“But if you don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, those you allow to remain will become thorns in your eyes and in your sides; they will harass you in the land where you live.” Numbers 33:55, HCSB
As we move into the places God has for us, we must deal with the sins and issues before us. Otherwise, they will continue to enslave.
I stood on the top of a mountain in the city where we lived in northern Thailand. We’d been there a few months, and colleagues and I had come to the top of this mountain to pray over the city. I’d not yet found a ministry, but on that mountain, I prayed an audacious prayer: “Lord, shut down the sex industry in my city.”
God took that prayer and grew it into an entire ministry to exploited women and children in that city — a ministry that continues to this day. Some women and men have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Some have been baptized. Some are no longer involved in prostitution. Through the faithfulness of Christian workers, the gospel has been shared with countless women and men in the city’s red light districts. Light is penetrating darkness in some of the city’s ickiest areas.
Finding the place God has for us involves confronting the issues and sins before us. Christian workers who move into a new area often spend time “mapping” the area — understanding the culture, the language and the sins that enslave. These often differ from people group to people group. If Christian workers fail to help a people group confront and drive out their “cultural sins” as they are growing in their faith, those sins will maintain a foothold and may resurface later to enslave them again.
The same is true in our own lives. Instead of “cultural sins” we sometimes call them “pet sins.” What sins are such a part of your life that you fail to recognize their power over you? Gossip? Gluttony? Selfish ambition? Materialism? Greed? The list goes on.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” Jesus said in John 8:32 (HCSB). With the help of the Holy Spirit, take some time to “map out” your own heart and examine the sins you take for granted. Then, ask God to help you drive them out so that you can be free to be all that He created you to be. Remember, He wants the best for you, so that through your life you can make Him known.
This week’s reading: Numbers 23 – Deuteronomy 2
Post #10: Discovering how to live missionally through a chronological reading of God’s Word.