Have you ever made the statement, “I wish things could be like that again” or “I want to experience something like that again” or “I wish I could experience what they experienced”? The reality is that we have all experienced times we wish we could duplicate an event or experience.
I remember when I first began preaching multiple services in one day. I remember vividly debating whether or not I should preach different messages. My reason behind preaching two separate messages was simple, I did not want to try to duplicate messages. Let me explain a little more in detail. When I preached the first sermon, I preached it with so much passion, energy, and most importantly, I was really in tune with the Holy Spirit who guided my words. After an incredible sermon and great response, my human nature would come in and say, “how in the world can we experience that again in the next service?” As a young pastor at the time, I figured the best way to experience that again was to try to do everything the exact same way. The only problem was that in the next service I did everything the exact same way. I preached with passion and energy and I said everything almost exactly the same way I did in the first service. The second service was not a total wreck, but it certainly did not flow like the first service. Why? The answer is simple: I preached the second service based on my ability and neglected the leading of the Holy Spirit. What made the experience so great in the first service was not my passion and energy, it was the presence of the Holy Spirit. The second service lacked the presence of the Holy Spirit because I tried to duplicate something that God did not want to duplicate.
In Joshua 1:1-6, we see a similar situation take place. Moses, a great leader had passed away and now God was calling Joshua to lead these same people. Let’s read:
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
Can you imagine the pressure Joshua felt? How would he follow in the footsteps of the Moses? Joshua became a great leader because he did not try to duplicate. Joshua followed the guidance of the Lord which enabled him to become a leader that would take the people to places that not even Moses could take them.
This is a great reminder for all of us. Stop trying to duplicate an event, memory, person or circumstance; rather, allow God’s presence in the present form a new incredible experience. God desires to do something fresh and new in your life far greater than anything you’ve experienced yet.
So stop trying to duplicate and let God originate!