The people of the nation of Israel wandered around in the desert for forty years making what was actually an eleven-day journey. Why? Was it their enemies, their circumstances, or the trials along the way? Or was something entirely different preventing them from arriving at their destination?
I pray that you receive the life in this teaching, that God will give you a powerful revelation of this that will help you in your daily journey. The Israelites spent forty years in the desert making an eleven-day trip because they had a “wilderness mentality.”
We really shouldn’t look at the Israelites with such astonishment because most of us do the same thing they did. We keep going around and around the same mountains instead of making progress. It takes us years to experience victory over something that could and should have been dealt with quickly and put behind us. God showed me that “wilderness mentalities” are wrong mindsets or toxic thinking. It was these wilderness mentalities that kept the Israelites in the desert for so long.
We can have right mindsets or wrong mindsets. The right ones benefit us, and the wrong ones hurt us and hinder our progress. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” This teaches us to set our minds and keep them set. We need our minds set in the right direction. Wrong mindsets not only affect our circumstances, but they also affect our inner life.
There are times when circumstances in our lives are not bad, but we cannot enjoy anything in our lives because our minds are “in the desert.” We can have a nice home, lovely spouse and children, good friends, good jobs, and enough money to live comfortably. However, we cannot enjoy our blessings because we have several wilderness mentalities that have our mindsets trapped in the desert.
Some people see things negatively because they have experienced unhappy circumstances all their lives and can’t imagine anything getting any better. Then there are those who see everything as bad and negative simply because that is the way they feel on the inside. Whatever its cause, a negative outlook leaves a person miserable and unable to make any progress toward the Promised Land. (Phil. 4:11 says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.”)
God had called the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt to go to the land He had promised to give them as a perpetual inheritance—the land that flowed with milk and honey and every good thing they could imagine. It was a land where there would be no shortage of anything they needed—a land of prosperity in every realm of their existence. Most of the generation that the Lord called out of Egypt never entered into the Promised Land, instead, they died in the desert. To me, this is one of the saddest things that can happen to someone—to have so much available and yet never be able to enjoy it. The price to stay free can be more than we are willing to pay.
We are on our way to the Promised Land (heaven), but we are not enjoying the trip. Our minds are in the desert, and we are dying in the wilderness. Our wilderness mentalities, or wrong ways of thinking, are keeping us from dealing with those areas of our lives that God wants to touch and to redeem. We are stuck…going around and around the same mountain. But thank God for His mercy. He shows us daily the way out of the desert! He helps us identify and change those wrong mindsets. Today, we have the possibility for our minds to be renewed. The Lord says in Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphosis) by the renewing (renovation) of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We can have a new way of thinking and be rescued from the desert.
This is God’s perfect will, for your mind to be renewed. The old way of thinking gone! The old you, gone! Most of the time we drag around like an old coffin the old man into this new life. Ask Him today to show you your wilderness mentalities, and ask Him to help you make the necessary changes. He can deliver your mind from the desert and help you enjoy the journey to the Promised Land!
How To Be Content
This may appear to be contrary to what I just said, but it is in our understanding of the word content. The Bible clearly teaches us to “be content” no matter what our circumstances are. In Philippians 4:11 Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content”. The Amplified Bible describes being content as “satisfied to the point where you are not disturbed or disquieted”. It doesn’t say satisfied to the point where you don’t want change, but satisfied for now until God brings the change. Philippians 4:6-7 sheds more light in this area by saying, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, continue to let God know what you want”, and verse 7 “the peace that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Allow me to paraphrase these scriptures in my language for you. Don’t be upset about anything, no matter what is happening. Pray about it, and tell God your need. While you are waiting for God to move, be a very thankful and grateful person for all that God has done for your already. (Note: Let me say here that if God never did one thing for us except write our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that alone is more than enough.) Being thankful from the heart is necessary for the receiving of God’s continued favors in our lives. Then verse 7 says after this:
1. Have no anxiety or care,
2. Tell God your need, and
3. Be thankful.
Then you will have tremendous peace and contentment no matter what state you are in while you are waiting for God to work out His will in your life.
Content: Be stable!
Let us not forget Romans 8:28 that says, “All things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Even the hard times can work into God’s perfect plan for your life. Cast your care, and be a thankful person. Take inventory each day of what you have instead of counting up all the things that you have not. Meditate on what God has done in your life instead of what you are still waiting on Him to do. Your flesh wants you to concentrate on what you don’t have. Your spirit wants you to ask God for what you don’t have, yet concentrate on what you do have.
John 14:27 (Amplified) says, “Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.” Jesus left us a legacy of peace, and He wants us to use it. I have discovered through years of experience, many of these years spent in frustration and discontentment, that the secret of being content is to ask God for what I want, and know that “if it is right” He will bring it to pass “at the right time,” and if it isn’t right, God will do something much better than what I asked for anyway. We must learn to trust God completely if we ever intend to enjoy peaceful living. It is good to trust God for something, but God is calling His people not only trust Him “for something,” but to trust Him “in everything.”
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph, speaking to his brothers who had severely mistreated him, said “As for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it for good.” What is good isn’t always right. The very things we think are awful right now, very often can turn out to be a great blessing. The greatest trial can develop in you the greatest faith. “Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs come only out of great trials. Every stumbling block must become a stepping stone, and every opposition must become an opportunity.” By Smith Wigglesworth
When a rebellious child receives a spanking, it doesn’t feel good, but it is good. Hebrews 12 teaches us that no chastening for the present seems joyous but grievous; nevertheless, later on it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Perhaps we need to learn to be more concerned with later on than with right now. Hebrews 12 also says that for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame, but He is now seated at the right hand of God. Let’s be willing to endure for a season, if it will seat us at His right hand of authority and power. Now lets make sure we understand I am not telling you to close up and get boring.
How To Enjoy Everyday Life
All of us have large portions of our time that need to be devoted to what we will call “common life and everyday business.” I’m sure you know what I mean, things like, laundry, grocery store trips, auto repairs, dentist’s visits, sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, going to work, etc. We tend to see these chores as being quite different from and even far below our “Spiritual Life,” or the things we do which we consider to be holy. Most of us who really love and are devoted to God prefer the holy times to the common. Holy times are like praying, spiritual reading and meditation, sharing conversation about the Lord with friends, going to church, or other spiritual meetings. Seeing the two sides of our life as being in two entirely different categories usually causes quite a problem within the believer.
Often we feel divided within ourselves struggling to get finished with “common life and everyday business” so we can return to holy things, because we feel that we are holier or more right with God when we are doing what we believe to be holy things.
I believe this is one of the greatest deceptions of Satan. It keeps most people in a state of turmoil; dreading, and even despising the tasks of common life and everyday business. All of us must do them; it is part of life. They cannot be avoided. So we must have understanding on how in reality (truth) there is no difference between common and holy, except in our own minds. And if we will read the Bible properly and not be so religious in our thinking, we will move into an area of freedom that will shake the gates of hell. SATAN DOES NOT WANT YOU TO ENJOY YOUR LIFE. Naturally, if he can keep you thinking that God is only pleased with you when you are engaged in some sort of a so called “spiritual activity”; He can keep you unhappy a large part of the time. This misconception is one of his greatest tools to keep people from enjoying life. Often this comes as a vague feeling that makes a believer miserable, and he doesn’t even understand what is wrong with him. All he knows is that something is amiss.
Everything we do is to be offered to the Lord; and if done so with a pure heart of love, it becomes holy. You can do common tasks, like go to the grocery store, and it will be just as holy as prayer, as long as you do all to the glory and honor of God. In the realm of importance, prayer is certainly more important than a trip to the grocery store, but not any holier. What I mean by prayer being more important is that it has eternal value, whereas a trip to the store or mopping the floor doesn’t.
Romans 14 is an excellent chapter in the Bible to bring liberty in this area. Verses 5 & 6 (paraphrased) says: One man esteems one day as better than another (holier), while another man esteems all days alike (holy). Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, does it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
Let’s rewrite Romans 14:5-6 for a minute (Pastor’s translation): One man sees prayer and Bible study as better (holier) than ordinary tasks. While a person that is really free in the Lord sees them all alike (all holy), because whatever he does, he does it in honor of the Lord.
This is true liberty—to be able to live an undivided life where we categorize some things as common and some as holy. Thereby as a result, we never enjoy the common because we are desperately trying to either avoid them completely or at least to rush through them so we can get to those things that are holy.
I just learned this lesson while traveling on an airplane to a speaking engagement. I was pondering on the thought of how glad I would be when I get to my destination, so I could pray and study. I was feeling very restless. The Lord began to minister to me that I needed to thoroughly enjoy the airplane ride and that it was just as holy to Him if I would offer it to Him. He is Holy, and He lives in you so that makes you holy. Therefore, wherever you go and whatever you do becomes holy. Now I realize, we are growing in manifesting holiness, but I’m sharing that it is His presence that makes things holy.
Another thing that had quite an effect on me in this area was a plaque I saw in a pastor’s office. It said, “My work is worship.” As long as I remember that, I find myself enjoying everything common life and everyday business as well as prayer, Bible study, and other things we define as spiritual.
In conclusion, let me say that the sum of the whole matter is this: TRUST GOD! Hide yourself in the secret place (in Him). God loves you. He is a good God who only does good things. Be content knowing that His way is perfect, and He brings with Him a great recompense of reward for those who trust in Him. Let us join the Lord in this liberated lifestyle and begin to enjoy everyday life.