Possessing What Is Ours
This morning I read a few verses in the book of Joshua that have an important message for us.
Israel stopped short of possessing the land. God had delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt and brought them into the promised land. Under the leadership of Joshua, they had defeated all the kings and nations that lived there. However, only a few of the tribes of Israel went ahead and possessed the land God had given to them. The rest of them just lived within a small part of their new land and put off taking full possession of what God had already given them.
Why? Perhaps they were tired of waging war and wanted to take a break, relax and enjoy their lives. Maybe the piece of land and the homes they now occupied were big enough for their present needs, and it seemed troublesome and unnecessary to go after more. They might have thought, “Why should we be in such a hurry to occupy it all? Let the next generation finish the job in 10, 20 or 30 years.”
They didn’t consider the consequences of not possessing their whole land; otherwise, they would have seen the wisdom of doing it immediately. Right after the conquest of Canaan, Israel was in the best position to occupy the entire land because the majority of their enemies were dead or had fled. The few common people who still lived in some settlements would surely have run away or could have been easily wiped out as soon as the Israelites took over their areas. And strongholds still controlled by enemy resistance fighters would have stood no chance because they were cut off from any outside help.
However, if Israel failed to possess and occupy their entire land, the situation would look very different in 10 to 30 years: Their borders would not be secure, and any outside nation could invade their land. The enemies that fled before Israel would have time to regroup, elect new leaders, make alliances with other nations, raise up new armies and come against Israel to take back their land. The resistance fighters in the strongholds would establish outside connections and support and be a constant threat by waging guerilla warfare. The common people who were not driven out would multiply and become a snare to Israel with their idol worship and pagan lifestyles. Without being inhabited, the conquered cities would deteriorate and the fruitful land without being cultivated would turn into a wilderness.
God urged them to finish possessing their land because He could see the trouble they were going to have in the future. He spoke to Joshua, and Joshua in turn called the tribes of Israel and said to them, “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Joshua 18:3).
They listened to Joshua and went ahead and started to possess their land.
Israel’s story is given to us for our instruction because what they encountered in the physical realm, we encounter in the spiritual one. Jesus brought us out of the kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom of light. He has given us, His children, an incredible inheritance. Along with being conformed into the image of Christ, we have become heirs of everything God promises in His Word. Here are just a few examples of what is ours:
Freedom from any bondage
Victory over sin
Authority over the devil
Power to be a witness
The ability to live a holy life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Faith that overcomes the world
His strength to be able to do all things
Divine love and forgiveness for one another and for our enemies
Christ’s humility to be a servant of all
The mind of Christ to become obedient until death
The authority to pray in Jesus’ name and receive answers
Spiritual gifts to serve
The authority to heal the sick, cast out demons and speak on behalf of Christ
We often stop short of possessing what is ours. We are happy and satisfied with our salvation and the knowledge that we can go to heaven when we die. So we sit back and simply enjoy God’s blessings instead of growing up in Christ and becoming fully equipped to serve Him as it is the will of God for our lives (see Ephesians 4:11–15).
We don’t consider the consequences for our personal life and the kingdom of God. This is what happens if we neglect to possess what God purposed for us to have:
We will be weak Christians who have little or no power to overcome anything.
We will be immature in our behavior and unable to take responsibility.
Our marriage and family life will not have the testimony it should have.
Our children will not learn from us what it means to serve God fully and walk in faith, holiness and obedience to God.
We will selfishly pursue blessings and have little concern or burden for the lost world.
We will be a hindrance to others and a burden to the Body of Christ.
We will delay God’s plan and blessings for our lives.
We will deprive the church of our service.
We will rob God of the glory He is supposed to receive from our lives.
God urges us to finish possessing what He has freely given us through Jesus. My dear sister, what is it that you fail to possess from your inheritance as a believer? Look at the first list of things God promises are ours. How much longer will you put off overcoming a sin, forgiving someone who hurt you or walking in faith?
How, then, should we go about possessing our inheritance? This is how the Apostle Paul did it, and he finished well: “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12). This scripture tells us that we must never be satisfied with less than what God intended for us to have. And we must desire and go after it until we lay hold of it.
May the Lord bless you and keep you in His grace.
Your sister in Christ,
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