As the Israelites under the leadership of Moses left the bondage of Egypt and spent time in the desert before entering into the Promised Land, so too must Christians. When the Israelites were in the desert, the Lord looked after them, but it was a time of testing and change for them. The direct route through the desert to the Promised Land was around only 11 days, yet it took them 40 years. The reason for this extended time was God’s need to change them and mould them, from whiners and complainers, to overcomers. God wanted to place a new spirit in them which was for Him and was Kingdom centred, rather than their original spirit of worldly self centeredness.
Only two of the men who left Egypt are recorded as entering the Promised Land, Caleb and Joshua. Of Caleb, we read in Numbers 14:55-24,
“Because all those men who have seen My glory and My miracles which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not listened to My voice, surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it.
But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and has followed Me fully, I will bring him into the land into which he went. And his seed shall possess it.” (emphasis added)
Caleb, as God says, “had another spirit with him.” What does this mean?
The Hebrew for ‘spirit‘ here is rûach [רוּח ] which mean breath, and infers the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit. ‘Another‘ here is ‘achêr [אחר ] means different, following, or other. Thus ‘another spirit’ means that Caleb had a spirit which allowed him to follow the spirit of God without doubt and without procrastination. Caleb offered no hindrance to the works of God which the Holy spirit wished to perform through him, for as God says, Caleb followed Him “fully”.
When we accept Jesus and “come to Christ,” we step out from the land of Satan and sin as the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. As Jesus told His disciples and followers in John 14:26“the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”
When we “come to belief”, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, as First Corinthians 6:19 says, “You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit that you received from God and that lives in you. You don’t own yourselves.”
Many Christians accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour and their journey, like that of most of the Israelites, stops there in the desert. The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God reads our hearts as well as our actions. Our intent is important to Him. We are saved by Faith, but as James 2:22 clearly demonstrates, good works for Christ will follow as a result: “Do you see how faith worked with his works, and from the works faith was made complete?”
Without doubt, it is God’s will that not just all Christians enter the Promised Land, but that all mankind enters the Promised Land. God does not want anyone living in sin in the land of Satan, nor does He want any Christians living aimlessly in the desert. The desert time for Christians is to be a time of change for us.
God has not determined that Christians should go around the desert and avoid it. It is the experience of the desert which transforms us from a fleshy worldly view to a heavenly Kingdom view and makes us overcomers for God and therefore fit for his Kingdom and fit for use by Him for his purposes. The desert experience is for all Christians, as God has determined it necessary to transform us with the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). By going through the desert, our mindsets will be changed.
This was the purpose for which Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, Comforter, the Paraclete, the one who comes alongside to help. And we certainly need help.
In Acts 2, men heard the Gospel of Christ preached “and hearing this, they were stabbed in the heart, and said to Peter and to the other apostles, Men, brothers, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ to remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38) As the Life Application Study Bible of these lines:
“If you want to follow Christ, you must “repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” To repent means to turn from sin, to change the direction of your life from selfishness and rebellion against God’s laws. At the same time, you must turn to Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, mercy, guidance, and purpose. We cannot save ourselves — only God can save us.”
Repenting, may be one of the most taught themes of deeper Bible study, but one of the least practiced. For a Christian, a lack of repenting comes with a heavy price tag. Repenting, as we saw above means intentionally turning away from sin and changing the direction of one’s life from selfishness and rebellion against God’s laws. Initial belief and repenting may get us out from Satan’s Egypt into the desert, but to get from the desert and into the Promised Land and experience God’s supernatural power working inside us, we must keep repenting of our sins until we no longer sin in these areas and the enemy gives up on is, knowing that future temptation is futile and worthless and a waste of time.
Many ‘Christians’ mistakenly believe once they say the ‘Sinner’s Prayer’, all is done; they are saved, they have a place in heaven and can go back to leading an immoral and ungodly life with impunity. That is not the case. As First Peter 5:8 warns Christians: “Be sensible and vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour …”
As with any prey which a hunter catches, the first thing which needs to be done is to gut it, or clean it. This is what happens to the Christians in the desert, providing they are willing to let the Lord perform His cleansing on them, taking out the filth of their worldly life. Unfortunately, Christians, and especially Church leaders appear to have shied away from the area of cleansing and deliverance of Christians.
Be clear, Satan has no legal rights over mankind unless we given them to him; and we give Satan legal rights over us when we commit sin against God or when we curse ourselves or others.
What are these sins which are within us and which come in the way of achieving the Promised Land and our fullness in Christ, but which Christians rarely repent of? The first and foremost is laid out for us in The Lord’s Prayer of Matthew 6:12 “and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors” (MKJV) or “Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us” (ERV). (emphasis added)
In other words, if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us! If God will not forgive us, how can we possibly come to fullness in Him in this life?
If we have the roots of unforgiveness in us, we will bear the fruit of unforgiveness. As Matthew 7:17 warns us “… every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.” Unforgiveness is corruption of God’s intent for us.
Galatians 5:19-20 lists for us some of the issues of our unrepentant flesh, saying: “Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Without doubt, these are not the characteristics of a Christian or a Godly life.
Finally, let us look at the death producing fruit from ungodly, unrepented and undelivered Christian worldly roots:
|Abuse– Sexual, Physical & Emotional|
Lust – Love of the world
|Abortion, Exhibitionism, Conquest, Sexual Pride, Flirting, Adultery, Fantasy, Voyeurism, Pornography, Masturbation, Guilt, Shame, Condemnation, self-hatred, Criticism, Homosexuality, Perversion, Fornication.|
|Uncorrectable, Defiance, Unteachable, Lying, Deception, Rebellion, Mental Illness, Mind Control, Anti-Christ, Idolatry, Judgmentalism, Criticism, Double-Mindedness, Witchcraft, False Religion, Division.|
Death and Destruction
|Anger, Rage, Violence, Murder, Poverty, Stealing, Eating Disorders, Physical Infirmity, Self Mutilation, suicide, Self Hatred, Isolation, Death to Relationships, Jealousy, Addiction, Substance Abuse, Fear, Insecurity, Nightmares.|
First we take a step of Faith out of sin’s bondage and into Salvation. Next we deliver ourselves of all the ungodly agreements we or our forefathers have made with Satan and replace our ungodly roots with Godly roots. Then, we can experience God’s supernatural power working inside us, granting and giving us, as Ephesians 3:20 says: “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think …”