Have We Reached Our Potential?
By Grant Phillips
In Joshua chapter one the children of Israel were preparing to enter the land God promised to Abraham, then Isaac and Jacob. The land was already theirs. God had given it to them, but they had to take possession of it. Forty years earlier their parents could have taken possession, but they instead wandered in the wilderness all that time because of their unbelief.
Notice also that Moses was not permitted to lead them into the land because of his disobedience, but there is also another reason. Moses was the Law giver. The law can only lead one to the edge of the Jordon, but it cannot take us through to the land beyond. The law is our schoolmaster leading us to Christ.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:24-29)
The law is also an accuser. It says, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a)
However, Jesus by His grace says, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)
God provided a list of blessings for Israel if they would obey His law (Deuteronomy 28:1-14.) He also provided curses for disobeying His law (Deuteronomy 28:15-68.) That is the essence of the law. Obey and be blessed, but disobey and be cursed. If Israel had just obeyed, they could have avoided many curses that fell upon them.
I thank God often that I live in the age of grace. God’s grace can be seen in every age of course, but the point is, we are not under the law. (Romans 6:14-15; Galatians 5:18) We are under grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Who led Israel into the Promised Land? We all know that would be Joshua. Also, his Hebrew name is the same as Jesus’ Greek name, meaning “savior.” Joshua had to be the one to lead them through the Jordon River to the Promised Land, since he is a type of Christ. Only Jesus can lead us to the promised land of new birth in Him.
When Joshua led Israel through the Jordan River to the Promised Land God held the waters back as He did with the Red Sea when Moses took Israel through on dry ground. It was during the flood season at that time, so the Canaanites were shocked and very frightened by this great miracle of Israel’s God.
As the children of Israel were going from one river bank to the other side, the priest carrying the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan. When all had gone through, the priest carried the ark to shore and immediately the waters closed up.
When Joshua led them through the Jordon River, the Israelites were identified with Christ (the Ark) and the land they were entering. When a person today is born again in Jesus, that person is identified with Jesus and all the power of Heaven. Keep in mind that Canaan (this world) is not our promised land. Our home is in Heaven and our strength is in Jesus Christ, just as it was with Israel.
“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 3:20 note is mine)
The Promised Land consists of 300,000 square miles (another source says 200,000). Israel has never inhabited more than 30,000 square miles at any one time from my understanding. Even today, they only inhabit 8,019 square miles and now I’ll work my way to the point I wish to make.
Israel owned the land at that time and they still do. All of the land, 300,000 square miles, was theirs for their enjoyment. All they had to do was trust God and obey Him. If they had done so, they could have enjoyed a land larger than the state of Texas, but instead they settled for a piece about the size of New Jersey.
Don’t you think we Christians, the Church, are a lot like Israel has been? Think about these two Scripture references in relationship to what I have discussed to this point.
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16:21)
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
We have much more than 300,000 square miles of land that is ours. We have all of Heaven. We are children of Almighty God. We are co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). All the power and blessings of our Father are at our disposal.
God has made it so very easy and simple for us in the Church Age. We do not have to adhere to the law to receive blessings and avoid curses. Jesus took our curses upon Himself. He just requires that we trust Him with everything and follow Him.
After a visit with his close friend Henry Varley, Dwight L. Moody kept hearing the words, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” Later, while attending a service of Charles Spurgeon, he realized that it wasn’t Spurgeon preaching behind the pulpit; it was God speaking through him. Then he thought again about, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him,” and realized that the quote says “a” man, not any particular man, but any man. He then said to himself, “Well, I will be that man.”
Mr. Moody was poor and untrained. He was not ordained, but he was committed to Jesus Christ. He reached two continents for Christ and that had not been accomplished since George Whitefield did so over 100 years earlier.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves, “What could God do with me to glorify His name if I would just be totally committed to Him? Can He use me? Would He use me?” The questions demand a “Yes!” answer.
The Israelites only took possession of about 10% of what they already owned. Through today, they have never enjoyed 90% of their land.
How much of what God has provided for us have we left unattended?
The law led us to Jesus. By faith, we walked through the Jordan with Him and are on the other side. We have been born again. We have been baptized by His Spirit and carry His name. We are identified with Him.
There is nothing Jesus cannot accomplish in one of His own who is totally committed to Him.
“The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.”
Most of us accomplish very little of the 100% that is ours. Jesus said of us, “And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mark 4:8)
Every single Christian has the potential to produce 100% through Christ, but the potential is not in us. It is in Jesus, and He can accomplish much in those who are willing.