Everyday we are challenged in our faith. We are told to forget the promise of eternity and simply indulge in life now. Things that were taboo when I was younger and are given now. Society has pushed the line so far its just sick. We’ve grown to accept the pain and suffering and disgusting lifestyle as being normal, and have started to receive “pleasure” from it. One of the biggest things I’ve heard that held people from committing to Chirst is they didn’t want to let go of the life they were leading. They know they’ve got something greater in store, but they’ve learned to love what they had. It’s a sad thought. But I see myself doing that in the battles along the way. Instead of fighting for ultimate gratification, I desire not to fight and live with the temporary satisfaction.
God led the Israelites out of Egypt and told them he was going to take them to a land “flowing with milk and honey.” Such a beautiful picture for these people who were oppressed in Egypt. Leaving the pain and torture and going to a life of freedom. Sure, there were some perks in Egypt, if you can call it that. They were at least being fed there. And that always gave them something to look back to. They desired the end result right away. God made them walk, and they did not like that idea. They were hungry, and they complained. They were tired, and they complained. Whenever they didn’t get what they wanted, they complained. And God Provided. And then they were thankful for a few minutes, before complaining some more.
Then God called together 12 of the leaders of Israel, one from each of the tribes. He told them to go check out the land that He promised them, and see if it’s any good. They scanned the land for 40 days, and came back home. The place was amazing…everything they could have ever wanted. Amazing growth of plants and fruit, a beautiful place to live. But there is one problem…in order to get into that place, they are going to have to fight a rather large army. And that struck fear in them. They are such a small people, there is no way they would be able to overcome and claim that land as their own. It just doesn’t work out. But then you get these two “naive” guys, Caleb and Joshua, who went into the land to explore it with the others. They saw everything the other leaders saw. The saw the land flowing with milk and honey, and they saw the people they would have to overcome. And they said “Let’s do it.” Too bad they nobody else believed them, and lies spread that the land could not be overcome and such. And when you report such bad news to a bunch of complaining people, you’re really only going to get more complaining.
The people cried out against Moses and Aaron and God. Again, they looked back at Egypt as if they were living in luxury, claiming that it was better than what God is providing. But Caleb and Joshua cried out to everyone, “These people can be overcome because we have God on our side. The Lord isn’t with them, but with us. WE have the power.” Ummm…yeah. That didn’t really convince the Israelites too much. It just led to more complaints against God. So what did God do? He basically denied them entrance into the land. These people complained and argued and longed to live elsewhere, so God let them have what they wanted. For the 40 days that the leaders explored the land, God made them all wander around in the desert for 40 years…and the leaders who did get a glimpse of Canaan but refused to go in died in the desert. Everyone except Joshua and Caleb. The two who trusted, the two with faith. The two who desired to follow whole-heartedly to the plan that God had.
Joshua and Caleb saw the world through the same eyes that the other leaders did. They saw the goodness that God was leading them to, and they saw the obstacles they had to overcome. The only difference was they were willing to except the fact that although they don’t understand, God does. They saw the glimpses of God’s grace and provision, and trusted that it wasn’t all He had to offer. They feared the Lord more than they feared man, and were blessed because of it.
Many times the numbers seem against us. Many times the journey into perfection seems so hard that living in imperfection seems bearable. Because we can’t grasp how (1 + Jesus) is strong enough to overcome any power, we simply turn away. We’ve been given glimpses of eternity. God’s described it to us, and promised it to us. He said, “Here it is. Follow me and I’ll lead you through it all.” We’ve seen moments of His power helping us overcome smaller battles, but for some reason we still don’t believe He’s strong enough to overcome the big ones. It’s because as the struggles get bigger, our eyes start to focus on ourselves and not on God…and obviously it’s impossible then.
Every generation is getting worse and worse. The issues I dealt with in college are challenging the kids in high school. The culture is becoming more accepting of sinful lifestyles, and are promoting it as fun and exciting. As more and more youngn’s are coming in that I know, it’s starting to really tear at my heart. What kind of stuff are Alexis, Jaden, Isabelle, Elijah, Josiah, Nathan and all the others going to be hit with? What kind of world are we bringing them into? I pray that they will be able to go out and trust in God’s provision. I pray that they will be brought up seeing glimpses of God’s grace and mercy, and understand its only the beginning. I pray that they will influence the culture instead of being influenced by it.
I want my kids to be the “Joshua and Caleb” of their generation. Shoot…I want to be the “Joshua and Caleb” of my generation.
God promised us this eternal life with Him in heaven if we simply confess and believe (…and we follow His commands through the overflow of thankfulness). He painted such an amazing picture of that life. It’s simply a dream come true. No worries, no pain, no struggles, no fear, no anger, no hatred, no jealousy, no racism, no lies, no stereotypes. Just pure joy. What’s the catch?
I mean, seriously. Can there really be a life like that? I mean, wouldn’t you be at least a little
jealous of the person who is one step closer to the throne of God than you are? Isn’t it only natural that there would be “heavenly cliques” forming because of just so many people. Won’t there be some sadness in knowing that some of our friends/family aren’t in heaven with us?
According to God, no. We might not understand it, but God said its possible. And we won’t be able to comprehend it because that goes completely against how our minds work. We are sinful beings with selfish desires, and therefore we have evil/selfish motives that cause anger, jealousy, etc. But in heaven,
we’re redeemed and renewed, the old self is gone and we are completely washed clean of our sinful nature.
It’s so hard to follow though, when we have the picture of such greatness, and we are forced to walk the road of such meekness. The end result seems great, but the route to get there seems a
bit overwhelming. We see glimpses of grace and God’s power along the way, but is it truly enough? Is Christ’s death truly enough for us to get into heaven and live in “perfection”?
Plain and simple – YES.