Entering The Rest Of Christ Vs Being A Wilderness Christian
The true Christian who enters Canaan (the daily experience of the resurrected Christ) immediately learns to cease asking God for what he already has. He no longer asks God for peace, strength, victory, or power. He ceases asking God what God wants him to do. Instead, he realizes that Christ has become all this Himself. Why? Because he is in Christ and Christ is in him. This is true rest, a rest in the love and grace of God. God now takes over what now is rightfully his inheritance – you. Now sit back and watch Him do the work of God through you. Just BE; do not DO.
Christ taking over the life of the believer is so well amplified when the man with the sword in his hand appears to Joshua. The incident occurs in Joshua 5:13-15. Joshua is currently planning a strategy to attack Jericho, a highly fortified city. (Jericho relates to a demonic stronghold in your life.) If Joshua was planning this in the wilderness, he would have panicked and developed a quick-fix plan using his own self-effort. This self-developed plan is very normal for the wilderness Christian; the wilderness Christian has absolutely no idea what total trust and dependence on Christ to live the His life through him means. Because it is self-developed, any wilderness Christian plan is ‘flesh’; and God will immediately tear it down. NEVER will God ever share center stage with flesh.
However, Joshua is not a wilderness Christian. He may have lived in the wilderness for 40 years; but in his mind he always lived in Canaan. By application of daily faith, he always trusted God to fulfill His Word and promise to inhabit and possess Canaan. Joshua focused on the Lord very strongly and was never easily influenced by public opinion or peer pressure (as Moses had been). In his mind, Joshua lived in Canaan; therefore making the reality of Canaan so easily applicable when the time came for God to fulfill His promise. (This is such a sharp contrast from the wilderness Christian who lives in Egypt in his mind, instead of Canaan. He is so absorbed with Egypt that he rejects entry into Canaan. Thus he rejects Christ and since he cannot return to Egypt, he must settle for the low-life of the wilderness. Remember the ten discouraging spies from 40 years earlier.) What an outstanding and superb place to be! Joshua has truly entered the rest of Christ, the rest of God’s intimate love and grace.
Because he now possesses Canaan, Joshua can easily follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. This is clearly evident when the man holding the sword appears to him. Upon encountering this man, Joshua asks a very wise question. Who are you? Are you on our side or Jericho’s side? The response is so obvious about true life in Canaan. The man replies that because He is captain of the Lord of hosts has He come. In other words, Jesus as God has appeared to Joshua. Jesus, the living Word of God, with the two-edged sword in His hand has come. Jesus humbles Himself as a servant of God to become one of us. No, He doesn’t take sides; HE TAKES OVER. Awesome! HE PERSONALLY TAKES OVER. The battle now belongs to the Lord. Joshua immediately recognized this grace as the Lord. He bowed down and worshipped, removing his self-effort shoes of sweat. We shall do the same. Glorious!
This is the joy of the abundant Christian life. Jesus is our new life. He has given us a new nature – His very self. He is now only claiming His inheritance – His presence (the creator) in His temple (the creature). In the abundant life of Christ, your Jerichos are no longer your problem. They now become His opportunities to show the world there truly is a living and loving God, who cares and loves each person individually. His success through you is only limited by how much access you permit Him and His love to show through you. He must renew your mind with His love.
When God takes over, He really takes over. Christ lives in you at this very moment. If your temple is now the permanent residence of the Holy Spirit, do you believe Jesus desires to share it with your old sin nature, the flesh? Of course not! Jesus strongly desires to drive out all inhabitants of your flesh, just as God was driving out the inhabitants of Canaan for the children of Israel.
Jesus uproots all flesh. He does not even leave one rotten root. Because so much of our flesh is deeply rooted, this uprooting is very painful and some can take a very lengthy time. It is a process of the Holy Spirit renewing the mind to see life from God’s perspective. That is why we are to lay it ALL on the cross. The cross is a place of death; that is why it is very painful. Jesus is crucifying our flesh to His very cross. This crucifixion we need to apply daily. We must crucify and cast aside all self-effort, self-pity, and self-praise. All sufferings, illnesses, pride, sins, and our sinful nature must be placed on His cross daily. (This is denying our own self-effort and taking up our cross.) Our cooperation then permits our Lord to uproot it. Once it is uprooted, He replaces it with more of the reality experience of His resurrected life and love in our daily walk. Superb!