A promise is a very powerful thing. Unlike other forms of expressions, promises require us to trust in the integrity of the promise-giver. So if this is the case why are so many of us being lead astray by false promises?
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Around the world Presidents, Prime ministers and political parties promise the earth but deliver very little. During election time you can be guaranteed of political broadcasts and manifestos designed to sweeten your appetite for that all important vote. Kaching!
Politicians aren't the only ones cashing in on the act. I remember being invited to seminars where a charismatic presenter would walk up and down the stage flashing clothes, jewellery, cars property and holidays promising the world if you signed on the dotted line. I recall the excitement from the audience as they listened intently and watched the flashy video presentations. By the end, you would have thought they had won the lottery. People would form long queues to register, and pay the fee for that special PowerPoint slide pack or business catalogue entitled seven steps to DESTINY!
After these events, I often asked myself why I wasted valuable time going along with a friend who had bought into the hype. I found it bizarre that people would let go of their hard earned cash simply because of the persuasive words of some Tom, Dick or Harry who they've just met.
However, over the years, I grew to realise that this is sadly all too common. You see the problem is with the picture of the promise land we have in our mind. Whether we are people of faith or not we all have a promise land. A utopia which we hope to experience in our lifetime or the hereafter. And the sad thing is, our promise land is a dream which so often encompasses:
- A destination without a journey.
- Attainment without responsibility.
- Success without a challenge and a testimony without a test.
When we consider the scriptures we have numerous accounts of this disparity. The children of Israel spent 40 years going round and round in circles for this very reason. Read Deuteronomy 1.
Take stock for a moment and think about entire generations dying out in the wilderness because of the version of the promise land they held on to. A version that so consumed them they often insisted on returning to Egypt.
How many times did the Lord remind them that the land he had promised to their forefathers was theirs, however in order to enter it they needed to model a corporate level of maturity, not to attain it mind you but rather to sustain and expand what had already been given.
And therein lies the solution to the problem. The difference between our promise land and the Lord's. The Lord's promised land constitutes:
- A journey culminating with a destination.
- Responsibilities and maturity which lead to attainment.
- Challenges to overcome and a test to testify of.
So what happens when we don't consciously recognize the difference between our promise land and the Lord's? Failure to do this results in us questioning the integrity of the promise-giver. Yes! That's right we point the finger at the promise giver for not delivering on OUR promise land. We accuse the Lord of the very thing we fail to demonstrate. We project our inadequacies upon him and reject his offer of sufficiency. This is why the Bible consistently warns against unbelief.
Unbelief is a disposition which erodes confidence in the integrity of God. Unbelief doesn't always blatantly say God can't achieve this, it is more subtle. Unbelief refuses to believe that with God all things are possible, even the very things we do not want to change. Unbelief undermines the Lord's credibility to promise and fulfill on his words and justifies our disobedience. It establishes our distorted perception as right and cultivates self-righteousness and indignation. It raises a fist to God whilst tolerating the rebellion which causes the setback. It blinds us of the Lord's providence whilst selfishly disguises ambition.
So how does one cultivate a vision for the Lord's promise land?
Well, it starts with realising you're not the only one with the vision. Rather the Lord has given all his people the capacity to see the citizenry of the kingdom and has deposited the manifold wisdom of God in them for the good of the commonwealth. Truly the Kingdom of Heaven is from within and those who unlock this treasure will be forever satisfied with the promise and fulfillment in Christ.
Fellow citizen next time you think of murmuring, ask yourself if the problem your having is with YOUR promise land.
For King and for country...