Living in the Promised Land
For many years now, one of my favourite stories in the Bible (Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) has been how the children of Israel wandered in the dessert for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. There is also a reference in Hebrews 4:9 that says there remains a rest for the people of God, which equates to entering Gods Promised Land. However, some of the people failed to enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief. I always knew that this rest was not my experience, and I longed for that with my whole heart. I certainly did not want to be among those who never experienced that rest because of unbelief. I remember asking God one day, a long time ago, to take me seriously on what I was about to ask and that if I ever went back on my word, would He please ignore me and, if necessary, carry me kicking and screaming into that rest, the parallel being the Promised Land. God has been gracious and faithful to grant my original request, for which I am truly thankful.
It is wonderful to know that I am saved from my sins, (Ephesians 2:4- 9), that Jesus Christ is my Saviour and Lord and that He lives His life as me (Galatians 2:20), but how does this live out and affect my day to day living? Just thinking about this reminds me of the times I would regularly write Moments with Meryl in past issues of this magazine. Alot has happened in my life since those days: At that time I was a checkout operator in one of our local food stores, this being my first job outside the home since having our children. I loved that job, but before long was thinking about taking an evening class in typing, something I had always wanted to learn. I remember going to enroll at the local college, thinking, What on earth am I doing? Im nervous about doing this and feel totally inadequate. I remember exactly where I was walking when I told myself, There is no alone/independent YOU to be taking a typing course, Christ/I certainly FEELS all those things, but Jesus Christ is living here (1 Corinthians 6:17). Hes the one signing up for the course and Hell be the One doing it! End of story!
After that I went on to complete the course, pass the exam, and get a job as a typist/receptionist for a Chartered Accountant. Having been offered the job and given a period of one week to learn the ropes from my predecessor, I felt totally out of my depth and reckoned I owed it to my future employer to come clean. I told him I thought I was not up to the demands of the job and I thought he should offer the job to someone more capable. I always remember how he placed his hand on my shoulder and said, Meryl, you will be just fine. Once on my own, doing the job, I had many opportunities to prove my boss right. Every time I felt overwhelmed I would talk to myself along the same lines as before: This FEELS like I really cant do it this time, but I know I cant say that about Jesus Christ, so I cant say it about me, since I am merely the vessel containing Him. Somehow, the problems always got solved and before long I was indeed fine at typing sets of accounts and preparing them for clients.
I then went on to three other jobs; one as secretary in the Nutrition and Dietetic department at our towns general hospital and the second and third at our local University College. Having started each of these jobs, I always felt Id gone beyond my capabilities and before long would be found out. However, by now I was beginning to know and trust Jesus Christ in me as me and always, before too long He proved Himself in every one of those places of employment.
Today, I am the owner of a Curves franchise, a 30-minute fitness and weight loss centre for women. There are over 9000 of these clubs worldwide and in the UK there are 150 plus. I was about club number 21 to open nearly two years ago. If I thought years ago, What on earth am I doing signing on for a typing course, you cannot imagine how many times or with what intensity I have thought it over the past two years since opening Curves.
There have been many, many times when I have thought, I simply cannot do this, Curves seriously is far too big a thing for me; Im this sim-
ple, homey person, with no university education and no business degree. However, here I am, an employer, managing staff, making all the decisions and handling all aspects of the business. This year I have made a profit, and cannot tell you of Gods grace in this respect.
BUT, the same biblical truths apply. I wish I could say I have continuously spoken back (lead every thought captive to Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5) truths like I did years ago, but I cant. However, I can certainly testify to Gods faithfulness; He kept His word and has definitely carried me, often kicking and screaming, into that Promised Landthe rest that remains for the people of God. Today when I find myself in a difficult business position (or indeed any difficult position), I am so grateful for Gods truth that I can run to. However, in the following instance it was not immediate. I knew I was soon going to be liable to pay Value Added Tax (VAT), but it came as a big shock when I was told how much it was going to be. I was tempted with many negative thoughts and feelings (all of which Norman Grubb assures us are VITAL) and confess that for over 24 hours, even though I was saying it was Gods perfect circumstance, I had not really committed to that truth. It was only talking with my husband and listening to his view, that I felt convicted of sin, quickly confessed it, repented of it and moved on. I cannot convey to you what relief I felt. (It might be of interest to know that the Chartered Accountant who deals with all tax aspects of Curves for me is the same boss I worked for years ago. He still encourages me today.)
The secret, as I see it, is really committing to the truth. Let me explain: I can say words until the cows come home, but unless I fully commit with my whole being, by that I mean bowing my knee to God, the Father, on such occasions, Im never going to experience the joy of living in that promised rest. Note I said joy (fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22) not happiness. When I bow the knee to God, I do know deliverance in and through temptations and lifes problems (1 Corinthians 10:13). I certainly often feel like Im no different, still have selfish thoughts, feel self obsessed and at my wits end. Praise God! These soul reactions are normal and vital and are just the springboard to faith I need. I affirm Gods truth: THERE IS NO INDEPENDENT ME LIVING HERE, I AM MERELY THE VESSEL CONTAINING ANOTHER, JESUS CHRIST, (2 Corinthians 4:7). This is indeed overcoming the giants in the Promised Land and explains, I hope, what its like for me on a day to day basis, living in the light of the Truth we believe. I thank God for revealing His truth IN me as Paul says in Galatians 1:16 and for the experience of entering His rest (resting from the labours of self effort).
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 21 No 3
- Speaking The Word of Faith
- Editor’s Note
- A Miracle of Small Stones
- A Vision For Zerubbabel
- Tape Talk
- Modern Man and the Ultimate Question
- Two Common Misunderstandings
- Living in the Promised Land
- BIBLE STUDY: Sin, Satan, and the Flesh
- School Days
- To Think About
- Powerless over Alcohol and Life: Step 10
- Letters From Norman
- A Priceless Inheritance
- Words To Live By
- The Laugh of Faith Part 1