According to the Scriptures, only two of the Israelites who left Egypt went into the Promised Land. Among the 12 men Moses chose to spy out the land, 10 came back and gave a negative report about the giants who lived there, causing the people's hearts to melt in fear. But Joshua and Caleb declared the beauty of the land and that God would make the giants defenseless before them (Num. 14:9).
Because of the Israelites' unbelief, God let them wander in the desert until they died. Their children inherited the Promised Land they were meant to enter.
However, Caleb followed the Lord fully and, along with Joshua, inherited the Promised Land. His was a winning battle strategy—complete abandonment to God (Josh. 14:9-14).
Caleb's physical strength had not abated during the 40 years in the wilderness. God was with him and drove out the enemy, giving him his inheritance in Hebron, which had been the stronghold of the strongest giants in the land, the Anakim.
Inheriting your promised land also will require a winning strategy. It will mean following the Lord wholly and yielding to the Holy Spirit at every point at which your will, your thoughts and your desires differ from His divine purpose for your life.
The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your spirit, filling you with the life of God and expressing that divine life through your soul—your mind, emotions and will. When God's will becomes your will, His thoughts your thoughts and His desires your desires, you can say with the apostle Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Who Is Possessing Your Land?
In Joshua 12, there is a list of 31 kings the Israelites defeated after they entered the Promised Land. As they overcame these enemies of God, their lands were distributed among the tribes of Israel.
In a similar way, the old nature that clings to us seems to have as many "kings" as those who ruled in the land of Canaan. Our self-life does not die easily.
In his book Thirty-One Kings: Or Victory Over Self (Christian Publications), A.B. Simpson assigned a "face" of self for each one of the kings listed in Joshua 12 who was defeated by the Israelites. I am sure his list is not exhaustive. But I challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to show you which of these kings are living in your "land": self-indulgence, self-seeking, self-complacency, self-glorying, self-confidence, self-consciousness, self-will, self-importance, self-depreciation, self-vindication, sensitiveness or touchiness, self-seeing, introspection, self-love, self-affections, selfish motives, selfish desires and selfish choices.
Add to this list the kings of selfish pleasures, selfish possessions, selfish fears and cares, selfish sorrows, selfish sacrifices and self-denial, selfish virtues and morality, self-righteousness, selfish sanctity, selfish charities, selfish Christian works, selfish prayers, selfish hopes and selfish life.
God promised the children of Israel a land flowing with milk and honey at the same time He told them about about their enemies (Ex. 3:8). He promised to give them a wonderful land in which to live and to drive out their enemies before them (Ex. 33:2).
For New Testament believers, the promised land is not a physical territory; it is a spiritual one. The promised land Jesus came to give us is characterized by freedom from the enemies in our self-life that war against our souls, robbing us of peace and prosperity.
Self-love is at the root of every form of the self-life. It is a heart centered upon itself, wherein every affection and power of our being is turned inward and self-ward.
Our life must be held not as a selfish possession but as a sacred trust. The apostle Paul understood this when he said, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21).
All God's promises can be yours as part of your promised land. But you must choose to overcome the enemies that try to keep you from inheriting it.
We Conquer Through Surrender
God is faithful to exchange your sinful nature for His divine nature as you determine to bring the aspects of your self-life to the cross. In his book, A.B. Simpson wrote, "We must surrender ourselves so utterly that we can never own ourselves again. We must hand over self and all its rights in an eternal covenant, and give God the absolute right to own us, control us and possess us forever."
Christ has made it possible for you to lose your self-life entirely and enter into the freedom of eternal life as you become a partaker of His divine nature. The apostle Peter declared triumphantly, "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Pet. 1:3-4).
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