Sunday, October 2, 2011

Joshua: a parable of our lives in Christ

 " 1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying: 2 "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. 3 "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses." Joshua 1:1-3

Moses had just died.  Joshua was now in charge of all Israel and God gave Joshua His first command: Go over the Jordan to the land He was giving to them, to all the children of Israel. God had given the land, and every where they would place their foot was already theirs.  Yet there were enemies in the land. Kings and kingdoms who still thought they reigned in the promised land and who now the children of Israel had to face. God told Joshua He would give their enemies into their hand, but they had to face the enemies and obey the voice of their God.  He would deliver the enemies into their hands, but they had to face the enemies, feel their breath, and kill them.

Our lives in Christ seem to be very much like the book of Joshua.  When we come to Christ, we are immersed or baptized into Christ. Like Joshua leading the people through the Jordan river, which, when the priests entered into the water, the water was pushed back all the way a city called Adam.  It seems to be a picture of God pushing our sins all the way back to the garden of Eden, reuniting us with Himself once again.

We die in His death, the power of sin is defeated, and we are birthed new.  He circumcises our new heart away from the body of the sins of the flesh, just as Joshua had to circumcise all the Israelites on the hill of foreskins. Yet He keeps us in a body designed for the planet in which independence still seeks to reign.  God tells us the truth that the flesh is crucified.  Sin is no longer our master.  He commands us to not let it reign, even though it lusts against us. 

God circumcised us without hands, cutting us away from sin, casting it away forever, and sealed us with His Spirit. Now He will deliver us to Himself, making us completely whole, body, soul and spirit.  He commands us to now walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith, we will win all the battles ahead in Christ and we will reign with Him as He delivers all enemies into our hands. He is giving us the land, and bringing heaven to reign on earth. In Joshua's day, God's people defeated the kings and kingdoms one by one because God was with them and He delivered their enemies into the hands of His children as they walked by faith in Him, doing what He commanded. God didn't have them conquer all the enemies at once. He lead them from place to place, teaching them and instructing them in the way they should go and giving them wisdom to know how to win the battles they faced.  The battles would be won by faith, not by the wisdom of man.

As I was reading through Joshua, it occurred to me that the kings and kingdoms that still reigned in the promised land were like strongholds in the flesh of God's children today.  The kings and kingdoms seem to be a picture of lies embedded in the subconscious part of our brains, where we have grown accustomed to these lies, believing they were true. They reigned over us, and now they no longer reign in Christ. Christ reigns in and through us, yet these strongholds are beneath our conscious awareness. They must be exposed to light. We formed our identity and our lives around them. As we walk with Christ, God begins to take us up to the walls surrounding a lie and reveal the lie to us for what it really is as we meditate on His truth.  God takes us through experiences specifically designed to teach us truth that will free us from strongholds.

We do not have to seek these strongholds out, just walk with our God, loving Him and trusting Him as He leads us into the full expression of the freedom and power He has given us in His Son.

Strongholds keep us from fully experiencing our freedom in Christ.  God has given us total freedom and we reign in life through Him.  All He has is ours.  Yet, there are obstacles along the way. Unbelief that has held us back. Views of ourselves.  Views of others. Views of circumstances.  Pain attached to various events in our lives.  God moves us into position to free us from these things so we will truly live.  He commands us to face the enemy (the lie), embrace it (hold it close and look at it for what it is), and watch the deliverance of the Lord on our behalf (believing the truth of His word).  The battle belongs to Him, yet He lets us feel the breath of the enemy, and the intensity of battle, knowing our God is with us and He will deliver us.  The instrument God uses is the truth of His Word.

The Word of God is a sword.  The shield is our faith, as we believe God, resting our full confidence in Him.  The breastplate we have is the righteousness we have been given by God as a gift.  We have this breastplate on. Nothing can penetrate it. It is never removed. It is a gift of God through faith in Him the moment we are saved.  The helmet we have on is the salvation of our souls.  We are saved.  So let's not question or doubt.  If we doubt we will be tossed and drive by the wind, unstable in all our ways.  So we push aside doubt and we hold up the shield of faith, believing that God is sufficient for all our need. His truth is our belt protecting our core.  His truth sets us free. So we abide in His word, learning from Him as we walk this walk of faith.  We trust Him that, as His word says, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.  We have all the armour of God on, right now, as His chosen people, His royal priesthood.  

Christ is this armour.  He is all we need. He is the Word. He is righteousness. He is Truth. He is our life. We exist in Him. In Him, we move, live and have our beings. We reign in Him. He has given us the land. He has given us Himself and we exist in Him. Our faith in Him is our shield.

Nothing can touch us without His permission.  He leads us into battles, personal battles, not to harm us but to expose an enemy who is hiding beyond our awareness, so He can free us from the illusion of the enemy's power over us; the illusion that a lie is true, a lie we may have believed a very long time.  He has called us and He will do it. He will complete what He started in our lives, in our new and righteous spirit.  We have a great and glorious God, who is always with us.  We, like Joshua, are strong and courageous with no need to fear.  His perfect love casts out fear.

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