I realized something this past week. When I would get busy at work and not have time to exercise during lunch, I would come home, put the kids to bed, and be energized about exercising. Then I would sit on the couch and immediately have trouble pulling myself away from the television to work out. However, when I was able to pull myself away, I had an extended workout session, felt better about myself, and felt better physically. Once I got going, I had the strength to continue. It was having the strength to start that was the hard part.
Joshua 3:12: “Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream wil be cut off and stand up in a heap.”
In the previous chapter (Joshua 1:18), the Israelites were prepared to do whatever Joshua told them (“Whoever rebels against your (Joshua) word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”). I can only imagine that as they approached the swirling rapids of the flooded Jordan that they started to have second thoughts. After all, putting their feet in the water might provide a large reward, but they were sure what they had if they did not.
We go through this internal discussion every day, don’t we? Every time the alarm clock goes off and we decide not to get up and go to the gym. Every time we drift off to sleep on the couch rather than going for a walk. Every time we order the chicken crispers instead of the salad. The lesson in Joshua—and we’ve all experienced this in some fashion—is that it takes a lot more strength to make that decision to put your feet in the water than it does to continue.
As a Christian, I believe that God will provide the power if I’m willing to follow direction. There’s nothing clearer than what he tells the Israelites: “When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river (Joshua 3:8).” Note that he doesn’t say, “I will show you once you reach the edge.” I believe that intentionally, the Israelites had to test their faith first. They had to put their feet in the water, first.
What does this look like for me? It looks like setting ten alarms until my wife threatens my life if I hit snooze one more time. I have to go into the basement and get on the treadmill the minute the kids go to bed rather than taking 15 minutes to “decompress”. I have to ask people to hold me accountable rather than trying to keep myself honest. I don’t know what stepping out into the water is for you. But think about it. It makes a difference.