I used to be so pro at getting lost.
I could barely make it to South Bend without taking a three hour tour of Northern Indiana. Then I got a very helpful device … a son with a keen sense of direction. Picture a four year old with a map, in a car seat, directing us down the Ohio Turnpike en-route to Dayton, Ohio (pre-GPS days).
Sorta reminds me of the Israelites.
They started in Egypt, and turned a 9 day trip into a 40 year trek. FINALLY they made it to the Promised Land. The thing is, they had their own GPS. You could say it was in the Cloud—the pillar of Cloud. God.
Sorta reminds me of my life.
I started in “Egypt,” got delivered, and spent the next 20 years wandering around in the messed up wilderness of ME until God sent a deliverer to lead me out. Actually, I think we can all relate. We are in one of four stages: in Egypt, En route, Wandering, or in the Promised Land.
How can you tell? Read the descriptions below and note the hashtags.
You could be:
- In Egypt: #slavery. So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. Exodus 1: 13-14. Both the saved and unsaved can live in “Egypt.” Life here is marked by slavery to sin, fear or pleasing others. If you’re living in Egypt you have no ministry, no fruit, no peace, no joy. You may not even know you are in Egypt, you just know something is very wrong with your life. Thankfully, you don’t need to stay there. God always sends a deliverer!
- En Route: #progress. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. Exodus 13:1 If you are en route you are definitely saved. You could be a brand new Christian, or saved for years, but you are finally following Jesus.
- Wandering: #self. The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. Joshua 5:6 I hate this place. It’s almost worse than being in Egypt. You know better, but you try it anyway. Wandering is marked by living for self, and following “your heart” (which is deceitful above all things). The world applauds while God laments and waits. You Rationalize. You disobey. Wandering drains your resources, wastes your gifts, and leaves you empty. Consequences dog your steps. The waking up is painful as you realize what a fool you’ve been. BUT, you are two words away from getting back on track with God: Repentance. Obedience.
- Promised Land: #God. And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” Genesis 15:7. Promised Land living is flowing with purpose. It’s all about God. His will. His way. His plans. If you are living in the Promised Land, He is all over everything you do. You pray different. You want different. You live different. God has you involved in one or two specific ministries where you are using your gifts. You also take advantage of everyday opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others. Nobody makes it to the Promised Land on their own. You need Jesus, the church and a few good friends who speak truth. Life in the Promised Land is full and good and hard and challenging and whole and fruitful.
If you don’t like the stage you’re in, you’re only a decision away from making a change.
Pending on where your “living” right now you may need to: Say no. Say yes. Move on. Move out. Start something. Stop something. Give it up. Give it back. Pick it up. Put it down. Plant some seeds. Pull some weeds. Leave. Stay. Accept. Reject. Speak up. Speak out. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Try hard. Try harder. Work. Rest. Lead. Follow. Open His word and your heart. Ask God to show you what to do and obey what He says.
Wherever you are, follow God with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
I’d love to pray for you about where you are in life with God. Please leave me a comment in the comment section below!
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Jane VanOsdol says
Great post. I’ve found that you move in and out of phases as you go through life- depending on your obedience and circumstances. After years of serving in one area, I may be #en route again as God starst something new. Thanks for sharing!
I have also found I can be in different places with different areas of my life. I know I want to be in my Promised Land with Jesus! It is also very exciting to be en route! Thanks for sharing!