Our March gathering devotional was led by Charlotte Dorais. Charlotte shared on the topic, “Surrender”.
Conquering the Promised Land
By Charlotte Dorais
Each year in January I begin at the beginning and read through the Bible. This year I have chosen the NKJV a chronological study Bible. As I was reading about the Promised Land and the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites God spoke to me about my Promised Land and my wilderness wanderings. I like the Israelites, knew about God but didn’t know God. I admit I hadn’t seen the miracles or been rescued like them from bondage to the Egyptians, but I had been blessed enough over the years to know it wasn’t all my doing. As an adult I had heard the salvation message a number of times but had rejected it.
The truth about the God and a savior and Lord took root in my spirit on February 20th 2005. My journey began simply by believing God loved me and that He sent his son to die for sins. My confession and asking for forgiveness opened my spirit to receive Jesus and to desire repentance and led me to start killing my self-life and begin a life new in Christ Jesus. Like the Israelites I had to conquer my promised land a new spiritual walk in Christ Jesus. Unlike the Israelites who had to physically remove the people in the land they were to possess in order to be free of temptations to turn them away from the one true God, mine was my past with its strongholds and its distractions of the world culture I grew up in. And I like them have failed to recognize and remove that which God has commanded me to destroy.
I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, the culture of freedom from strict moral values of the past, where independence and self-reliance was admired and encouraged. Although I wasn’t a pot smoking free love hippie, I bought into the lie that freedom for women came from having a career and family and nothing or no one suffered by achieving both. In fact you weren’t experiencing your full potential unless you acquired both.
Now I have the gift of the Holy Spirit of our Lord God who is teaching me and guiding me in my transformation into His likeness. And my flesh, my old self, still resists letting go of strongholds that have been built over the years. It’s what it knows and trusts but it has been deceived. The enemy of my soul wants me to stay stuck with the strongholds in place.
God has led me to reread Watchman Nee’s, The Normal Christian Life. It seems I missed some important parts, or I just wasn’t ready to dig so deep when I read it before. I think that every new born again believer needs to read this book. His simple yet profound explanation of the life we are to live now “In Christ Jesus” has been revolutionary in my battle with strongholds.
The Israelites tried and failed to conquer the promise land completely, because they didn’t rely on God or continue to seek His direction. Much like myself, my self-reliance and independence has kept me from the total dependence God wants from me.
Philippians 4:13 AMP
I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Philippians 4:13 NLT
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
I can do all things through Christ not Charlotte. It wasn’t that I was consciously thinking, “God I got this”. I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t in Christ doing God’s will. I was deceived. Watchmen Nee asks the question, “Do you know Christ as a living person, do you know Him as “Boss”? Sadly my answer was no. Oh I had surrendered to Him and I called Him Lord and Savior, but I was still holding back so much without even being aware.
If I’m being honest with myself, I must admit part of me, my flesh doesn’t want Jesus as Boss, in fact I don’t want anyone as Boss of my life. I want independence. But in my spirit I know it’s wrong. I had to confess and ask forgiveness and repent. I had to ask God to give me the desire to know him as Boss and strengthen me to walk in His strength and power, to give me the desire for a moment by moment contact with Jesus. My spirit wanted what Paul said in
Philippians 2:13&14 NLT
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
And Colossians 3:2
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
And Romans 12:2
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I am to wander the earth but live in heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
I belong to Christ, I have confessed that and I must allow myself to be remade into His likeness and that is an ongoing continual process. I can’t do it by myself I have to ask God to give me the desire to allow Him to work in me to will and do of His good pleasure.
My Promised Land is living “In Christ”. I have to allow my Lord to bring me, my spirit, under His control. My moment by moment walk on this earth is to examine my thoughts and consider where they are from and how they line up with God’s word. This requires prayer, prayer and more prayer, surrender, quietness and listening to His directions. I’m not there, but I’m making progress by His work in me.