Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?…” Joshua 18:3
What has God already given us that we stop short of possessing because we’re too timid or too lazy to go and take hold of it? For me, that would be self-composure. Struggle after struggle has seemed to teach me that overcoming my tendency to overreact to stress is an exercise in futility. I actually find myself believing that I will “never get any better at this.” But is that true? If that were true, than the Spirit of God does not actually live within me, and I am not actually saved. Yet the Bible says,
“For all the promises of God in Him [Christ] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).
“For in Him [Jesus] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9).
There are so many other verses I could quote… In Jesus, the answer to my problem is not No, but Yes! In Jesus, I lack nothing; in Him, I am complete! To despair is to ignore the facts.
What I know with my brain, I have trouble realizing with my heart: Jesus is my Yes for whatever problem I am facing; in Jesus, I have the ability to go in and possess everything that God has for me. Whatever I lack–self-control, patience, wisdom, etc.–God can supply. Let me not neglect to possess what is mine out of fear that it can’t be done. It can.
But the children of Joseph said, “The mountain country is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both those who are of Beth Shean and its towns and those who are of the Valley of Jezreel.”
And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph–to Ephraim and Manasseh–saying, “You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.”
Notice, that even though the tribe of Joseph was worried that the Canaanites would be too strong for them, Joshua told them, you SHALL drive them out, no matter that their chariots are made of iron and they are strong. You SHALL do it (not I HOPE you will)! The tribe of Joseph needed to believe in their God-given ability–as a tribe God had made great and powerful–to do what God had said He would help them to do. God give me that same confidence in His power to accomplish in my life what needs to happen!
…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ… Philippians 1:6
For us, too, it isn’t we HOPE, it is God WILL!
You know, Christians are normal people. We have flaws and faults, too. Life can be messy, and life can be ugly. There is no escape from the flesh. What there is, is the power–through Christ–to overcome it. We fail, and we cry–and then we get back up, always keeping our eyes fastened on Him. We stumble, and we mess up, and then we reach out our hand to grasp His. There is no such thing as perfection in this life–no “arriving.” There is simply a series of small victories (after plenty of temporary “defeats”) that gradually accumulate until the day of true arriving: our glorification. Justification makes a relationship with God possible, through Jesus’ death in our place and subsequent resurrection from the dead. Glorification puts the cherry on top of the cake; that will happen when we “get to heaven.” Sanctification transforms hopeless sinners into saints of strength and Christ-like character; and that is just the place we now find ourselves.
We do not possess heaven yet–as a dwelling place; but we have been given heaven’s power here on earth through the Spirit of God in us. And it is that power which sits at our very fingertips to help us “go and possess” everything God has given us.