Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Life Of A Believer - So Close!

1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

Around a year after Israel’s exodus from Egypt, God brought them to the edge of their promise. Soon, they were going to cross into Canaan and begin  to possess the land that God gave them for their own. Twelve scouts were sent into the land first to gather information. While  spying on the Canaanites, they saw some things that were tough for the natural mind to take in. Powerful fortified cities inhabited by 10-12 foot tall warriors were not at all what they were expecting! When they came back, ten scouts had moved from trust in God to fear for their lives. Only two of the men (Joshua and Caleb) maintained an attitude of faith in God.

As if losing their own faith in God’s promise wasn’t enough, the ten scouts began to plant seeds of unbelief in the people of Israel. In a very little amount of time, only three people still believed in God’s promise to give them Canaan - Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. What should’ve been a simple information-gathering mission turned into a showdown between three leaders and three and one-half million people.

Numbers 14:2-4 “And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’”

If got so bad that the people actually planned to stone Moses, Joshua, and Caleb to death. Just before they could, though, God showed up at the Tabernacle. He was not at all happy with the people. He told them that only the ones who believed His promise were going to enter Canaan - not one of the millions of unbelievers were going to see the good land. Instead of leading them further into the land of promise, God turned them around and brought them back into the wilderness. For thirty-nine more years, that generation died one-by-one.

1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that we can learn what we should do from these people. Hebrews 3:16-19 says “For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Can you see this? Israel moved in fear and unbelief, but God called what they did rebellion and sin. A moment of hesitation and fear equals rebellion in God’s eyes.

We all come to this place. As we progress in our spiritual walk, we come to the edge of what God has called us to do. When we get a glimpse of where He’s taking us, that thing that He’s been leading us to all along, it is too much for our natural mind to process. It’s then that we have a choice. Do we progress in God’s kingdom and His calling? Or do we refuse to do what makes us uncomfortable and try to stay where we are? If that’s what you want to do, let me warn you - Israel didn’t stay put, they went backwards. The moment you refuse to obey God - whether it’s because of convenience or fear - you will regress backwards in your spiritual walk.

Denominations are famous for this. To begin with, a man or woman gets a “new” revelation from God that takes them further on their journey. They teach this to other men and women and then they move forward together - this becomes a new movement in the church. The churches they came from refuse to move forward with this revelation, so they come out of those places and start a new church organization. This new organization continues to move forward into God’s promises and grows rapidly. Then, all of a sudden, they learn where God wants them to go next - and it makes them uncomfortable. Instead of progressing into what God has called them to, they try to stay put. Sadly, that cannot happen.

In our Christian walk, we are either progressing or regressing. Before long, that organization that was alive and growing in the things of God begins to regress into passivity, worldliness, and ultimately rebellion. How could a once-godly denomination endorse homosexuality? How could an organization that was once on fire for God and burning with the Holy Spirit be reduced to “seeker-friendly” messages with no depth? It’s because they encountered their Canaan, and instead of moving forward, they tried to keep things as they were.

Have you encountered this in your own life? Have you been led into something that made your natural mind uncomfortable? The only answer is faith! Trust in God’s plan for your life and move into His next stage for you. Don’t hesitate when He calls. Don’t try to compromise with God and stay where you are. Remember, always move forward!!

Hebrews 4:11 “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

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