I keep a list.

Every morning, when I get to my desk, I take my list of action items from the previous day, and transfer the “un-done” items to a new list. It’s a little planning ritual that allows me to determine how I am going to attack my day.

As I go over my list, I tend to hope that God will help me accomplish much of it. I tend to think of life in terms of my own strategy. I make the mistake in thinking God is thinking the same way.

I errantly assume that God is there to help me achieve my goals.

Joshua, the “Strong and Courageous” Bible character, may have dealt with a similar mindset. Right after he begins leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, and immediately after a miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, Joshua runs into an man with a drawn sword. He describes himself as a “Commander of the army of the Lord”.

Joshua 5:13-14

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us, or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord, I have now come.” …


Joshua was quickly reminded whose battle he was fighting. God wasn’t helping Joshua fight his battle. Joshua needed to help fight God’s battle.

Joshua’s surrender to God’s plan (even the odd plan to take a city by walking around it, in the next chapter), is a great reminder for me today.

That doesn’t mean God isn’t working on our behalf. Romans 8:31 – 37 reminds us of the love God has for us, and that Jesus is interceding for us, and that my ability to “conquer” whatever today holds will be exclusively through “him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)

Here’s what I need to remember today:

  • I need to be less concerned with God being on “My side”
  • I need to be more concerned with being on God’s side.
  • I will “conquer” through God’s power alone.

My prayer today shouldn’t be “Lord, help me achieve my goals”. It should be “Lord, align my goals with yours”.

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