Your Promised Land Life

Glory_Days_IMG_1193My idea for the book Glory Days crystalized as I sat across the lunch table from a man in midlife misery. He described his life with words like stuck, rut, and stalled out. He’s a Christian. He can tell you the day he became a believer. But he can’t tell you the last time he defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. Twenty years into his faith he fights the same battles he was fighting the day he came to Christ.

He didn’t say the words, but I could sense the sentiment: “I thought the Christian life would be better than this.” He feels disengaged and discouraged. It’s as if the door to spiritual growth has a lock and everyone has the key but him. He doesn’t know whom to blame. Himself? The church? God? He doesn’t know what to do. Change congregations? Change Bible translations? Slow down and reflect? Get busy and work?

My friend is not alone in the wilderness. The REVEAL Research Project wanted to determine the percentage of churchgoers who are actually propelled by their faith to love God and love others with their whole hearts. Researchers surveyed the members of more than a thousand churches. How many Christians would describe their days as Glory Days?

The answer? Eleven percent.

Eleven percent! If a high school graduated only 11 percent of its students, if a hospital healed only 11 percent of its patients, if a baseball team won only 11 percent of its games, if a home builder completed only 11 percent of his projects, wouldn’t changes be made?

The church has a serious deficiency.

We also have a wonderful opportunity. About 2.2 billion people on our planet call themselves Christians. That is approximately one-third of the world’s population. If the survey is any indication, about 2 billion of those Christians are chugging along on a fraction of their horsepower. What would happen if they got a tune-up? How much joy would be unleashed into the atmosphere? How much wisdom would be quarried and shared? If every Christian began to live the Promised Land life, how would the world be different?

If you began to live the Promised Land life, how would you be different? Do you sense a disconnect between the promises of the Bible and the reality of your life? Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The Epistles speak of grace. You shoulder such guilt. We are “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37) yet are commonly conquered by temptations or weaknesses.

Think about the Christian you want to be. What qualities do you want to have? More compassion? More conviction? More courage? What attitudes do you want to discontinue? Greed? Guilt? Endless negativity? A critical spirit?

Here is the good news. You can. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be, indeed, the person God made you to be. You can live “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). Joshua and his men did this. They went from dry land to the Promised Land, from manna to feasts, from arid deserts to fertile fields. They inherited their inheritance. Their epitaph deserves a serious reading.

“So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” (Josh. 21:43–45)

Personalize that promise. Put your name in the blank.

The Lord gave to __________ all the life he had sworn to give. And __________ took possession of it and dwelt in it. The Lord gave __________ rest all around and not an enemy stood. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to __________. All came to pass.

This is God’s vision for your life. Imagine the thought. You at full throttle. You as you were intended. You as victor over the Jerichos and giants.

You and your Promised Land life.

It is yours for the taking.

©Max Lucado, 2015