If I’ve learned anything in my time following Jesus, it’s that we’re called to live like Him. If you’ve been a follower of Jesus for any amount of time, you might have found yourself, like me, on the receiving end of blank stares or dropped jaws when you explain the things you do for God. Living differently isn’t always easy. It often means doing things that look pretty strange to the world around us. The good news is, it’s not just different—it works!
Take a look at Joshua. Joshua was the Israelite military leader responsible for taking God’s people into the land He promised. Joshua was also one of twelve men sent into Canaan, God’s Promised Land, to spy it out before the Israelites went in. When the twelve men reported on the conditions of the land flowing with milk and honey, but also populated with fortified cities and giants, Joshua was one of only two men who implored the Israelites not to fear the battles ahead because God was with them. The Israelites thought he was so crazy (different) that they even talked about stoning him to death.
Later, Joshua led Israel into battle against the city of Jericho. Jericho was a walled, well-built city, but God gave Joshua some very odd and specific (different) instructions about how he was to conquer the city. Basically just by having his army march around it a prescribed number of times for a prescribed number of days.
It seems a little weird to me that nowhere in the Bible is there a conversation between God and Joshua where he said, “We just march around the walls? Then they fall over? Are You sure?” Nope. We just read Joshua commanded his army to do exactly what God said.
The Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho, and on the seventh day, after the seventh circuit, the walls of Jericho fell down.
Time and time again, Joshua demonstrated that his power came not from his army or his military expertise, but from his rock-solid faith in God. That faith in God led him to absolute obedience, and consequently, to victory. Obedience to God is often one hundred percent different from the norm, but it always one hundred percent works.
I’ve definitely had some battles that looked too big for me. Whether it was working toward a career goal, overcoming a bad habit, walking with my parents through cancer, or learning how to be wise with my finances, I was always victorious when I put my trust in God and chose to be obedient to Him rather than relying on my own strength. Many times this meant I had to try living differently. Many times I had people I loved tell me I was making the wrong decision. But when we remember and believe in God’s promises, He is faithful to deliver.
Following God isn’t easy. It often means doing things that look pretty different. The good news is, it’s not just different–it works!