Each of us will arrive at a point in our lives when we must choose for ourselves how we are going to live our lives. That might come earlier or later in life, depending on the circumstances of our lives. For new converts to the church, that choice is made as they accept the gospel and are baptized into the church. However, each of us must become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ â€“ regardless of whether we are new to the church, or if we come from a long line of many generations in the church.
To those who have been raised in the church, it is sometimes easy to accept the gospel as a way of life, or as a cultural experience rather than a personal, spiritual journey. We go to church because our family does -- we were raised that way. We might even go on a mission, or marry in the temple â€“ all worthy pursuits â€“ but we may have done them because of the expectatons of others, or out of a sense of duty, rather than because of our own spiritual convictions.
As we grow older, and begin to observe the world around us, we discover that there are many lifestyles and philosophical choices from which to choose. However, for each one of us, there comes a time in our lives when we have to choose â€“ really choose â€“ how we will live our own lives, and what kind of a man or woman we will really be.
Unless we have had our hearts changed, so that we have given our own will over, to the will of God, it will be difficult, if not impossible to withstand all the trials and temptations of mortal life.
Each of us, sooner or later will have our own â€œJoshua Moment". It was Joshua who said, â€œChoose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house â€“ we will serve the Lord.â€ï¿½ (See Joshua 24:15)
My Own Joshua Moment
My Joshua moment came when I was about 30 years old. I realized that I had been drifting along, and was beginning to go off the straight and narrow path. I decided to re-read the Book of Mormon once again, but this time, just as one who is investigating the church would read it. As I read, many insights came to me. The power of the Holy Ghost issued a gentle call to repentance as well.
I began to make the necessary changes in my life, but was still a little unsure of myself, and of my standing before God.
Then one day, a priesthood leader asked me to fill an assignment. The time of decision was at hand. How would I choose? It seemed like, for a few moments, that time had come to a stand-still.
I began to wonder if I was up to the challenge. Was I worthy? Could I do it? Was I ready? As I pondered these things, and began to question myself, I felt a wondrous flood of light, and a feeling of peace and confidence in the Lord flood over me. I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost with great strength and power.
It was like the Spirit of the Lord had become my best cheerleader, urging me on to take the next step in my progression, with faith. I felt him saying: "Yes! You can do it! Commit to yourself, and to God that from this day forward, you will leave your old self behind, and walk with Him in a newness of life."
For the first time in a long time, I had real hope, and a confidence that I could do it -- with the Lord's help.
All of these thoughts and feelings transpired in a single moment, maybe 1 or 2 seconds long in real-time, as my priesthood leader awaited my answer. At that moment, I made my choice. My Joshua Moment had come. I chose that as for me, I would serve the Lord. I had made the choice because it is what I wanted to do. Not because it was expected of me, but because I had made my own choice.
I accepted that assignment from my priesthood leader, and fulfilled it. He may never know what great impact he had on me, just by asking me to fulfill an assignment. From that moment on, my heart was changed. The results of that Joshua moment, changed my life, and will have eternal consequences.
I chose to have the Lordâ€™s will written upon my heart. And because of that choice, I wanted to do His will, instead of following my own selfish desires. Not because I felt obligated to do it. Not because someone else was expecting it of me. But because it was my own choice. I knew how I wanted to live my life, and I had made the commitment in my own heart to follow Him.
With that willingness and commitment, comes a great power. The power to change. The ability to overcome weaknesses. To have a new view of life opened up before us, where we can see more clearly, and know more fully what is most precious to us, both now in this life, and in the eternities to come. All these blessings, and more come to us through the power our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Through Him, I found the power to overcome my old self, and become a new and better person.
I'm still not perfect, -- not by any means. But from that day forward, the direction of my life has remained sure. I have never again had to question which way I should go, or how I should live my life. As a result, my life has been blessed with a great wealth of personal, family and spiritual blessings, for which I will be eternally grateful.