“I’ve got a question for you, my friend,” Stan said one morning as we waited for Ricky to bring breakfast.”
“Have you ever looked at what God told the Israelites when they were getting ready to go into the Promised Land?”
“A little,” I replied. “Why?”
“I was looking at that again the other day,” Stan said, “and I saw a clear parallel to my personal promised land.”
“Your personal promised land? In what way?”
“A quick summary, and maybe you’ll see,” Stan replied. “God freed the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt so they could enter the Promised Land. But, due to some things we can talk about later, they spent forty years wandering in the wilderness. Then, when it was time for them to make a move, God told them the same thing He tells me constantly.”
“What same thing?”
“Keep His commands and experience victory,” Stan replied, “or disobey and experience defeat.”
“Victory verses defeat,” I commented. “That sounds like a pretty simple choice.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” Stan said. “But I can say, based on way too much personal experience, that it’s not so simple.”
Continuing, he added, “When I entered my personal ‘promised land’ by accepting the finished work of Jesus’ cross and gaining the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence, I was told that I am to obey as I work out the salvation that was worked in by the cross.”
“Who told you that?” I asked.
“God,” was Stan’s one-word answer. “Through His Word in the Bible and through the voice of the Holy Spirit, I’m constantly told and reminded that living and experiencing the victorious Christian life involves obedience. If I obey, I will experience victory; if I don’t, I won’t.”
“What kind of victory?” I asked. “Victory in whatever you want?”
“Only if what I want is the same thing God wants,” Stan replied. “If I want to have victory in something that’s not on God’s list, any so-called ‘victory’ I may experience is going to be very fleeting.”
“You mean like it won’t last?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “It seems to me that the only victory that really lasts is the one Jesus accomplished on the cross. When I accepted what He accomplished, it was like I entered into a ‘promised-land relationship’ with God the Father through God the Son with the help of God the Holy Spirit. That eternal relationship begins on this side of eternity and will continue on in eternity when my time here is completed.”
Bible verses to consider:
The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you will keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and walk in His ways. Deuteronomy 28:9.
But it shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Deuteronomy 28:15.
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15.
And why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you through the finished work of Jesus’ cross. Thank you that life eternally with you began the moment I entered the “promised land” on this side of eternity, and that it will continue forever. I confess that too often I do not walk as closely with you as you want and intend for me while you keep me here. I do that because that is what I choose. Please forgive the foolishness of not walking with you as closely as possible. Help me follow your lead into the deepest possible relationship in this promised land until I journey to the eternal one. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of His “promised land” so you know you will spent eternity in His presence? If no, why would you not want that? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing on this side of eternity? Are you walking in obedience? Are you experiencing the victory God has for you? If you sense the need for change in any of this, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?