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).
Possessing your spiritual inheritance involves the ability to live a holy life and receive impartation of the divine nature as you continually give yourself to God and come to truly know Him. He makes it possible for you to become a partaker of the divine nature, delivering you from the corruption of this generation.
As you study His Word and humbly seek Him, you will begin to think as He thinks; you will exchange your worldly thoughts for His kingdom thoughts. The Holy Spirit will cause the written Word to come alive to you. And Christ, who is the Word, will become your life. You will realize the reality of what the apostle Paul wrote: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).
In my book Placed in His Glory, I wrote, "The work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the glory of Jesus in us. As long as we are in control, He can't be.
"The 'I' nature wants to rule, having my way and exercising my rights, never allowing the Holy Spirit to do what He came to do. If we take our 'I' to the cross, we can exchange it there for the I AM.
"Then the Holy Spirit moves into every area of our personality, and the veil of flesh begins to fall away. We begin to realize that we don't think as we used to think.
"The truth will dawn on us: 'These aren't my thoughts.' Then we understand Paul's injunction to 'Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus'" (Phil. 2:5).
The Holy Spirit begins to replace Adam's carnal mind with the mind of Christ so we can think as our Daddy thinks. Then He changes our rebellious wills as well.
As we keep surrendering to the Holy Spirit, He begins to take the Father's will and make it our will. As we yield to the Holy Spirit's work within us, we begin to walk with God and do the will of God.
Perhaps you will never fully grasp the wonder of redemption. But you can rejoice in it and experience the reality of the life of Christ in you—your promised land—as you abandon yourself to the Holy Spirit within you.
He has come to change you into the image of Christ, to cause this "treasure in earthen vessels" to shine forth, "that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Cor. 4:7). And He made your victory possible (Col. 2:13-15).
Christ did it all for us. Why should we be defeated by enemies who seem too strong for us—anger, self-pity or pride? We must be very courageous to put off the old man and put on the new, as Paul admonished us: "Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and ... put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:22-24).
Begin to declare victory. The righteous King has come. Receive His perfect love and banish the kings of self forever.
The late Fuchsia Pickett is the author of Possess Your Promised Land, published by Charisma House, from which this article is adapted.