We are saved by grace and grace alone.
In Pursuit of Purpose
The following is a transcript of a message bro. Myles Munroe taught in one of Mark Chironna's shows on TBN Europe.
[I suggest you save the text of this study by selecting it (i.e. the text itself), then right-clicking your mouse and choosing Copy; open your word-processor and choose Paste (or press Ctrl+V); then read it at leisure off-line.]
Here is the message:
Brother Mark [Chironna] mentioned today that some of the things that changed his life was the message on purpose and we've been so blessed to be able to share this message with so many millions of people around the world and we've gotten letters from over 70 countries in our office, people finding out about the message of purpose, 'cause this is a basic human need. And there is a book you can get on the pursuit of purpose, and many of you have heard brother Mark talk about it tonight and of how it changed his life. If you want a copy of this, contact your nearest Christian bookstore, you can get this, it is called: In Pursuit of Purpose. I wrote this book after eleven years of contemplation and finding out how to get some answers to life. It'll be a blessing to you.
Tonight I want to speak to you on a topic that I very much feel is very critical today. We have just entered a brand-new century, a brand-new millennium and a brand-new year. We've also entered a brand-new decade. So everything is new right now and we are just halfway into the first year in this particular decade and into this particular century, it is the year 2 000. And something happened all over the world, we all are aware of that, on 31 December something happened. And what happened was that we moved into also a new day. When we say that sometimes it sounds so nebulous and so kinda out there spiritual but we literally moved into a new day. Many of the scholars today are saying that we moved into what we call 'the Day of the Lord'. The 'Day of the Lord' is known as the seventh day. This is the day that we would number as the day of rest. And according to the chronological, Biblical time code, when you read from the creation of Adam to the present time, we edit 7 000 years. And the Bible says that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years could be as a day. So if we were to use that kind of a scenario, you could say that we just entered the seventh day of God. That's not surprising, because the sixth day is also the day of man, and that's the period where God does everything through man but man also does everything with God. In the seventh day, that's when God begins to do things by Himself. He begins to move miraculously. This is called the season of Jubilee. The seventh year is the year when the land has to rest and people have to kind of relax for a little bit. And I think that the word 'Sabbath' or 'shabat', as they call it in Hebrew, doesn't mean that you don't do anything. It simply means that you sit back and you enjoy what you've created. And that's what God did on the seventh day. For six days He worked, He developed, He created, He made things, on the seventh day He began to enjoy what He created. He began to appreciate and to expand what He created. So the seventh day literally means not to do nothing. But it means that you appreciate what you have achieved. If you work seven days a week, the Bible says you should at least rest one of those days. And the reason for that is, if you work six days to build a house, live in it on the seventh day, enjoy it, if you take six days to work for paying for a car, then the seventh day, go drive it. Drive the car. A lot of people spend all their lives working and never enjoy what they created, what they developed. And so the seventh day is a very important principle. And this is where we are right now in the scheme of God's calendar, I believe, we are in that day, the seventh day.
I want to talk to you about what that day also means, it is a day we have entered into a period called 'Freedom'. Jubilee, He referred to as freedom or liberty. But I want to talk about the subject from a different point of view. I want to talk to you tonight about the burden of freedom. And that's a paradox. I just finished a brand new book, and it will be in the stores in a few weeks and this book is entitled exactly that: The Burden of Freedom.
90% of the people on this planet are not free. That is a pretty bold statement to make. But I am going to try and help you understand what I mean by that, 'cause I was not free and in some areas of my life I am still struggling with true freedom. We all strive for freedom. We want to be free. We want to know what it is like to live without any inhibitions and fear.
So we talk about freedom. There is a burden that comes with freedom.
I want to begin with an illustration that may help you. There was a scientific experiment done some years ago where they wanted to know the power of conditioning. So what they did was they took a beautiful healthy dog and tied this dog to a stake in the ground on a chain. And then took some very rich smelling food and they put it to the dog. The dog ate the food. The next day they took some more food to the dog and this time they took the food and moved it away from the dog until the chain could not reach the food. And the dog dashed at the food, but the chain yanked him back and he could not eat. The next day they brought food again and placed it at the same place. The dog ran at the food, forgot about the chain and of course he could not reach the food, and the chain yanked him back and he felt the pain. They did this for seven days and on the eighth day the dog, when the food came out, he just looked at the food. They brought the food on the ninth day, he just looked at the food. The tenth day, he just looked at the food. He didn't move from the stake. As a matter of fact, he stood very close to the stake. On the eleventh day, the scientists came and they loosed the chain from the dog's neck. And they brought the food on the eleventh day, and when they brought the food out, the dog just looked at the food. And he was free! On the twelfth day, they brought the food back. And the dog just looked at the food, without any chains restraining him. In other words, the dog became so conditioned to being in bondage, that BONDAGE BECAME NORMAL!
It is possible for you and I to live that way and not even know it. You can become so conditioned to slavery, and to oppression, and to bondage that, even when freedom comes, you cannot appreciate freedom. As a matter of fact, freedom has a great price, because freedom costs you something.
There is no greater burden than freedom! And that is a paradox. No heavier load than freedom. As a matter of fact, sudden freedom can overwhelm a slave and literally cause him to go back into slavery and to actually enjoy the slavery! And this is one of the reasons why so many people love bondage. Sounds paradoxical, hey?
The security of slavery is the absence of responsibility. I am going to pause to help you get these principles. I am going to repeat that again. The security of slavery is the absence of responsibility. You see, the comfort of oppression is the absence of self-determination. When you are in oppression and someone else takes care of you, then you really lose the sense of responsibility for your life, and you end up actually enjoying people taking care of you.
In fact, the attraction of subjugation or slavery is the privilege of blame. What do we mean by that? When you are oppressed, when you have been in slavery or bondage for a long time, whether it is physical bondage, or mental bondage, or bondage of sin, whatever it is, that bondage, if you have been in that for a long time, you can actually end up having the privilege of blaming your oppressor for your condition. That's why people love bondage. Bondage sets you free from being responsible for your own behavior.
For example, more men are afraid of freedom than they are of slavery. There is another paradox. People are afraid of freedom. Now I know many of you are saying there: What is he talking about, how can people want to be in slavery? Well, I have found out that the cry for freedom usually ends in the murmur of regret. When people strive and cry for freedom, when it actually begins to approach them, they back off and they go back into slavery.
And I am going to show you tonight why that actually happens, but first let me just tell you some thoughts that may help you understand the cry for freedom.
The child demands freedom from his parents.
The spouse demands freedom from his or her partner.
The slave demands freedom from his or her master.
The colony demands freedom from the imperial oppressor.
The youth demands freedom from the laws of inhibition and prohibition.
The subjects demand freedom from their dictators.
Everybody is crying for freedom.
What do we mean when we say: Are you free tonight? If I said that to you--Are you free tonight?--, what would you say? Obviously you would say: Yes, I am free. And a lot of religious people, especially Christians, they say they have become free in Jesus, 'I have been set free', and 'He set me free'.
And when you think about it, these people are still in bondage. A lot of bondages. We are going to explain that tonight.
The general perception and concept we hold of freedom is really the problem. For example, The absence of laws and restrictions we call 'Freedom'. How about 'Freedom' means: Being void of work and obligations. 'I ain't gotta work no more, so I am finally free.' How about this one: Retirement from responsibility. 'Don't gotta go to work no more'. There are people who dream of being a millionaire at forty, do you know why? They don't want to work. They want to spend all their lives on a golf course or maybe just shopping. Right, ladies? How about this one: 'Freedom' to some people is the right to do as you please? They call that 'Freedom'. How about this one: 'Freedom' is eternal relaxation. That means to do nothing for ever! Sounds like a Christian's dream of heaven. How about this one for 'Freedom': The release from external controls. In other words, when a person is free from the controls of external input, they consider themselves free.
However, all of these concepts of freedom are very dangerous. And they are also erroneous, because freedom must always have responsibility and laws. You see, freedom imposes more laws than slavery. Now there's a paradox. I want to repeat that, 'cause it kind of throws you off a little bit. Freedom imposes more laws on you than slavery. Secondly, freedom demands more work than slavery. You have to work harder in freedom than you did in slavery. I am going to explain that in a moment. Thirdly, freedom requires more responsibility than slavery. In slavery you don't have to be responsible for nothing. You are told when to get up, what to do, how long to do it, when to stop, when to bathe, when to eat, how much to eat, when to go to sleep, where to sleep, I mean in slavery everything is done for you. There is no responsibility on your part. What a tragedy.
And next, freedom imposes more the need for control than slavery. In other words, people think that slavery means that people control your life. No, freedom demands more control than slavery, because in freedom you have got to control yourself. And that's tough to do. You see, slavery and oppression and subjugation is more attractive than freedom because the demands of freedom are higher than the demands in slavery or oppression.
The delivered must be prepared for freedom. And that's why God never takes us directly into freedom. There's a paradox again. You know, I was thinking, when we think of freedom we need to understand what it really is.
In the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 8, I want to turn there for a minute, and read something striking concerning the process of freedom from the Bible. It would help you in your business, in your home life, in your personal walk with God spiritually, and also if you are not a Christian, this will help you understand what you need to do to discover true freedom in your life and how to find it in Christ Jesus. Deuteronomy, chapter 8, if you have your Bibles with you right there in the hotel room, get the Gideon Bible from the drawer, it will be a good one to read. In the Book of Deuteronomy 8, look at verse 1, God says:
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your fathers.
Remember how the Lord God led you all the way in the desert these forty years.
He is referring now to people who were in slavery and in oppression for over four hundred years. These were the Israelites. For four hundred and thirty years these people were in Egypt and much of those years ended up in slavery and oppression. And God told them in verse 2, He says:
Remember how I brought you and led you all the way in the desert for forty years to humble you and to test you.
Underline that, please
To humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart.
Underline the word 'heart'. The word 'heart' there does not mean the thing in your chest. It means your mind, the Hebrew word here is actually 'mind' or 'subconscious mind'. It's a powerful word! He says: I put you in the desert and led you there for how long? Forty years, to test what was in your mind. I was working on your mentality. Very important statement here. Look at the next statement. He says:
I wanted to test your heart to see whether or not you would keep my laws and my commands.
God humbled you, causing you to hunger, and feeding you with manna.
Now, look at that statement. It says God caused them to hunger. Sometimes we think that hunger is from the devil. You know: 'The devil has taken my food.' No. Many times God takes away your food. Why? He is working on a mentality problem. He says:
I caused you to hunger and then I fed you.
Read on. He says: He humbled you,
caused you to hunger and fed you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known to teach you ...
I did this to teach you ...
I did this to teach you ...
He made you hungry to teach you something???
I did this to teach you that man does not live on bread alone. But by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Now that's where Jesus got that from when He quoted it when he was attacked by satan in the desert. And it always happens in the desert. We will talk about that in a minute. Christ had His desert also.
Your clothes did not wear out, ...
Watch this, verse 4:
... your feet did not swell for forty years.
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord ...
... disciplines you.
You know this is heavy stuff here. This is the kind of preaching that a lot of people don't like to preach, especially charismatic preachers, because it really talks about some heavy stuff here. God's talking about a people who He wants to set free from bondage. And He says, to do this I have got to do some things to you. Let's take a look at Exodus, chapter 13. What you are about to read will be detrimental to your ignorance. So be careful!
Now, let's paint the picture here. There's a group of people, almost a million of them. They are in slavery under the dominion of a powerful empire, headed by a leader who thinks he is a god. And that's Pharaoh. As a matter of fact, Pharaohs believed they were sons of God, they came from the gods. And so the empire of Egypt was the most powerful empire on the earth at that time. And they ruled this group of people, the children of Israel, or the sons of Jacob. And they were in bondage. We know the story about them, how they were literally forced into slave labor camps. And they were made to build the big cities of Egypt. They were under oppression.
Now here's something important: In slavery these people had no real estate. They did not have any land ownership.
They had no houses. Their houses were owned by the oppressor.
They had no schedule. The schedule was owned by the oppressor.
They had no resources. Everything they had came and was owned by the oppressor.
Even their children became property of the government.
Could you imagine that? Their marriages were dictated by the government. These people were literally property of the Egyptian empire.
That's total slavery and oppression.
These people never had to get up in the morning and make a plan for their lives. Why? You don't plan if someone plans your life for you. They could not dream of the future, there was no future mentality. Why? Your life is in the hands of an oppressor. There is no use of frustrating yourself with a future plan. And then, in slavery they didn't have to worry about some other things, like rent. And this is important here. In slavery you don't pay rent. Why? Because the oppressor takes over your housing. In slavery you don't have to buy food. Why? Because it is in the oppressor's best interests to keep you healthy, so he feeds you good food, because you are his work labor force. Thirdly, you don't pay any educational fees, because the oppressor takes your children and schools and trains them into slavery to actually continue en perpetuate his labor force. Then, in slavery you don't have to worry about any problems, because they take care of your medical needs, because they keep you healthy because you are good product for slavery labor.
Isn't it amazing, in slavery everything is good!!
When you read the Bible about these people, it reminds me of you and I. Because when they were crying out for freedom, they cried for freedom for over three hundred years. And God ... I believe God was waiting until He was sure they really wanted it. And then, what does God do? God then appoints a little baby, named Moses. His name is Moshe in Hebrew, and it means 'through the waters', which is very interesting. And we know the story about this little boy, the Prince of Egypt, as we call him, and his mother hid him in this basket, his sister watched him and of course Pharaoh's daughter came for a bath and she took him back into the castle, his big sister Miriam decided that she would bring him up and of course she became hired as a maid and as a nurse, and so Moses, his name was, was brought up in Pharaoh's castle and he became a son of Pharaoh, adopted by his wife and of course Pharaoh made Moses his son.
Moses was still a Hebrew and his people were slaves and oppressed.
Moses was born for the purpose of setting them free.
By the way whatever you were born to do will always be manifested by the thing that makes you angry. I want to repeat that again. If you are not sure what you were born to do, just check what makes you angry, and you'll probably find your purpose in life. In other words, if you get angry when you see poor people, then your ministry is probably to poor people. If you get angry when you see young people on the street just wayward, if that makes you angry, then maybe you are called to work with youth. In other words, your anger reveals your passion and your purpose. When Moses saw an Egyptian attacking and punishing a Hebrew ... , remember now, Moses is a ... , he's an Egyptian Prince. But he was born for the purpose of setting them free. So when he saw the oppression something went off in Moses and he became angry. And he couldn't handle it anymore. Listen, you do not become successful until you find something that makes you mad. Remember that!
If you come against something that makes you angry, you're getting close to what you really were born to do. Moses became angry, he took up a piece of wood, and he killed the Egyptian soldier that was hurting the Hebrew person, and the Hebrew person of course was shocked and said: Hey, you're an Egyptian Prince, and you're helping me, and of course Moses obviously revealed himself and of course it became a big secret to them and later on, when it was found out, Moses became a fugitive and he went and he hid and he became a fugitive in the desert for forty years.
God came and met him in this burning bush and said: Moses, I want you to come and do what your were always born to do. And by the way, your purpose is never new to you. Whatever you always wanted to do is what you were born to do. I want to say it again. Come up real close now. Whatever you always wanted to do is what you were really born to do. You knew it when you were ten years old. Fifteen years old, it kept coming back when you were twenty years old. Whatever you always wanted to do is what you were born to do. That's probably why you hate your job. Because your job is not what you REALLY want to do.
Purpose has to do with your reason for being created. And Moses, even though he didn't know God personally the way he wanted to, yet the desire to set these people free was there even when he was a young teenager. And now he is a man much older, forty years later, and God says to Moses through the burning bush, He says: 'Mo, ... aaahh ... do you still want to do what you always wanted to do?' And Moses says: 'What are you talking about?' He says: 'You always wanted to set 'em free, right?' 'Yes, I know.' He says: 'Then let's go get them!' Isn't that beautiful? See, whatever you were born to do, God always wanted you to do. And you also want to do it. That's why some people are afraid to come to the Lord and give their lives to Him, because many religious leaders have taught them that God is going to make you do something you don't like to do. And yet the Bible disagrees, the Bible says if you trust in the Lord, then He will give you the desires ... not of His heart ... but of YOUR heart. And by the way the heart, again, does not refer to the chest, He's talking about that subconscious mind. Those things that keep going on in your mind and keep coming back; God says: I put them there. They're natural. 'And that's what I want you to do.' And: 'Moses, do you want to go and do it?'
Now, Moses' resistance was not based on the fact that he didn't want to do it, Moses had some circumstances that seemed very difficult. First, he was a fugitive, I mean, you can't go back to the town where you are a fugitive and tell the police chief: 'I want the people!' So Moses said: 'I can't go back and tell them that, I am WANTED! And God says: 'I'll be with you!' And then He says: 'Moses, what do you have in your hand.' And he says: 'A piece of wood.' He says: 'Good, you tried that before didn't you? You tried to set 'em free with a piece of wood before. Let's try it again with a piece of wood. You know, the same gift you had when you were thirteen, the same gift God wants to use at 31. Your gifts don't change. YOU CHANGE!! God loves you even when you don't know Him. And the gift you have belongs to Him. Salvation is simply God reclaiming His wood. Reclaiming His gift. When you give them back to Christ you give Him what He already owns back to Him. So God says: 'Moses, give me the wood. This time we'll use the wood again. And Moses did, he gave God the wood, the Holy Spirit moved upon the wood, and of course before ... you know, this is interesting, Moses was a shepherd at that time, we all know that, and you know shepherds carry this piece of wood, they call a staff and a rod, and of course the rod part is the straight part, and the staff is the part that's curved, and that staff part is what they use to kind of protect the sheep to keep them together, and the rod part is to kind of discipline the sheep to keep them in line. So you got the rod and the staff, and they will comfort you, sometimes will spank you, other times He will carefully guide you back in line. So you need both the rod for correction and you need the staff for comfort.
And this is what Moses had in his hand. Secondly, a shepherd's life was in his rod. As a matter of fact, everything a shepherd did in his life he put a mark on the rod with a knife. If he killed a bear, he'd put a mark, if he killed some animal that tried to destroy a sheep, he would put a mark, if he found a water hole, he'd put a certain mark on that rod to remember where that water hole was. In other words, if you picked up a shepherd's rod you really held his life in your hands. So when God said to Moses: 'Give me your rod,' he was really asking for his life. And Moses gave God his life. And the Holy Spirit moved upon his life, and then God said: 'Pick it up!' He picked it up, and God said: Now, it is no longer the rod of Moses, it is the rod of God. Same rod, but this time under new management. And that's what God wants to do with all of our lives. He wants the gifts, the talents, every single memory, all the regrets, everything you got marked in your life that is even hurting you, God says: 'Bring it all to Me.' I want to put my Holy Spirit on all of your problems, all of your history, all of your successes, and I am going to make it all Mine. Isn't it great that God has all of your regrets, they belong to God. So stop worrying about your past, I T ' S G O D ' S P A S T !!
Moses then took the rod, picked it up and says: 'Okay, I'll go', and he went, and we know the story, he went and set the people free. Freedom, again, is an amazing thing. Moses went to the people, and here's a first step of freedom. God always tells you about freedom while you are in slavery. Moses didn't take them out first and then told them about the land. He told them about this land with milk and honey while they were in Egypt. There's a principle there. God tells you about wealth when you are in poverty. God tells you about healing while you are sick. God tells you about lack and plenty while you have lack. God tells you about salvation while you are a sinner. In other words, God doesn't wait till things change to tell you about change. He gives you hope in the midst of despair. And that's the way freedom begins. It begins with a promise in the midst of pressure. Moses told the people there is a land, God told me to tell you about, it's filled with what? ... milk and honey, there is freedom in this land, and the land is the land of Canaan. And Moses told the people that and it took a while for them to agree with him but they eventually said 'Okay, we'll go.' And we know the story that Moses took those people and he led them after much pressure on Pharaoh out of Egypt. But don't take this too quickly now. Watch this! God told the people about Canaan, the land of freedom, while they were in Egypt, the land of oppression and slavery. But He didn't tell them about Sinai. You see, God may tell you about all the good results you are going to have, but He doesn't tell you about the process, otherwise you'd turn back before you start. Now this is important to understand. A lot of people, when God makes a promise to them, they think it is going to be fulfilled tomorrow morning!! And some of you watching this program or in the studio, you have been believing God for something He told you about and you are wondering why it is taking so long, and why you have to go through so much pressure and difficulty and disappointment, because God ain't too excited to give you what He promised you, He is excited about preparing you for what He promised you. You are going to understand in a minute.
You see, you need a mentality to handle a miracle. A lot of people want Canaan with Egypt mentality. Nothing can destroy Canaan faster than Egyptian mentality. And so God says to Moses, 'Take 'em out', but God told Moses: We're going to take 'em in the desert.' He didn't tell the people that. He told Moses that. Look at chapter thirteen. Let's pick up the story here where they are now just freshly out of Egypt. Look at the story, it says:
When Pharaoh let the people go God did not lead them on the road to the Philistine country. Though that was ... what? ... shorter. But God said: If they face war, they might change their minds and return to slavery.
Wait a minute!! What does God know? Something God knows here. Verse 18:
So God led them around the desert the long way toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
End quote. Now a couple of things here we got a problem here with, I got to talk to you about this. First of all, you know, my wife and I, she and I, we went to Egypt and we went to Israel many times. And the first time I went to Egypt I went into shock. We were in Israel first, in Tel Aviv and we left Tel Aviv to go to Egypt. The plane went up and in thirty minutes it came down.
And I said: 'What are you doing, these people are crazy, we are not in Egypt already!'
And the stewardess ... , I said: 'Are we already landing so quickly?'
She said: 'Yes, we are in Cairo.'
I said: 'But we just left!'
She said: 'Yes I know, thirty minutes.'
'Yes, that's where Egypt is, that close to Canaan.'
And then I got there and went to the hotel, and one of our guides was talking to me and I said to him: 'How far is Egypt from Israel?'
He says: 'Oh, a few hours' drive, you can walk it in forty days.'
Now wait a minute, wait a minute, I said: 'Are you telling me that from Egypt, if you walk through the desert, you can make it to Israel, Canaan, in forty days' walk?'
He said: 'Yes, people do it all the time with camels.'
I said: 'Wait a minute, let me go and read the Bible again.' Then I went up to me room and read my Bible, and the Bible says: 'And the Lord led the people out of Egypt, but He did not take them directly to Canaan, He took them to the Philistine country, for God says: 'Even though it was shorter to go direct to Canaan, He took them the long way around to meet that body of water. Who took them? God did! This is a mystery!!!
They could have made it to the Promised Land in forty days, it took them forty years. Now, let's learn a lesson here. I think the conclusion of this matter is this: God is more concerned about changing your mind, than He is about changing your location. Think about it. A lot of things that you desire, you are not prepared for. God could take these people from Egypt to Canaan in forty days' walk, but He refused to because He was more concerned about getting Egypt out of them, than getting them into Canaan. And this is the problem of most of the people in the world. Especially Christians!! We come out of sin, with a sin mentality and we want to experience God's greatest and best without the right mentality. And that's why God takes us to another place first. And it's called the wilderness. Sinai. I call Sinai the classroom of God for mental transformation. Let's read, if you will, chapter 14 right across the page, verse 10:
And Pharaoh approached the Israelites and they looked up and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to Moses and the Lord, and they said to Moses: Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to this desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt.
This is funny!!! 'Why did you bring us out of bondage?' That's what they just said. 'We love bondage! We are afraid of responsibility. ' Read it again:
Why did you bring us up out of Egypt?
Didn't we say to you in Egypt: Leave us alone, let us serve the Egyptians.
It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert.
'We prefer slavery rather than freedom.' Look at verse 13.
And Moses said to the people: Do not be afraid, stand firm and you will see the deliverance of the Lord. And He will bring you deliverance this day. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again, Moses said. And the Lord will fight for you. You need only to ...
... what? ...
... be still.
Who will fight for you? The Lord! Who will fight for you? The Lord. We got a problem here in the Bible. Okay. Here's the problem: In chapter 13, verse 18, it says: They left Egypt armed for battle. Interesting!! But then it says in verse 14 of chapter 14: 'The Lord will fight for you'. You know, some folks just look like they're ready to fight. They came out of Egypt, armed for battle, but they had never fought in their lives. Slaves don't have fighting mentality! They are not trained for military work! And most Christians are that way!! We are not trained to handle responsibility. So God says: 'I'll fight for you!'
When does God fight for you? God fights for you ... while you are in the wilderness!!! God pays all your bills in the wilderness. I am going to make some correlation here to help us understand freedom. I hope you'll never forget what I am about to say tonight.
Many confuse freedom with independence. No! Freedom is not independence.
Many confuse freedom for permission ... to do what you feel like. That's not freedom!
Others consider freedom a lack of accountability. That's not freedom!!
Let's talk about a scenario of these people in the wilderness. Follow me carefully, friends!
When they came out, I am going to do an illustration, you got to follow this illustration, they came out of Egypt, oppression or slavery, what was the first thing they ran into? A body of water. How did God open the water? By a miracle! Moses stretched his rod across the water and the water opened, the people walked through ... how? ... on dry ground, the Bible says.
What did the people do to open that water? N O T H I N G !! What did they do to make that miracle happen? N O T H I N G !! They were not involved in the miracle at all. Everything was done a hundred percent by God. A miracle. Moses stretched his rod. God opened the water, they walked through on dry ground, and where did they end up after they walked through? Not in Canaan!! Oh, what a tragedy!!! 'We're going to Canaan, we're going to Canaan!!! This is not Canaan!!! This is desert. This is dry, barren land. Nothing out here!!' And they're there in this dry place called Sinai. What does God do? First He brings free food, everybody say: Free food! In deliverance there is free food. Write the word deliverance down. Deliverance is not freedom. They were delivered from oppression, but they were not free yet.
Deliverance means that you have been taken away from the oppressor.
Freedom means you have been taken away from the oppression.
Being free from the oppressor doesn't mean you are free. It means you are delivered. Moses was a deliverer. Not a freedom fighter. He delivered them from the oppressor, brought them into the desert. And then God began to do something to these people, first He gave them free food. When you are delivered God gives you free food. Let's look at you as a young Christian. When you first get saved, what happens? In an instant you are born again from sin. You come out of sin into salvation. And when you pray anything God give it to you. Have you noticed that? As young Christian you pray for toothpaste. God gives you toothpaste. You pray for some ice-cream, ice-cream came. I mean when you are a young Christian anything happens. Am I right about that? And then the older you grow in the Lord, the less ice creams show up. And you don't find any toothpaste anymore. I want to explain to you why. You see, in deliverance God knows that you do not have what it takes to handle responsibility.
So what God does, He does miracles for you.
He brings free food from heaven.
If you need water, He brings you water from a rock.
If you need health, He puts a serpent on a pole.
If you need clothing, He makes sure they never wear out.
If you need shoes, He makes sure they never wear out.
If you need to be protected, He fights for you.
In other words, in the wilderness God does everything for you. Now, the question is why. It's because God does not want you to be preoccupied with defending and finding food and getting clothing, He wants you to focus on getting your mind renewed. He puts you in the classroom for mental transformation. The Bible says:
Be ye transformed by ... what? ... the renewing of your mind.
Who was He talking to in Romans 12? Christians!!! That means you can be born again and still not be transformed. Now what a mystery!! Paul said that these Christians who are tongue talking, Spirit filled Christians, he said, 'You are still not transformed.' Why? 'You got a mental problem.' He says: 'Be not conformed to this world, you still brought the old world's thinking into the deliverance phase. And the deliverance phase is to work on getting rid of that thinking, that mindset, so you can be transformed into true freedom. And this is where the problem lies with these people in the desert. God gives them everything so that He can train them to think mentally and properly like freedom.
Now, let me tell you something about freedom. The word 'freedom' is made up of two words put together, and actually it is a grammatical construct. The word 'freedom' is the word 'free' and 'dom' and the word 'dom' is from the word 'dominion'. Freedom is actually found in the first book of the Bible, the first chapter, verse 26: And God says:
Let us make man in our own image and in our own likeness and let them have ...
let them ...that's the liberty part,
... have dominion, ...
that's the responsibility part ...
... over the earth.
In other words, 'freedom' is the liberty to dominate the earth. Now please notice He didn't say 'dominate people'. He made a list actually, He said: Dominate 'fish of the sea, birds of the air, trees that grow, plants that grow in the earth, and creatures that creep on all fours.' But He never said dominate another human. Which means that 'freedom' means the liberty to dominate the planet, not other people. Now, how do you dominate the planet, and not dominate people?
Dominion has to do with you using your gift that God gave you to cultivate the planet.
For example, the shoe I am wearing is actually someone's domination.
They took the cow, dominated the hide and made a shoe.
Someone took a tree, dominated the tree and made this podium.
Someone took the oil, dominated the oil and they made gasoline.
Someone took the iron ore from the mountain, and they dominated that particular material and they made your car.
In other words, when a man or a woman takes God's responsibility He gives them and they exercise it, they end up dominating the planet. When a person is free enough to experiment and expand their vision, they bring dominion to the earth.
For example, Bill Gates is a mystery to me, but yet he isn't. Bill Gates went to college, didn't like college, we all know the story about Bill Gates. Bill Gates used to leave college before it was even over, went home to his garage, and he was working on something that he had in his mind, in his heart. This idea about a table top computer. And he called it a 'personal computer'. And every day he would come home and lock himself in that garage and he would work on this thing, and he wasn't working on people, he was working on an idea. And he dominated the idea to the point where he developed something that the whole world is now using, and he is now a multibillionaire. Why? He dominated a portion of the earth.
The man who makes chicken in a certain way, KFC you may call him, they dominated chicken and now it's a multibillion dollar business.
Someone took a hamburger, and dominated the concept and made it a million dollar business.
In other words, what are you born to dominate? Not people. Any society that doesn't allow people to pursue their vision and their passion and their personal dreams are fighting against God's will. God's freedom in that person's life.
Freedom therefore has to do with the ability to pursue your dreams and your purpose and your talents and your gifts to the ultimate to bring glory to God. That's freedom. A lot of us are not free to do that. A matter of fact, our jobs are mostly our prison. Because we can't do what we really want to do on our jobs. Some of us have found our work, but many of us are still trying to find our work. We have found simply a job.
Now, I want to tell you then why God took these people through all of these changes in the desert. He says: 'I did this to test your ... what? ... heart. I was trying to change your mind. Did He get to change it? It's a sad story. Moses ended with three million people, they say, in the desert, and only two made it to freedom. Three million, only two made it. I repeat, three million, only two made it.
Why did God keep them alive? For forty years God tried to change their minds. They wouldn't change their minds. What does God do then? God says: Okay, I cannot change your mind, I'll tell you what I'll do, and it's found in Joshua, chapter 1, it says: I'll kill all of you. Now some of you don't like to hear that word. Let's talk about this in the Bible, man, this is in the Bible. In Joshua 5, the Bible says that ..., look at verse 4:
Now this is why God did this, all those who came out of Egypt, all the men of military age did ... what? ... die in the desert.
That's verse 4 of chapter 5. How many? All of them died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt! God made sure they were all dead. Next verse:
All the people that came out of Egypt had been circumcised, but all the people born ... where? ... in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not been circumcised.
Interesting! The Israelites had moved about in the desert for how many years? Forty years. Until when? Until all the men of military age .. what? ... who had left Egypt, had died! What's the setup? God says: I am going to keep you alive until you die. And I'll make sure you don't enter Canaan, because your mentality ain't right.
I want to say some difficult things right now. If you are not prepared for freedom, God will bury you in deliverance. They were not in slavery. But they were not in freedom either. They were just delivered. And God says: If you don't change mentally, I won't take you any further. A lot of you are asking God for some awesome things, and God is saying: Your desire is not equal to your mentality.
You want your own business, but you are still going to work late.
You want a brand-new car, but the one you've got is filthy.
You want to get married, but you cannot even take care of your own body properly yet.
I mean, there a lot of things you desire but your mentality ain't ready for it.
These people, look at it, he says all of them who were brought out of Egypt died in the desert. Now, how long did God keep them going in circles? It's supposed to take forty days. It took forty years. It means they went in what? A circle! Why? How long? Forty years. How long is forty years? A generation. Who was God waiting for? What they were carrying in their loins.
A lot of people God already gave up on. really. Hope you ain't one of 'em! And God's just waiting for your kids. 'See, I tried to change ye for the last thirty years, but you just ain't willing to change. So I'll just use your daughter or your son. You see, God's more concerned about a mental correctness than He is about a physical location. They wanted Canaan, God wanted a new mindset.
If we don't grow up and change in our generation as a people we are going to literally die still in our deliverance. Even though we are not necessarily in sin. Can I say to you, friends, there's a place God wants to take you that's going to require a new mentality in this next century. The people of God are going to have to take on a new attitude. And I want to close with what that attitude was all about.
It says here a couple of things, very interesting, please read this with me, you won't believe this is in the Bible here. Watch this. Take a deep breath now. Verse 6:
They moved about for forty years until the men of military age who left Egypt had died since they had not ... what ? ... obeyed the Lord.
Why did they die? God could not get them to change their minds. They didn't obey God, they didn't believe God. So what did God do? God made sure they were dead. Hmmmm! Write this down. God will not give you what He promised you, unless you are mentally prepared for it.
No matter what God promised you, you are going to have to be mentally prepared for it. Some of you want God to give you a million dollars, you cannot manage $100! So God protects His million from you. He wants to bless you. But you cannot manage, you don't have the mentality, it takes a mentality to handle a million dollars. A million dollars is not money, it's a mentality. A big house is not a physical structure, it's a mentality. Having your own business is not a business physically , it is a mentality. And these people could not handle it so God killed them all. Pardon my term. He opened the earth many times and it swallowed them up. Who did that? God did, He says! We hate to believe, or even to say it, but says He made sure they were all dead. Now watch this, this is powerful, verse 7:
So God raised up their children in their place ...
Write that down: if you're not ready for change, God will raise up people to take your job. If you don't change mentally, God will bring someone else to take what He wanted to use you for. And there are many people today who are actually fulfilling someone else's assignment because they did not have the mentality for it. Now look at this next statement, verse 7:
He raised them up and they were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. After the whole nation had been circumcised they remained where they were in the camp until they were healed. The Lord said to Joshua: Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. And the place was called Gilgal.
Let me say something about this 'reproach'. 'Reproach' means memory. God says: I don't want your parents to put a mark on the children's body, because I don't want the children to remember what the parents been through. This is a paradox! I have heard people say: 'Don't forget what your momma been through, Don't forget what we been through.' God says, I want them to forget. Because the mentality you brought into this situation is going to destroy you. And if you give it to them, it'll destroy them. There are some things God wants you to forget. Stop blaming the past for your predicament. You must look at the future and change your mentality. God took away their reproach by making sure that their parents did not circumcise them. Now, here's the punchily. Big one here!
On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while they were camped ... where? ... at Gilgal
Where's Gilgal? It's in Canaan. These are the kids now, they're over the second river, they are in freedom, it says here:
The day after the Passover, that very day they ate some of the produce of the land ...
Now watch what's going to happen. Unleavened bread and roasted corn ... where? ... from the land of freedom.
What happened? Suddenly the manna stopped from that day and they ate the food of the land and there was no longer any manna for the Israelites for that year they ate of the produce of ... what? ... Canaan.
Here's the bottom line for tonight. Follow me carefully. You are in slavery. In sin. Oppression. God sends a deliverer. What's a deliverer? Someone who comes to take you out of slavery, into ... where? ... D E L I V E R A N C E. Spiritually speaking you were born in sin, that's slavery. Who does God send? A D E L I V E R E R! Interesting! What does He do, He delivers us from sin and brings us ... where? NOT INTO FREEDOM! Into deliverance!!! Christ Jesus brought us into deliverance!!! But there has to be someone else who takes over after that to change our minds. So He sends another like Himself. The Holy Spirit. His job is to change your mind. To give you the mentality to handle freedom. Joshua represented the Holy Spirit. Not Jesus. Moses represented Jesus. He delivered us from our sins. But Joshua was the one who settle us in the land of all that God promised us. All the gifts and all the wonderful promises that come through the Word, by the power of ... what? ... the Holy Spirit. But guess what, for you to experience the true freedom, something has got to happen. You've got to leave the land of easy living. Free food. Free water. Free clothes. Free shoes. Free protection. And you got to move into the land of R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y. When you enter responsibility, you finally end up in freedom.
That means no more free water.
In Canaan there was no water from the rock.
In Canaan no manna came from heaven.
In Canaan there was no serpent on a pole to bring healing.
In Canaan their shoes wore out.
In Canaan they had to sow their own clothing.
In Canaan they had to literally plant their own corn and reap their own harvest.
In Canaan they had to bake their own bread.
You see, in freedom you got to be responsible for everything. As a believer, I say to you, welcome to freedom. It's hard to live in freedom. 'Cause Pharaoh don't break your bread anymore. He don't build your house for you any more. To be a mature person, you got to wake up at your own alarm clock. Set your own schedule, and begin to believe God to carry through every promise He made you.
You got to get wet to cross the second river. The first one, we didn't get wet. The second one, you will get wet. You got to be a part of the process of the miracle. Joshua got wet.
Can I say to you friends, if you are going to make it in the 21st century, God is saying to us prophetically, I want you now to take responsibility for your destiny. And stop depending on quick fixes. Stop depending on quick fixes. If you're fat, lose weight. If you're sick, don't just go for healing. Eat right. See, it takes responsibility. Don't ask God to give you a house automatically. Ask Him for a job to teach you how to save money, so you can have character to save it for a house, so you can learn to be responsible for that house. Don't ask God for an automatic car. He's going to give you a a job when you ask for a car. Until you save money, so He can teach you how to be consistent and be a manager. You see, this new era of the church is saying: If you want to cross over, you've got to end up in responsibility.
I want to pray for you right now. And maybe you've been struggling with a lot of problems, but God is saying: That's a part of the process of deliverance, bringing you into responsibility.
FATHER, I PRAY THAT EVERY ONE THAT HEARD THIS MESSAGE TONIGHT WILL BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS OF FREEDOM. YOU SAID THAT WE ARE FREE, NOT BY LEGISLATION, BUT BY WHAT WE KNOW. AND MAY THE TRUTH MAKE US FREE. MAY YOU, LORD JESUS, TELL US EXACTLY WHAT WILL MAKE US FREE. AND IF YOU SET US FREE, WE ARE FREE INDEED. AND YOU ARE THE WORD AND YOU BROUGHT YOUR WORD TONIGHT TO EVERY LISTENER THAT THEY MAY BEGIN TO SEE FREEDOM MEANS RESPONSIBILITY TO DOMINATE YOUR AREA OF LIFE. SPEAK TO EVERY HEART AND MAY WE EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF RESPONSIBILITY, IN JESUS' NAME. AMEN.