April 18, 2018
Verse for the Week: Matthew 16: 24-25; “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
Here’s a tough question for you: Do you want to change?
In other words, do you want to be more different tomorrow than you are today? Better? More available to others? Deeper relationships? Improved emotional, physical, or spiritual health?
This week we are exploring a lesson found in Joshua 6:1-27 about the walls in our life that need to come down. I decided to write about this issue because Father’s Day came upon me unaware this year. With the losses of both my father and the father of my children, this holiday can be emotionally unsettling. It caused me to ask some tough questions about the walls I’ve built in response to loss, disappointment, insecurity, and pain.
Some of us build internal walls around our hearts, and others build external walls around our lives. Either way, these walls are designed to protect us from the trauma of living an unpredictable life here on planet earth.
For example, I have a wall built with bricks of pride, self-sufficiency, and insecurity for what the future holds. This wall, built over years of loss and disappointment, often keeps me from investing in relationships that require a healthy amount of risk. Resultantly, it has kept me safely between the borders of little risk and little reward.
How about you? Can you identify the bricks in your wall? The ones you’ve erected over the years?
Although heartache and disappointment are inevitable, and pain is a sure thing, even the best-lived lives engineer some pretty sturdy walls. It’s inherent to human nature to build walls of protection. Instinct. Reaction. Every hit we take, a brick or two goes up until one day we find ourselves safe and somewhat alone within the fortress of protection we’ve built.
And all too often, we settle into our safe surroundings unaware of what we are missing. That is until God knocks and calls us out. This is what He did with the Israelite people.
After wandering forty long years in the desert, managing crippling disappointment, harsh elements, and all kinds of insecurity, the Israelites finally had the Land of Canaan in their sights. The journey was long, and I’m sure they were short on hope, but they arrived nonetheless, their feet settling on the sacred ground of the Promised Land. The problem—they must conquer it.
The conquest of Canaan is a constructive metaphor of God’s plan for your life and mine. Like the journey of the Israelites, God wants to bring us into a place of Providence, purpose, and provision. It’s His plan for you. It’s His plan for me. It’s called the Promised Land.
However, to gain access, we too must conquer it. But how? We must find our way back to the hard questions.
What walls have you built and why? Are they keeping you from God’s best plan for your life? Perhaps you hear God calling you to new territory, but to get there, you must tear down an old wall that isn’t serving a functional purpose anymore?
Truth is, some of our walls served us well for a time. We needed the boundary, the safety, and predictability of confined spaces. But maybe it’s time to start deconstructing a wall or two. One that no longer proves beneficial.
When we sense God’s hand leading us into new and uncharted territory, we can resist and live within the walls we’ve built. Or we can concede to His call and engage in battle because there are battles to fight, enemies to face, and walls to tear down. All of which keep us from God’s best.
The battle of Jericho was the first challenge of possession in the new territory God was giving them as a favored nation. A walled fortress stood in their way. Ill-equipped for the fight, obedience to God’s direction was their only hope. He said walk. Walk in silence. Assess the territory. Honor Me in humility and reverence. And when the time is right, the walls will fall.
And fall they did. What a spectacular sight and sound that must have been! I bet the ground shook like a mountainous earthquake. The broken rock and mortar, a plume of consuming dust confirming the divine order of His power. Jaws dropping, hearts pounding, hopes soaring.
We all have a wall of Jericho in our lives to conquer. Something that is keeping you from where God wants to take you. What He wants to give you. The experience He has waiting for you on the other side.
It’s time to start walking around your walls. Assess the territory. Walk in humble silence. Ask the hard questions. Listen for His direction and wait for Him to work. Your walls are coming down, and it will be a glorious sight when they do. Your eyes will surely see life anew.
You can bank on the words of Jesus found in our verse this week, “…whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
Lord God, thank you for your patience, persistence, and divine power to demolish the walls that need to come down. Help me surrender my pride and walk in obedience to you so I can see and experience what is on the other side. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What walls are hemming you in, keeping you safer than you need to be, paralyzing your forward momentum in work, life, relationships?
Scripture says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30). Obedience evidenced their faith. They believed therefore they obeyed.
God gave the Israelites victory over an enemy that was trying to keep them from the Promised Land, but they would need to participate, heed His instructions, activate their faith, and put one foot in front of the other.
This week, pick a wall—any wall—and start walking. Put one faithful foot in front of the other and watch as it comes tumbling down. First step—decide that the victory is certain. Second step—seek God’s direction. Third step—walk in faith. Then, keep walking till the wall comes down.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed and let the divine demolition begin!