This morning, I completed another book in my every-other-year journey through the Bible. This time it was the Book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Pentateuch. And one particular verse stood out for me in the closing chapters:
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live. (Numbers 33:55, NAS)
Pricks in our sides and thorns in our sides. That's what those things God wants us to be rid of become if we don't deal with them as they are revealed to us. If we aren't rid of them, they will trouble us in the land in which we live. You know those inhabitants I mean. Deceit. Gossip. Gluttony. Jealousy and envy. Lack of self-discipline. Prayerlessness. Forsaking gathering with other disciples. Failure to love others as ourselves. Stinginess. Worry. The list goes on and on.
The above verse serves as a reminder to me that salvation happens in an instant but sanctification takes a lifetime. It's up to me, with God's guidance, to drive out those "inhabitants of the land," those sins that have dwelled inside me, those things I have "practiced" doing (1st John 3:7-8) that aren't pleasing to God. God wants us to inhabit a land of righteousness, to become more and more like Jesus with each passing year.
With this lesson speaking to my heart, I opened the devotional Jesus Calling and found this entry for February 26th:
I AM LEADING YOU, STEP BY STEP, through your life. Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide you through this day. Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy—even precarious. That is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine. This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you.
Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me. I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that. Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go.
Wow! A powerful reminder not to worry about the future. Doing so is rebellion. Letting worry inhabit me will be a prick in my eyes and a thorn in my side. It will trouble me right here where I live.
What inhabitants have you allowed to live in the land God has given you? Are you ready to drive them out?