I found some advice on how to coast in school… how to get by with a minimum amount of work:
Know the minimum requirements for what is considered "doing your homework." If you just have to write a line or two for a question, write that.
If someone else's class is before yours with the same teacher, ask to see their quizzes or tests, if the teacher gives them out early.
If you get the annoying assignment of reading and taking notes, only do the reading. Then copy someone else's notes in school or something. Not that hard. (Wiki-How “How to Coast in School Easily)
The temptation is to coast in our faith. You can only coast downhill.
A frog decided to investigate a barn. Being somewhat careless, he fell into a pail half-filled with fresh milk. As he swam about attempting to reach the top of the pail, the sides of the pail were too high to reach. He tried to stretch his back legs to push off the bottom of the pail but it was too deep. The frog was determined; he continued to struggle. He kicked and squirmed, until at last, all his churning about turned the milk into butter. The frog climbed onto the butter and jumped out. "Never Give Up!"
In ascending the Mountain of God, a person needs to be driven without becoming complacent. Never give up. Weariness is natural and requires rest, but the purpose of REST is to recharge our batteries, we must keep climbing…you can only coast downhill. You can coast on the flat for a while, doing the bare minimum, but you will quickly come to a standstill. The Crouse family had an old blue bike. All four of us kids learned to ride it as soon as we were big enough. I remember the first time I was on the bike there on Vancouver Street, my brother pushed me with a running start and away I went, coasting towards Cherry. I quickly discovered staying upright was an issue, but so was steering, and I coasted right smack into Mrs. Miller’s garage door (where Edaleen Dairy now sits). Crash! Coasting is not good for your spiritual wellness.
Israel reached a relatively peaceful time. READ Josh. 23:1a. They were enjoying a time of rest, a time when they could reflect on their labors and thank the Lord for his wonderful provisions. Rest is a gift. Yet often during peaceful times we become lax; our commitment to the Lord can slip and we coast, lose momentum, maybe even crashing. There is also a danger when you have been striving for a long time seeing little progress, and you give up. You pray and pray and pray with little visible results. You want to see people change their lives, thinking surely they have hit the bottom, and one more disappointment can cause us to coast. At such a time, Joshua challenges the people to continue climbing that mountain…
Joshua reminds the people of God's Faithfulness READ Josh. 23:2-5. This is what God has done. Keep climbing by remembering what God has done…
We need to be reminded of how God has blessed us. I love the way Psalm 103:2 describes this same idea: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Don’t forget what is good about God. A complacent person is a forgetful person, taking God for granted. Psalm 103:3-5 lists what God has done: READ. Have you been forgiven. Be amazed. Healed? Wonderful. Redeemed from a pit. Astounding. Been satisfied? Renewed.
Many years ago Sally and I frequently saw a cousin of her mother’s, Everest. He was dying. I will never forget arriving at his home and I found him lying on the bed: “I’m just thinking about all the good memories in my life.” Even though Everest was dying, the blessings of his life were keeping him content and alive. Our tendency, like Israel, is to forget. Or we complain: God, What have you done for me, lately? We tend to magnify the negative, the parts left undone, the mistakes, the prayers not answered yet or not answered to our liking. Here’s an idea: When you find yourself asking God what he has done for you lately it’s usually said sarcastically. Turn the sarcasm into a positive question and answer it. I know you will come up with a long list… praising God is an antidote to apathy.
Complacency is dangerous on your spiritual journey. Joshua challenges us to remember what God has done, not dwelling on everything that is bad, but focusing on that which is good. Joshua reminded the nation that God had done so much for them, and that He would do more! READ Josh. 23:5. Keep the blessings of God alive!
Joshua reminds the people to remain faithful to God. Josh 23:6-11
READ Josh. 23:6… Be strong and obey. Be strong… I see this as a word of encouragement for the weary, like a person who is afraid to apply for a job: be strong, you can do it. Never give up. The milk will turn to butter. Problems will be overcome in amazing ways for the person who remains faithful. Take risks for God ~ some of you know you need to go forward in your calling, maybe to teach, serve, get involved, help in a certain way. Be strong and take a risk for God.
Obey the written word of God Joshua also says. For Israel in those days they only had the first five books of the Bible, for us it is the entire Bible. Know what is there… keep on studying, listening, refining, obeying….
This week I had an experience. It had to be a God thing. It was with Jim and Melanie, Michael and his wife Pat joined us for part of a most intense conversation, others in and out…. I thought I was in the RV Park to see other people, but neither was available, so as I sat and talked with Jim and Melanie, Jim calls over another person saying, “come and meet my pastor. “ The man was from a different religion. After a time we talked. And we disagreed. And I did my best to keep him focused to answer my questions. He did the same with me. I found him quite evasive. quite deceptive. It was like pulling teeth to get him to admit his religion only accepted their translation of the Bible and every other translation was secondary. Fine. But then he said something that made me mad. I asked him a sincere question of why he was alone ~ in my limited experience they always went door to door with another person. He would not answer directly, but what he said made me mad: “You want me to have a witness? I’ll go and get somebody and you go get somebody and we’ll meet back here in ten minutes.” I looked at Jim and Melanie and Joan and Pat and said, “How about them.” “No! he said, they aren’t good enough.” Really? That made me mad. I became passionate. And so did Melanie…. I will gladly stand beside anyone of you wherever you are in your faith journey and I will be proud to represent God with you. And I will learn from you. I never could figure out what this man was saying, he didn’t think they knew enough Bible verses by heart or something like that. Joshua simply says BE STRONG, BE OBEDIENT… God cares more about which direction we are going than he does a certain attainment of knowledge. Knowledge will come. Experiences will change us. But the direction of climbing towards God is of what is most importance. The experience at the Jeffries home was a reminder that we must keep on going, keep on striving…
Do not compromise but have high standards… READ Josh. 23:7.
Hold fast to God… hang on… READ Josh 23:8. Joshua encourages them to stick close to the Lord, don't let anything come between you and the Lord.
The promise of God is that as you keep on battling this old world, as you keep on climbing the mountain, he will be with you, and you will have strength… READ Josh 23:9-11. Love the Lord. Practice loving God. Learn to love God.
Joshua was afraid the love they had for the Lord would grow cold. I talked to a woman a while ago whose husband told her he wanted a divorce. She was shocked, but as she thought about it over the next few days she concluded that he’d been growing apart from her for a long time, many signs were there, but she just did not see it. Deliberatley love the Lord, just as you must deliberately love your husband/wife. Do not take God for granted….
Here are some dangers of Complacency. READ Josh. 23:12-13
A) Loss of position. The relationship between you and God changes. God can and will forgive a lot of things, but if you grow complacent towards God, that is the same as growing away from God. Complacency is a rejection of God.
When you are right with God you will seek to impact the world for Christ. You will flourish. When you are complacent towards God, the world will influence you. For Israel, if they grow complacent towards God because they are settled in the promised land they will no longer have the distinction of being God’s people…. If you do the bare minimum to live as a Christian, if you coast, you can only go downhill, you will lose momentum, you might even crash into the side of a garage!
B) The Danger of Complacency is a loss of power. READ Josh. 23:13. God had blessed them with much might and power. He had fought their battles. They had experienced the power of God working in and through and for them. But if they neglect the things that Joshua had mentioned, they will become powerless, weak believers.
C) The danger of complacency is a loss of peace. Kind of ironic. The people are now at rest in the promised land and Joshua is afraid that if they take their home for granted they will have no peace. Like the man that worked hard his whole life, at last retired, didn’t have enough to do, and lost his health.
The text describes how they will find themselves in bondage, just like they were in Egypt. Sin would master their lives and they would become ensnared and trapped.
Joshua could see the possibility of trouble ahead. He knew what complacency could do to the nation. Complacency, doing the bare minimum, can rob us of our position, power and peace just as well. God wants us to keep climbing.
Do not neglect the things of God in your life and start coasting. You have a choice! So which way are you going to go? That’s where we will pick up next Sunday in the final message from Joshua….
Keep climbing the Mountain of God. Never take for granted the blessings of God. He is faithful to you. If you do the bare minimum to get by in your faith, you are in danger of losing your relationship with God, unable to achieve victory in your own strength and losing peace in your life. Keep climbing the uphill mountain of God, striving to be faithful to him, continuously transformed by God. Amen.