“Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.”
When compiling a list of sad statements in the Scriptures, I believe you would have to include the verse above. Two great mistakes are revealed in this verse that haunts Israel to this day. The first statement is, “…when the children of Israel were waxen strong…” They saw how strong they were, so they lost the drive they had when they didn’t know their strength. It was sad that they still had God on their side, but they chose not to rely on His strength but their own strength. The second sad statement is, “…but did not utterly drive them out.” Instead of going forward by faith to conquer all of the Promised Land which God gave them, they resigned to mediocrity and just put the Canaanites to tribute. What is interesting is if they had the strength to put the Canaanites to tribute, they had the strength to conquer them; instead, they chose mediocrity, and mediocrity became their nemesis and eventual enemy which drove them into captivity.
Many believers have settled for mediocrity to their own detriment. There are several reasons for which a believer would settle for mediocrity in their Christian walk. The first reason is because they look back at all they have done instead of looking forward to seeing how much more they have to go. You cannot fall for the same mistake of Israel to realize that you have “waxen strong.” Just because you have become strong because of God’s blessings doesn’t mean that you should live in the land of mediocrity. Mediocrity and apathy sets in any time you choose to settle in past accomplishments instead of marching forward to new heights.
The second reason believers settle for mediocrity is because they get tired of the battle. I can certainly understand Israel getting tired of the bloodshed and battles, but they had not gotten to where the LORD had commanded them to go. Many believers have gotten tired of fighting, so they settle for mediocrity and miss the complete blessings that God has for them. Yes, you may have fought many battles, but you can’t let the weariness of the battle cause you to settle for mediocrity. Let me remind you that believers don’t serve a mediocre God, but they serve a God of excellence Who deserves for His children to continue fighting until they reach the pinnacle of what He wants them to reach.
The third reason believers settle for mediocrity is because they don’t immediately see what they know God wants them to have and do. Many preachers lost their drive to build because of a few down days in their church attendance. Many bus workers have settled for a mediocre route because of the hardness of keeping that route up. Many soul winners have settled for just handing out tracts because of a little rejection and no obvious fruit to their labors. Many believers have settled for mediocrity because they haven’t had the answers to prayer for which they have prayed for a while.
My friend, the place where you choose to stop fighting and conquering will become your eventual place of sin’s captivity if you settle for mediocrity. Let me remind you that if God is strong enough to put your enemy to tribute, He is strong enough to help you have complete victory in your Promised Land. Let me encourage you never to settle for mediocrity. Mediocrity is never God’s will for your life.