You can find the introduction to the Possession Series here.
Isn’t it amazing how something can start out right and end up so wrong? When the whole nation of Israel walked away from their captors into freedom, it seemed like the hard work was behind them. But according to God’s plan, the work was just beginning. As they journeyed through the wilderness they were a unit of one. Up until now God had done it all. Up until now their oneness was assumed. But things were about to change. They would begin the work of possessing their own land. Their oneness was about to be tested by their enemies.
Faith unites, fear divides
The Israelites were shown the good and the bad of this project. Their enemies were threatening but God meant for this intimidation to unite them in their quest to conquer and possess the land He had given them: their land. Instead of being empowered by faith, they chose fear, and everyone except Joshua and Caleb saw only obstacles and none of the promise. By focusing on the problems, these leaders played right into Satan’s sphere of fear and took down all the people with them!
Fear led the whole nation in the complete opposite direction of what God had said, “Scout it! Conquer and possess it!” They chose the advice of the majority instead of obeying Joshua and Caleb, who were telling them what they already knew, “God is able!”
Satan got the dissension that he set out to achieve: division among the nation based on fear. Even though God had taken steps to show them the goodness and blessings before they began, they didn’t start out with the end in mind.
United in faith
There is a huge correlation here to our marriages. We start out so right: A wedding. A celebration of Oneness and a promise of hope and faith. But then life begins to happen, unity is stressed and tested and we turn against each other. The natural contrast between male and female – which God intended to unite us as powerful allies against our common enemy – is turned inward towards each other. Our focus is wrong: We try to possess the wrong thing and use the wrong weapons against the wrong enemy. We are blinded to the blessing that comes with the original purpose of marriage.
Satan’s strategy of negative focus in marriage will yield the same results as it did for the nation of Israel: infighting to division. Negative thoughts get stuck in our minds as we focus on difficulties. Soon we think all the problems in our marriage are giant sized and unconquerable, even by God. As our focus narrows into singular concentration, every little offence (real or imagined) is magnified into an impasse. And Satan slips through the crack that we’ve opened and whispers:
- “he always does this”
- “this marriage will never change”
- “there is no other choice
- “there is no way this marriage can last”
- “this is just impossible to live with”
- “this just is not fair”
- “this is not right”
Focusing on these obstacles causes them to grow, in our reality, turning them into mythic giants. Soon the vision of your husband gets corrupted, which leads to a view of hopelessness in the marriage. Losing sight of the blessing is a scary place to be, but the saddest part is that fear has replaced your faith in God’s power of healing and restoration.
Fear always begins in the mind. The heart ruminates on thoughts and finally gives birth to actions. Can you see it? It is exactly the same technique that Satan used with the Israelites! It is a scare tactic meant to keep us away from our blessing.
Level headed faith
There probably is some unfairness in your marriage and probably some character traits or habits that are hard to live with. Both of you are broken people living in a broken world; broken people are hurt and hurting people hurt others.
Don’t deny the obstacles that are obviously present, or the tribulations that come with an offence. Rather, let faith lead your focus to the truth that overcomes obstacles. Faith will encourage you to say, “I will go at once and possess my marriage of milk and honey, for I am well able to conquer any obstacle” (paraphrased for application). Faith like Caleb’s enables us to look past the obstacles without denying their reality. He didn’t disagree with anything that the scouts said. He didn’t try to explain away any of the obstacles, argue the truth about their size, or deny that they existed. He simply responded with truth: Let us go up at once and possess it; we are well able to conquer it.
You already have been given a marriage of milk and honey. All that is needed is possession.
Is someone saying your husband is not good? (that’s a giant) Is someone saying you have to leave your marriage because you have no other choice? (that’s a giant) Or are they saying that your current situation is impossible to live in? (yep, giant)
People mean well. They just don’t realize they are being used by the enemy to direct your focus onto the current obstacles instead of the blessing of the plan that comes after the obstacles. Paul told us to keep our eyes on the prize and keep moving forward. We do that by laying aside the sin of fear and the comments of the nay-sayers, the bad reports.
A universal truth of God’s design is that whenever there is a wide opened door of opportunity, there will also be many adversaries. Marriage is that open door of opportunity, so we can expect our Adversary to push back. Let your focus pass over those giants, right into the promise that God showed you when you first met your husband. Each obstacle you conquer will bring you closer to possessing a marriage of milk & honey.