“But my brothers who went with me frightened the people and discouraged them from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I followed the Lord my God completely. So that day Moses promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your special possession and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’” — Joshua 14:8-9

As an athletic contest approaches its closing stages and the contestants are neck-and-neck, it’s often a matter of who wants it most, of who’s the hungriest! If there is little separation between the physical abilities, conditioning, and skills of the athletes, the winning edge frequently comes down to a matter of heart—where desire and determination dwell, where commitment and courage reside.

If heart makes the difference in athletic contests, then it makes a world of difference in spiritual experience. Take Caleb, a man who “wholeheartedly followed the Lord [his] God” (Joshua 14:9). At the age of eighty-five, he was still recognized and respected for his commitment. Born in the land of Egypt of parents living in servitude, Caleb had at some point in his life determined to be a wholehearted follower of the Lord. He had plenty of examples of half-hearted followers around him. Undoubtedly, a recognition of their ambivalence married to his convictions about the Lord had determined for him that nothing less than a complete commitment of life to the Lord was acceptable.

The kind of commitment Caleb had in mind meant that he remained committed in bad times as well as good. It sustained him through the short-term and in the long haul. When others backed off out of fear, he pressed on out of faith. Obstacles that deterred others spurred him on. God’s promises were to be claimed to the full. He did not ask for help to rid the enemies in his land; he simply asked for a chance to take them on and “drive them out... just as the Lord said” (14:12). And when difficulties arose, he was not to be found in the pack but out front, saying his piece and leading his men (see Numbers 14:5-9, 24).

It has often been pointed out that there are at least three kinds of men: those who make things happen; those who watch things happening; and those who ask, “What happened?” No prizes need be awarded for recognizing to which group Caleb belonged!

Can a constitutionally half-hearted person become a wholehearted follower of the Lord? If so, what does it take? The answer is this: if God is who He says He is and can be trusted to do what He promises, then He is worthy of our loving, trusting obedience. That is the stuff from which wholeheartedness is made.

For further study: Joshua 14:1-15

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.