Tonight we read the story of Joshua and the Big Wall. Okay, most people over the average age of a Veggie Tales enthusiast call it Joshua and the Battle at Jericho. But, this evening the story sounds different. I wonder: Could God want to take down my walls in the same way?
For decades I’ve relied on habits of self-protection and preservation. I’ll let you in–a little bit. But, if it starts to get uncomfortable for me, then I’ll withdraw. You may not even notice. (I’ll be sly about it.)
Yet, the end result looks the same. My walls stay put. You stay a safe distance.
No one gets hurt here.
I need my walls to protect me from pain.
I need my walls to shield me from criticism.
These walls help me stay in control of what I feel.
Obviously, I’ve had these walls for a long time. One time a Christian counselor asked me why my walls were so high. I took a deep breath and tried to respond nonchalantly.
But, he cut through my charade and asked his question again. He probed about how long they’d been there and asked if I knew why I felt I needed them.
Those walls have been firmly in place for decades. I knew they were in the way of my freedom, yet I didn’t know if I could ever, safely, let them down.
Can My Walls Come Down?
Lately, God’s been working on my walls–showing me that Jesus–a true and better Joshua–leads my soul to a new freedom, as he indwells me. He defeats my enemies and guarantees my inheritance. It’s his power alone that gives me the ability to conquer whatever I face, be it the temptations of disordered eating or the demons of pride.
Could that really work?
Can I defeat body image idolatry, vanity, and all the fears and insecurity I wrestle with these simple moves?
I need courage–courage to trust my leader that his prescription (though it sounds almost too easy) will be enough to bring these walls down.
I need faith to believe that something as simple-sounding as confession and repentance can be the battle cry that shakes bricks and stone piled high into the air, into gravel and dust.
Joshua just did as God told him. He rounded that city. He made the people get loud on the seventh lap. Surely he had some doubts as to whether or not God’s plan would actually work. Didn’t he?
Yet it’s when we doubt that we must march in faith. (I’m fairly certain there’s a Bible verse (or four hundred) about that.)
Do Walls Really Protect Us?
I re-examine my walls. I’ve built them high believing they’ll protect me. But, the only place I’m truly safe is in the shadow of my Savior.
Have I made too much of me that all else pales in comparison? The more I focus on myself, the more my insecurity mushrooms and the higher those walls must become. I feel exposed and alone.
But when I make much of Him those walls begin to crumble. Then I find true refuge.
His arms are safer than my walls. Always.
When I rest in self-forgetfulness, my insecurity fades, my vanity withers, and my self-doubts become insignificant.
I confess: God, I can’t do this. Protecting myself is not part of your design. I can never muster up enough strength or defeat all that attacks me. I need you. Bring down my walls.