Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's Time to Take the Land

Joshua 18:3 So Joshua said to the people of Israel, 
"How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, 
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?"

Have you ever been rock wall climbing before?  If the climbing itself wasn't treacherous and terrifying enough, it's by far the easiest part.  You don't have to look down while you climb up.  You don't have to see how far you might fall.  You just have to reach up towards the next hand hold.  Look up, ignore the thoughts of plummeting to the ground below.  Simply grab the next hold.  And the next.

But then, you've reached as far as you can go.  Your arms are burning, you're tired, it's time to go down.  How do you go down?  No problem, just let go of the wall. 
I remember the first time I did this and my unwillingness to remove my tight grasp on the holds.  The person below who was belaying for me kept saying, just let go!  "Let go of the wall and lean back!"  I'm sorry, what? 

"No, I've got you!  I've got you."  the belayer said.
"No you don't.  I've got me.  Don't you see I'm holding myself up against the wall?" I snarled back.

After a series of arguments on my side, the belayer somehow convinced me that it was in my best interest to let go of the wall.  It wasn't a graceful let go, mind you, it looked a lot like a cat climbing a wall. Scratching fingers, slamming limbs, frantic expletives. But then, you know what happened?  I got down safetly.

I let go and leaned back and with a gasp of fear mixed with exhilaration I felt that as I let go, he indeed had me.  

That is what faith feels like.

It goes against everything we feel in our flesh.  It feels unnatural.  It feels foreign.  It is simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating.   I don't believe faith is the absence of fear.  

I am enthralled by the story of Joshua lately.  I have struggled with an addiction to sleeping medication for over 7 years.  It's a long story, a long journey, and a whole book could (and possibly might) be written about that. I have spied the enemy running around my promised land, I have seen the enemy and have shrunk back in trepidation.  I've cried with the Israelites "the enemy is too great."  I've thought I had faith to conquer this  but I haven't fully let go and let God provide victory for me.

But I believe, there is freedom waiting for me, and it's time I took hold of it.

My natural feeling is to run away because of the fear rising inside of me.  Egypt, I want you!  Wasn't it so good being a slave?  This time feels different though.  I want that promised land.  I can almost taste the honey on my lips, I've seen a vision of what's ahead, and I want it so bad.  Of course, it's always easy to say this when I'm fresh from a full nights sleep and it's daytime and all is good.  But when my flesh fails, when the enemy is fighting back and all beside me are being slayed,  will I continue marching forward?

Knowing that you can't do it alone, believing in something you cannot really see, that is belaying kind of faith.  That is 'take the land' kind of faith. Believing that your enemy will not overcome you, and that God will hold you up as you let go of your control.

What awaits you in your promised land?   Maybe you've wandered the desert for 40 years, dusty feet heavy with the weight of addiction, or bitterness, or unforgiveness, or overeating or something that enslaves you.

But it's time to take the land God is giving to you.  It's time to be free.  It's time to face that fear square in the face and believe God will fight your battles for you.

Let's go, you and I.  
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