See Part 1 here.
“Campers! It’s that time! Time for…”
“LOOOOOVVEEEEE MAIL,” we all gleefully shouted. Best part of camp: the opportunity to write an anonymous love note and watch my poor victim be called up in front of the mess hall to be horribly embarrassed at a formative age. All camp activities throughout the week were secondary to the crafting of these very “communicative” messages.
He wasn’t there. WHA?! Who leaves camp on a random Tuesday? Turns out his mom picked him up early. He decided that the safety of what he knew was better than the unknown adventures of camp. My poor little heart sank – no fun at all! He would never receive my love note because he wasn’t in the place to get it.
Amazingly, in adulthood, many of us campers resort to the same old excuses to not participate. Only this time it‘s not about a missed bonfire and some boondoggle. This time it’s gravely serious…it’s about life. While most Christians understand that God’s book is full of promises, only some are partaking of them, living with peace, joy and a focused, untroubled mind, engaging in life. But so many others who know Jesus never move forward; never move into the promise of what God has for them and repeat excuses from years ago…
“I don’t want to go to camp because I’m afraid and cannot hope or live in expectation.” You fear hope because you have been hurt in life and don’t think you can face the pain of another disappointment. The result? You aren’t fully present or engaged in any moment, never giving yourself fully to anyone or anything for fear of what might happen.
“I’m going to sit in the cabin because I’m angry and can‘t get over the past.” Others choose to cling to unforgiveness, shame and guilt. You hold onto past pain to the detriment of new relationships and experiences, punishing who is over who was, letting a piece of history trump your entire destiny. The result? Constant affliction – not just from what happened, but from recreating the scenario over and over again in your mind.
“I’m going home early because I’m tired and it’s easier to accept defeat than believe in a promise.” All of your focus is in and nothing is out, dwelling on your needs and your shortcomings. That is exhausting. The result? Your spirit, the part of your life that matters most, is defeated. You’ve lost your creativity, passion, drive. You stop being the person you were created to be and people live with what’s left of you.
Living with fear, anger or inner turmoil holds you back from the promises of God. You might have days, but Jesus didn’t come so you would just have days – He came so you could have LIFE! Creative, abundant, thinking, moving, functioning life! Laughing and genuinely being glad, singing funny made up songs and having a good time with people you have the energy and confidence to love! But until you learn to overcome these strongholds in your life, God can’t entrust you with the future He has for you.*
Dear friend, if this is you, you are not alone. The Israelites were in the same space. They could not overcome the hurdles of their fear, anger and turmoil and made what should have been an 11 day journey out of bondage turn into a 40 year wilderness experience. But in Deuteronomy chapters 1-6, God finally says to them: “You have dwelled long enough on this mountain.” And Moses reminds them, “He (the Lord) brought us out from there (Egyptian slavery) to bring us in and give us the land he promised.” They had lived long enough in the wilderness. And you’ve dwelled long enough as a Christian without victory.
Just like God gave the Israelites a battle plan to possess the land that was theirs all along, He has a battle plan for you to get the victory that is already yours. But freedom requires change – which means you can’t win a battle by continuing to do things the same way you have in your wilderness. We all would like something for nothing, victory without training, deliverance without the work of surrender. But the Lord told Joshua He does things differently in the Promised Land. For 40 years He dropped manna out of the sky. And then the manna stopped.
Just as God told Joshua, He has given you gifts and talents so instead of waiting for food to drop out of the sky, go dig wells, plant food and take action! Participate! God will tap into what He has put inside of you! Don’t just sit in prayer or wait it out hoping to receive what God has already done. He already brought you out of your bondage – you have to march into the Promised Land.
He called us out of bondage to take us into freedom. Don’t be a Christian who settles for the wilderness. I want to fully partipcate in camp – because God has more for you! Blessings for you! He wants to pour out His anointing and glory on you, but He cant if you don’t let it go. So let’s go to the infirmary together, get all of the attention of our Great Physician and see to it that we are fully present and positioned to receive His love note!
*(This is ripped from 2 amazing sermons I’ve heard in the past 6 months. Christine Caine – see here: http://www.elevationchurch.org/sermons/codeorangerevival/part2 and Bishop T.D. Jakes – see here: http://www.elevationchurch.org/sermons/waitingroom/part2)