My oldest daughter takes claim with ease and resilience of what she believes is hers. This behavior is most apparent when a “prized possession”, that she’s forgotten all about, is found in the hands of her little sister. Like a strike of lightening, the statement of ownership is made plain before us all. The long-forgotten possession placed upon the pedestal of utmost importance.
Why does seeing her valueless toy in the hands of her sister drum up such emotion, such a need for proclamation and ownership?
There is humor for me, as the parent in these encounters. I chuckle to myself, as if I can’t wrap my mind around her reactive thinking. Yet my thought pattern is not that different from hers when I am confronted with someone being used by God in a way, I thought He would use me. I want to proclaim, “hey, what about me?” When I see others walk through open doors I have been praying for, I whine, “hey wait, that’s supposed to be my blessing, my open door, my opportunity.” I get possessive about my gifts and abilities.
Deuteronomy 10:8-9 says, “Keep every command I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to cross into and possess the land you are to inherit, and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your fathers to give them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.
God has planted in our hearts as believers, the longing to take possession of what He has promised us. But the ability to walk into the promise He has for us happens in His time and according to His plan and when He thinks we are ready.
Two things occur to me as I read these verses from Deuteronomy. One, the claim of possession is empty when it is expressed apart from relationship. If the Israelites were given the promised land to possess without first being in relationship with God – set apart as a holy people – their claim to the land would be invalid, and assumptive. In short, they failed to possess the land for 40 years because they did not understand the weightiness of walking in the promise or have the desire for relationship with God.
The commandments God laid out were like a ninja warrior course, readying the Israelites to take possession of the land. Strength, agility and endurance for what they would encounter as they crossed the Jordan River into the land flowing with milk & honey. They could not enter the promised land without first walking in the ways of God, giving their heart, soul, mind and strength to him.
Secondly, God’s promise is not just for me. His promises, his blessings are for all people. There is more than enough to go around. But when I get possessive about my blessing, and how God is or isn’t using me, it demonstrates that I am not ready to handle carrying the responsibility that comes with stepping into His promises. This realization hit me like a blow to the stomach, mirror held up, ouch. No running from the truth.
I pray that God would reveal to you the state of your heart regarding possession. What promise are you taking possession of that you are not ready to possess? What promise are you NOT taking possession of that God is urging you to stake claim over? And to whom are you looking at with eyes of comparison, claiming their promise as your own?