Tag Archives: promised land

The Grasshopper Complex

Have you ever felt like you weren’t smart enough, spiritual enough, good enough or just enough? Self doubt is something each of us deal with at some point whether we want to admit it or not. It comes up at the most inopportune times too. Whether you’re going to an interview, a date, a meeting with a group of people or just looking in the mirror. How we feel about ourselves often makes us feel inadequate, and that holds us back from so many things. It shows up in our actions, our body language and even facial expressions. It’s usually rooted in comparing the worst part of ourselves to the best part of someone else.

When Moses sent spies into the Promised Land, 12 men saw the same things, but 10 of them let how they felt hold back a nation for 40 years. In Numbers 13:33, they said, “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (NLT) Did you catch that? They compared themselves and felt small. They lost sight of who they were and forgot that they were created in God’s image. Even though the Lord had promised them this land, they chose how they felt over the Word of God.

When we compare ourselves to others, and allow self doubt to creep in, it holds us back from our own promised land. When those thoughts of inadequacy arise, remember Philippians 2:13. It says, “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure” (AMP). You will always be enough through the power of God in you. You are the temple of His Holy Spirit and He is at work in you to be enough for whatever you face. Push out the lies of comparison and self doubt and replace those thoughts with the truth of who God says you are.

Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

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The Tamarisk Tree

  
In Genesis 21, Abraham had been living in the Promised Land as a foreigner for a while. After he made a treaty with Abimelech, verse 33 says, “Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the LORD, the Eternal God” (NLT). I don’t know if Abimelech was there for the planting or if it was just a sign to God, but it was no coincidence that he planted a tamarisk tree given the promise God had made to him about that land.

According to forestry.about.com, the tamarisk tree is an invasive tree that spreads rapidly. It has the ability to survive in harsh conditions. It is very adaptable to whatever conditions it faces. I can’t think of a better tree that depicts the Israelites and God’s plan for them. God had given them that land, and Abraham had been given the promise that he would have as many descendants as there were stars. His family would flourish and spread throughout that region one day.

The tree is also representative of how we as Christians are to be. God did not plant us where we are in order to be quiet about our faith. He expects us to advance the Gospel rapidly, even in the harsh conditions we live in today. In Mark 16:15, Jesus told us, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” He wanted us to be invasive with His message. It has never been about waiting for someone to come to you with questions about your faith. It has always been about us being proactive.

The tamarisk tree is also a survivor. It adapts to be able to thrive in the harshest conditions. Throughout history, it’s been in the harshest conditions that the Gospel has spread the most. With the social pressures and unfriendly conditions towards Christianity that we face today, you can expect that the Gospel is about to spread rapidly once again. We must be adaptable in the face of such pressure instead of allowing it to shut us down. As history begins to repeat itself, we need to be prepared for another Great Awakening. Our faith must become stronger than ever.

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The Land Of Promise

My three year old son surprised me the other day. We were sitting down talking and he wanted to get my attention so used both hands to grab my face to look at him. He said, “Joshua 1:9, Dada.” It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about, but then I remembered it was his memory verse a few weeks back. I thought for a second how they had taught him, then I recited it to him, “Do not be afraid. God is with you.” He smiled and said, “Yeah. God is with you. Joshua 1:9.”

What a great promise to us to hold on to. The full verse says, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This was God speaking to Joshua before he entered a land of giants and walled cities that he was to conquer. It was 40 years earlier that he had been there as a spy and was outvoted 10-2 because the people were afraid of what they saw. I’m sure the ones who were scared told their kids what the Promised Land had in it. They might have been afraid of what their future held.

Like them, you may be looking at your future and are starting to feel scared. There are uncertainties, giants even huge walls up around the things you feel like God has called you to. When you look at those things, you may be wondering, “How can I accomplish that?” The path to it may be unclear. There may be huge obstacles in your way. But if God has called you to do it, there are no walls high enough that He can’t push down. There are no walls thick enough that He can’t break. There is no enemy strong enough to keep you away from all He has promised. He just needs you to step out in faith.

That’s the hard part. The scary part. When that fear arises that wants to keep you from doing what God called you to, go back to Joshua 1:9. God commanded us to be strong and courageous. He didn’t merely suggest it. He told us not to be afraid or discouraged by the obstacles in our way because He is with us. He doesn’t expect us to do these things in our own strength or abilities. He will do the work as long as we are willing to cross the Jordan and enter the Land of Promise. Our step of faith pushes back fear and activates God’s strength. Don’t hold back because of fear. Go and conquer all that God has for you.

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Mediocrity Is A Choice

When I used to work with new hires at my company, I would have to give out a celebration of knowledge (test) at the end of each week. All it took was 80% to pass and they could take it as many times as they wanted. Once they passed, they’d raise their hand and I would go record their score. I used to love walking up to a person with an 80% and ask, “Is that enough for you? Is barely getting by how you live your life?” Some would accept the challenge and go for 100%, but many others said, “I passed. What else do you want from me?”

I see the same thing among many Christians. They know there are deeper levels of commitment and the ability to be more like Christ every day, but they choose not to. They are content with where they are. It frustrates some believers who are always pushing for that next level, and it can also be cause for others to live mediocre lives. They say, “Im doing enough to get to Heaven, why try harder?” They don’t see how doing more can deepen their roots because they don’t see the value in it.

Going beyond a basic commitment to Christ requires a lot more faith, time and effort. Many Christians are content to wander the desert like the Israelites. They’re no longer living in bondage, but not quite living in the Promised Land that God desires for them to live in. They spend years going in circles receiving food from God, but never really go anywhere. They’re content to wander because they know there’s hard work on the other side of Jordan.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m not saying you earn your salvation through works. I am saying that there is a life untapped by many Christians where living an overcoming life is the normal. So many of us look at that land like 10 of the spies did and think, “There are giants over there. I’ll get squashed if I try to go fight them.” Meanwhile God is wanting to make Himself more evident in our lives and is calling us to go fight those giants in His power.

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Joshua and Caleb thought they could. The other 10 thought they couldn’t. Both were right. In their own strength, they couldn’t defeat the giants in that land or tear down the walls of cities. Joshua and Caleb didn’t look at it as their strength. They looked at what God was capable of and knew they could be victorious. Ultimately, they were the only two who were allowed to go into that land and to posses it. They were right. God’s strength was enough to win the battles.

Where do you find yourself in these two scenarios? Is it enough to wander through the desert of this life and to make it to Heaven? Do you want something more? Do you want to be an overcomer in this life and take your walk with God to another level? The choice belongs to each of us. Both require a commitment, one is just deeper and more involved. I believe God’s desire is that all of us find the Promised Land in our lives and He wants to move us from wandering to living on purpose.

What are things you’ve done to move away from mediocrity and into an overcoming life?

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The Paradox of Christianity

One of the great paradoxes of Christianity is that we’re to learn to be satisfied with what we have, but not with where we are. Our human nature wants that to be backwards. We like to have the comfort of routine, but are never satisfied with what we have. I’m in that awkward state of making the switch from my human nature to what God wants. I’m learning to be satisfied with what I have, but not where I am. There’s this uncomfortableness inside that says, “There’s another level to go to.”

I think that’s where Abraham’s journey started. God told him, “Get up and go to a land that I will show you.” I’m sure he loved the comfort of where he was. He had everything he needed. He knew the land and the people. But that’s not what God had for him. He asked him to move away from those things that held him down. He challenged him to pick up his roots and to move.

It had to be confusing too. Where was he going? What land was he going to be shown? How long would it take to get there? Would he ever be coming back? When God makes you uncomfortable with where you are, He doesn’t always answer those questions. He expects you to trust Him and His plan. If we knew the details, we’d probably try to alter the plan. I know I would.

So where does that faith come from that allows you to just pick everything up and move? How do you spiritually pack up and move to a deeper walk with Him that requires more than you think you have to give? I don’t know how to get there, but I do know that it starts with just one step. One act of obedience. One decision to make a change. It’s not the easiest thing to do. I think that’s why so many Christians wander in the wilderness and rarely make it to the promised land that God has for them.

Our fears and doubts keep us from experiencing all that God has. Our logic wants to see the whole path. Our faith doesn’t need to see it. We get to choose which of the two we listen to. When spying on the Promised Land, Caleb and Joshua chose to believe their faith. The other spies chose to believe their logic. Because of their choice, an entire generation was kept out of where God wanted them.

So what’s my choice? What’s your choice? Do we continue to go with logic that says we should stay where it’s comfortable and where we feel secure? Or do we go with faith that tells us there is more and is making us uncomfortable in this place? That’s the beauty of who God is, He gives us that choice. He allows us to decide whether we pack our things and walk by faith or stay in the wilderness and camp where it’s comfortable.

As for me, I’m going to pack my bags, pull up my tent stakes and start walking. I don’t know where the path is heading. I just know that I can’t stay here in this place. I’m being drawn into a deeper commitment, a deeper relationship and a deeper walk with God. He is making me too uncomfortable with where I am. He is pushing me out of this place that I’m in. I don’t know where He is leaving yet, but I choose to go with my faith instead of my sight.

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