Enter the promise that lies before you

We all dream of doing something significant and meaningful with our lives.

Young and old, rich and poor, great and small, we all have hopes and dreams we are pursuing. I tend to think of our progress from where we are to where we want to be like any other journey. The beginning is generally exciting. The picture of what we hope will be is so vivid in our mind’s eye, and we are more than happy to get on the road and on our way.

As the journey goes on, however, we become weary of traveling. We become jaded by the various detours and difficulties. We begin to wonder if the destination is worth the effort. At times, we wonder if it wouldn’t be better to call it quits and go back home to what we know.

The book of Deuteronomy paints this picture quite well. In Chapter 1, Moses is recounting some of the details of their journey from Egypt to “the Promised Land.” Following their journey through the wilderness, before entering into what God had promised, they decide to send out 12 spies to check it out. The spies come back and report all of the good things they observed in the land, but they also report a big problem.

There are giants in the land preventing the people from moving in. Moses assures the people that God has got this and that if they will have faith and step into the uncertainty and the unknown before them that God will provide.

Overwhelmed by their fears, the people decide it would be better not to risk it and that it would have been better to stay where they started as slaves in Egypt. In Deuteronomy 1:34-40, we see God’s response: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give their ancestors … your children who do not yet know good from bad, they will enter the land. I will give it to them, and they will take possession of it.”

God was faithful to his word. The people turned around and spent 40 years in transit. They never really arrived anywhere in particular. This story has some very practical warnings for us as we pursue the promise and potential of our lives today.

Our faith in the God we follow must be greater than our fear of the difficulties we’ll face. Life is full of challenges. Jesus himself warned that in this world, we will have trouble. Nothing prevents us from taking steps into the future like fear. We fear failure. We fear pain. We fear heartache. We fear rejection. We fear… The list could go on and on.

The unavoidable reality is our fear serves no productive purpose. Fear will not stop the future from coming. Fear may at times keep us from various difficulties, but at the same time, it is incredibly effective at keeping us from various victories.

As a coach of mine used to tell us, “Failure to try is failure assured.” Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has plans for us, and they are plans that are hopeful plans for a prosperous future. If our faith in God’s promise isn’t greater than our fear of the difficulties that lie ahead, we will run the risk to suffering from a sort of paralysis that will prevent us from taking the necessary steps to achieve new victories in the future.

Our confidence in the promise of the future must overrule our comfort and contentment in our current conditions. Our potential in the future is always greater than our possibilities for the past. The past is no longer possible. We can only work and move in the present, and it is quickly moving us into the future. Ready or not, it is coming. Time is ever marching forward, and like it or not, it’s taking us with it.

The truth is that there is always a level of comfort in what is known and what has been. There is a level of security and stability in the predictability and patterns we have developed in days gone by. This tends to be true even when those patterns are decidedly negative. As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.”

Wouldn’t it be better, though, to risk the devil you don’t for the hope of no devil at all? While comfort and contentment can be good things, they can also become problems. They can become anchors that keep us from considering or pursuing more productive and positive opportunities that come our way.

I don’t want to die at the doorway to the amazing. I don’t want to watch a generation pass without experiencing the promises God has in store. As long as we draw breath, there is always the potential that better days are ahead.

Sure, there will be days of difficulty, but every journey has its share of bumps in the road. Keep your eyes on the road ahead. Have faith in the God that has gotten you this far. And enter the promise that lies before you.

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