Most believers at some point in their walk, long to experience more of God than they have now.
(Check out the testimony of Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission who recounted his search in a letter to his sister) The Exchanged Life H Taylors Testimony
The bible promises an overflow of God’s blessing, when sometimes I struggle to simply cope.
Jesus said “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness”, but frequently, I feel as though I am running on empty!
The ideal is clear, but there are too many obstacles to prevent me entering in to God’s ideal.
In the Old Testament, God’s people faced a similar dilemma.
God had PROMISED them a land of abundance, overflowing with ‘milk and honey’ but their present experience was that of barren desert-dwelling. God promised them Byron Bay, but they were living in the equivalent of the Simpson Desert!
This was an exercise in frustration because they were promised so much but were experiencing so little.
God never intended that they remain in the desert. His plan was not only to bring them OUT of the slavery of Egypt, but also to bring them IN to the Promised Land.
The reason they were stuck in the desert wasn’t Gods fault; it was because they were too afraid of the giants and didn’t trust God to take care of them and give them their hearts desire.
They we psyched out by the giants!
It took God 40 years of demonstrating His faithfulness and love to create faith in His people so that under the leadership of Joshua, they were able to enter into Gods fullness.
The giants were the obstacles keeping them from God’s fullness until they learned that by trusting God, could these obstacles be removed.
The application to our situation as believers today would seem obvious.
The bible says we have been given EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING in the heavenly places.. (Ephesians 1:3) Whether we feel like it or not!
Before individuals Christians as well as local churches can enter in to the fullness that God has promised, some obstacles need to be removed. Here are some of the giants / obstacles that keep us ofrom Gods promised fullness; together with the provision God has made.
1) The Giant of ‘Not good enough”!
‘God is a good God but He cant bless me ‘cos I’m unworthy’. That is totally true but we have a Saviour who is all-sufficient. Just as the Children of Israel had Joshua to lead them IN to the Land of Promise, so Yeshua /Joshua / Jesus will lead us into His fullness.
2) The Giant of Fear and Anxiety
I just counted seven times in the Book of Joshua where God tells ‘em to have courage or be courageous. Why would God keep saying this? The answer is that this is what kept ‘em out for forty long years!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
3) The Giant of Passivity.
Passivity is the opposite of activity. Passivity is spiritual inertia. Passivity is when we fold our arms and do nothing.
There is a time to act – to trust God and move forward.
Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel. – Joshua 1:2
Passivity either doesn’t expect God to do anything, OR thinks that because God is sovereign, He will act without our faith / cooperation.
We need to understand that fullness and victory in the Christian life is dependent upon our responding to God’s calling. This is not man-centred Arminianism but it does require us to respond in faith.
* We have been given spiritual armour but we need to apply or ‘take’ the armour that we have been given.
* We have been promised God’s Provision – ie our Daily Bread, but we are to come to the Lord each day in prayer to receive from Him. “Give us this day our daily bread!”
* We have the privilege to “abide” ie to live each day in relationship with God but we need to actively choose to abide or remain in fellowship with Him
* We have been given the Holy Spirit to empower and bring life and vitality but we need to appropriate by faith what God has given. This is what it means to be filled with the Spirit.
I love the balance taught by the late Principal GH Morling.
“I want to say something on the positive side and to say it carefully. I do think increasingly that an act of receiving, of definite receiving, plays an important part in living the Spirit-filled life.
Here again let us observe scriptural proportion. How often we have insisted upon it in these studies.
On the one hand be entirely clear that every believer has the Holy Spirit else he is none of Christ’s. (Romans 8:9).
On the other hand it is one of the Divine Paradoxes that we must receive for ourselves, as a conscious personal possession, the One Whom we already have, thus possessing our possession (Obadiah 17).”
4) The Giant of Unbelief
Unbelief is the opposite of faith. Unbelief acknowledges that God is real but thinks He can’t or won’t work in power in my life or in my church. This doubting of God’s goodness prevents me from entering His fullness and leaves me to subsist in the desert.
God anticipated the giants and made full provision for each and every believer.
Our failure shows us how much we truly need the Lord!
The apostle Peter denied Jesus, and when the rooster crowed and his failure was obvious, went out and wept bitterly. Jesus though, predicted Peter’s failure and made adequate provision for him.
This all happened only days before Pentecost.
Peter entered into Gods fullness despite his inadequacy and failure, and that is what has happened throughout the centuries in times of revival
Now that’s good news!