I feel like the season I am in my life right now mirrors the Israelites as they make their way to the Jordan Crossing and look to set their feet on the solid ground of God’s awaiting promise.
I want to start with a very sobering charge issued by the Lord, Himself:
“Speak to the congregation of Israel. Tell them: Be holy because I, God, your God, am holy. Leviticus 19:2 (MSG)
This charge precedes a reiteration of the “Ten Commandments” from Exodus 20 and a few additional items that can be summed up in “Love God, Love People.” The two greatest commandments as Jesus would later share with those who would ask Him which of these would be the greatest commandment. Jesus’ short answer, “All of them.” ALL. OF. THEM. Well, really – His short answer is Love God, and the other which is “like it” is Love People.
Be holy. Do these words land anywhere in the vicinity of your heart? They landed right on my heart. Positionally, I’m righteous in Christ, but holiness is about the sanctification of my body, mind and spirit through the transforming work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Am I being holy?
God has been talking to me this week about taking thoughts captive and imagination – which is at its root a reflection of image. What does my imagination reflect? The vanity of my whims and desires or the whispered lies of the enemy masquerading as fear… Or does my imagination reflect the captivating person of Christ and His plan for me – His glory revelation right here in my own heart. I will likely pen a post about the subject at a later date after the Lord preps a big ol’ juicy steak kind of meal of it for me to chew on.
Preparing to enter the promised land of your destiny is no simple task. There will be sifting and dry seasons – testings and even sufferings along the way. Preparation can be wilderness or a walking with Jesus experience – that part of it is we get to choose. The Israelites chose to walk in the desert and have that which was their flesh and their soul purged through extreme hardship, suffering and trial. But the glory that was revealed in those moments must have been “knock-you-down” like a dead man moments. How did they choose? They grumbled and complained, worshiped other gods, cried out against their leadership (a near mutiny) I might add, longed for death and let fear rule their hearts every step of the way. They remained in the desert until the generation of bondage died off and two bold young men rose to the occasion – Joshua and Caleb. (But, I may be getting ahead of myself, loves.)
The disciples who later became apostles – save only Judas who became the author of his own demise – walked with Jesus, but guess what – they still suffered. They watched their leader arrested, tried and executed a criminal. THE. MESSIAH. No less.
Peter had to be “sifted as wheat” and deny Christ. He, too, was crucified. John and Peter were often brought up before the Sanhedrin as blasphemers and heretics. Their lives constantly threatened by death. John watched his brother, James, die a martyr’s death early in the account of Acts. He watched as his friends and fellow apostles died off one by one – and he died an old man after being imprisoned on the aisle of Patmos. One account reports he was boiled in oil and survived. WHOA, Nellie! Am I willing to go that far for Christ? I better be.
Jesus’ words to Peter resonate in my head this morning as I consider the beautiful/bitter process of sanctification: “Peter, Peter, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, Peter, and when you come back strengthen your brothers.”
Are you in a sifting season? Beth Moore often says when we find ourselves in sifting seasons one thing is sure, we want whatever it is that is being sifted to the surface to be sifted OUT! Don’t want to have a do-over of our sifting seasons. 🙂
Hear these words in your heart as I hear them this morning – place your name where mine is and know Your Savior and Lord intercedes for you. Michelle, Michelle, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But, I (Jesus) have prayed for you, Michelle. That when you come back you may strengthen others.
And that is where I will stop this week. When we come to the Jordan Crossing in our lives – after a long season of sifting and suffering – will we stay in the desert or will we walk forward in confidence fully trusting in our loving, blessed God.
The choice is ours – He prepares the way – shall we walk in it?