping something good from me? The Israelites began to believe that God was keeping something good from them instead of God giving something good to them. In fact, the very first temptation recorded in history revolved around the idea that God was against the human race, not for it.
God’s Kingdom is a kingdom of conscience- he moves us from the inside out and asks us to yield our hearts.
The world’s kingdom is a kingdom of covet- it moves us from the outside in, polluting and diluting our hearts.
When it comes to who we want to be like, God wants us to look up at him, not at the people around us. Have we yielded our hearts to the Lord our God? For the next seven days, pray out loud the words of the verses below. It comes from Psalm 119, written by David, who realized that even kings need a King.
Guide me in the path of your commands,
for I delight to walk in it.
Give my heart a desire for your laws,
rather than for selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from what is worthless,
Revive me with your word!
- Think about one area of your life in which you need to stop trying to be like everybody else. What is one thing you can do to yield that area to God? What can this group do to support you?