“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
When I was growing up, there was a plaque with these words hanging in our hallway. More than just a decoration, these words were a declaration that no matter how much our relatives objected, how much they wished we would just be like everyone else, within the walls of our home…we would serve the Lord.
They weren’t just words on a wall. It was our motto. It was my Mom's choice for how she would live her life and raise her children.
Even though she never preached on a platform or stood against an angry mob to declare her allegiance to Christ, in the thirty years that she walked with Jesus before going to Heaven, she chose over and over again to model these words to those around her.
In her life, with her small family in her small town, she stood her ground and did everything she could to serve the Lord.
Like so many women, she never saw the limelight, but she fought in the trenches.
Inside her home, she prayed, and she taught us to pray.
She studied the Bible and taught us to study the Bible.
Over and over again, she took stands that said, “No matter what we have to give up, in my house, we aren’t serving other gods, we aren’t bowing to pressure from the culture, and we will not compromise our beliefs. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
She didn’t just say it; she lived it—day by day.
Whenever I read this Scripture, I’m reminded that even though Joshua was standing in front of the nation of Israel and his declaration was very public; he was challenging them to make choices in their individual, private lives.
Because it’s one thing to stand in church or at a Christian event and say, “I’ll do whatever it takes to follow Jesus.” It’s like cheering for your favorite football team in their home stadium.
The real test comes when you go home—do you choose to serve God when no one else is around to see?
Joshua recognized this fact. After he challenged the Israelites and they shouted back, “We, too, will serve the Lord!” he said this:
Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” (Joshua 24:19-20)
Why would he do this?
Because he knew even though they publicly said, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God,”….many of them had idols and false gods IN THEIR TENTS. (Joshua 24:16-18)
His second challenge was a reminder…it’s not just about what you say in public….you have to go home and get rid of the idols in your tents.
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23)
The fact is that it is within the privacy of our own homes that commitments are kept. This is where we decide how to spend our time, money, and energy.
It’s where we choose to reject ungodly ideas and entertainment or say, “Everyone else is doing it.”
Inside our homes, where no one else can see, is where we decide if we will practice what we preach or slip into hypocrisy and compromise.
Sadly, like the children of Israel, today, it’s inside of our homes that many Christians compromise, entertain sin, and embrace ideas and activities that are entirely against the Bible.
Today, Joshua’s words stand as the same challenge to us: What will you choose for you and your house—not just in church—but in your home, on the job, online. When no one else is around, no one else can see or hear, when it’s just you and your family in the privacy of your own home, are you still choosing to serve the Lord?
It’s one thing to say, “I won’t bow” in public.
In the privacy of your own home, are you bowing your knees to the gods of false religions, the occult, popular, ungodly entertainment, pornography, sensuality?
If so, Joshua’s challenge to you today is: go home and get those things out of your house.
Stop hiding your sin, stop coddling it, and get it out of your life.
Then, day by day, choose to walk in God’s ways.
It’s time for the people of God to follow Joshua’s example and say, “No matter what everyone else around me is doing, as for me and my house, we are going to serve the Lord. Everyday. Publicly and privately. We’re going to know God’s Laws and live by them.”
Are you up for the challenge?
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."