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Numbers 32: 11                    NIV

Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old or more who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promise on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I quoted from Dr. Jim Richard’s book How To Stop the Pain earlier this week. In that book Richard’s teaches that the way to happiness and a life of security and freedom is in following Jesus wholeheartedly. I would suggest that advice shows the way to the promised land that our Father has for us.

God is not trying to keep us out of the promise. He is trying to lead us into receiving all of His good gifts. Unfortunately, sometimes we quit on Him or do not go in the direction where the provision lies. I often think of it like the old Pony Express system. The riders needed to follow a prescribed route because that is where there supplies were stationed. God has already provided everything we need also but it is on the prearranged path. God has told us that He has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29: 11) and He has laid out a course and provisioned that route so that we arrive in the promised land on time, nourished and without injury. We just need to stay on track.

How is that actually accomplished though? We speak and write a bit figuratively so how does this apply to real life? I believe there is a practical truth revealed in today’s verse. Although we are living in different times and in a different situation than the Israelites I believe the truth and the revelation is in following Jesus wholeheartedly. I also believe there are several layers of truth in that statement.

First, there are a lot of lukewarm Christians out there. You know them. Some of them even attend your church regularly. Sometimes I fear one of them looks back at me from her home in my mirror. How do we prevent ourselves from being what I call a “Cultural Christian”? Somehow our Christianity ought to color our lives. There ought to be a difference in our lives since Jesus came into it and I do not mean that we attend church every week. A cultural Christian can do that. No, this is a heart matter. There ought to be something changed about us so that Jesus, his current thoughts, his teachings and his example are important to us. Do we really consider what it means to be under his lordship on a daily basis? Do we let him affect our thinking and decisions? Do we talk to him as if he really is our very best friend? Are we following him wholeheartedly or maybe just halfheartedly?

Second, as I said, this is a heart matter. Apparently we are supposed to follow Jesus with our hearts, even our whole hearts. So, our life in Christ is an internal matter. It is not for others to determine the commitment of our hearts. This wholehearted devotion to our professed Lord is not external, in other words, it is not about the things we do. It is not even mental as in study. A heart that loves Jesus will certainly show itself in study and actions but they are only the product. We are meant to have a heart connection with Jesus. He is supposed to influence our hearts and perhaps we even affect his. This is not an intellectual relationship, it is not a work relationship. We are supposed to follow Jesus with our hearts. For some people this is challenging because we have anesthetized our hearts in a vain attempt not to feel or express emotion. But we have learned that we will not enter the promised land if we do not follow Jesus wholeheartedly. This is not because our Father doesn’t want us reaping all the blessings of the promised land. It is just simple logistics. The way to the promised land is through Jesus and the way to Jesus is through the heart. It’s just how it is.

There is a way. The way has been marked out for us. Supplies have been stationed all along the way so that we will always have our needs met. However, there is only one way whether we like it or not and that is in following Jesus, his ways and his teachings with our whole heart.

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