Monday, October 26, 2009

Expanding Your Territory

Today we’re heading back into Old Testament times to meet up with Joshua now that he had conquered Jericho and numerous other cities for the children of Israel. Joshua was dividing the Promised Land amongst the twelve tribes. The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons, felt that they should have more land than they had received to accommodate all of the people in their tribes. So Joshua agreed to extend their territory up into the mountain region. The mountain region was wooded and uncivilized so naturally, the tribes protested. But Joshua was firm in his decision and told them that because they were a great and powerful nation they would be able to clear the wooded area and claim the land as far as their eyes could see. In the end the tribes chose not to clear the woodlands and took up residence in the small, cramped area that was already familiar.

Can you relate? Have you ever stood at the edge of the forest and begin to feel that you just can’t clear all of the trees? Do you take up residence in the familiar because you are afraid to step out into the unknown? God has a blessing for you; He just may ask you to put forth a little effort. All too often we see the ‘wooded area’ as something that is just too big for us to get past. When we see tree after tree after tree, we become overwhelmed and quickly give up, never claiming the vast territory that God has already given us. Every time we defeat ourselves, we lose out on the spoils of God’s victory! I hate to think of how many times I’ve completely defeated myself when God has called me to step out on faith for Him. Not only do I not claim the victory God has for me, I usually begin to question whether or not I was even called by God to do it in the first place.

I don’t know what the wooded area looks like for you, but I sure know what my trees look like. Each tree represents a struggle, a stronghold, a sin, a failure and a fear. There are definitely days that I have sat on the edge of the tree line with my head in my hands feeling completely overwhelmed and hopeless. That’s when God reminds me that I only need to clear one tree at a time. Staring at 1,000 trees is a daunting task, but cutting down one tree is completely attainable. God gives us the ability to cut down one tree at a time until, before we know it, we’ve made a clearing and expanded our territory. It’s not something we have to do in our own strength, but we do need to stand up and be willing to allow Him to do the work through us. So, are you ready? Let’s go cut down some trees!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“… overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:37

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