A growing number of Christians have pitched their tents in the wilderness…In the Old Testament, God’s people had to pass through the wilderness to travel from Egypt or Babylon to Canaan…But it’s a detour; it’s not home. How long you spend there is mostly your decision…Leaving the wilderness may come at an obscenely high price. It is for this reason that many do not leave it…if you remain in the wilderness, you will eventually die…the Christ that is given to you in the wilderness is not adequate to meet all your spiritual needs…the wilderness has but one goal: to sift us, to reduce us, and to strip us down to Christ alone…It’s the place of religious detox…You will never rest, and you will never find “home” until you pitch your tent in the building site that God has chosen for His dwelling place…
God only has one goal for you; to conform you to the image of His Son so that you can be a living stone with which He uses to build His house. But, that preparation requires you to say “yes” to God and “no” to the world. The wilderness is just the habitat that gives you that opportunity. You only enter it when you say no to the world. Then, you only enter God’s Kingdom when you say yes to Him and enter into His land. The in-between time when you are wrestling with the pull of the world and the attraction of the Kingdom is when you are traveling through the wilderness. You are given what you need to survive, but you must come to a point where you’re moving forward.
It’s also where you learn what saying yes to God is all about. You learn about the ways of the Kingdom. Your mind is opened to the deceptions of the world. You can look back and see where you came from more clearly and look forward to learn about where you’re going. Then, there always comes a point where you know enough about the Promised Land that you stand at a crossroads. A decision to enter the land or to stay in the wilderness in limbo for an extended period of time. That decision is likely the hardest one can make in life. Why? It involves pain, loss and rejection. When you turn your back on the world for good, it becomes your enemy.
When you’ve been prepared to enter the Promised Land, you will likely stand there for a bit and contemplate. Again, how long you pause is dependent on you. You will feel the final pull of the world upon your soul. That last step is the hardest. It’s like if you were really scared to jump off a diving board as a kid. It’s not as hard walking to the edge as it is to make the jump. If this is where you’re at, keep meditating on the fact that everything will be alright after you jump. The Perfect Lover promised it would. That’s why He’s the Promised Land.
Your turn…what do you have to add? Questions? Learn anything new?
Michael Fleming lives near Canton, Ohio with his wife Kristin. Michael is involved as a teacher with the Soul Care Center, a non-profit school in Canton that provides Christian counseling, teaching and coaching to the Stark County area. He also writes and records music for his pop alternative music project (also called 2nd man united) that can be heard in the sidebar of the site.