Last week, in "Ultimate Rest," Part 3, we saw
that God purposefully left some Canaanites in Israel. He didn't drive
them all out in the initial conquest, and in so doing, he worked a
little "test of faith" into the system. It is only when we are under
temptation and trials of various kinds that we learn to fully rely on
God, that we learn the importance of standing firm and putting on the
full armor of God.
But what does this look like in practical terms?
Having been raised a Christian, I don't necessarily remember the exact day I accepted Jesus into my heart. What I do remember with all clarity, however, is the day I was filled with God's Spirit. Prior to this time I had been struggling with two major addictions. I had tried everything by my own efforts to overcome these, for I knew they were both wrong, but to no avail. The day I was filled with God's Spirit, the addiction that I considered to be the worst just fell away, and to this day, 20 years later, I have not even been tempted a single time to go back. It was exactly like the initial conquest of Canaan: Miraculously wiped out completely, never to return.
The other addiction was a different story. Just like God left some of the Canaanites in Canaan after the initial conquest, He did not remove this second addiction immediately. In fact, 20 years later, it was a temptation I continued to struggle with many times a day. Did God give me victory? Yes, eventually He did. But that is another story. Before the day of my ultimate deliverance, what God gave me was the strength to overcome, to say "no," to stand firm. Nonetheless, the temptation always returned, stronger than ever, and more often than I'd like to admit, I stumbled and fell. In fact, He did not give me complete deliverance from this addiction until last year.
So why didn't God just deliver me from this addiction when He delivered me from the first one?
That's a question I had asked myself multiple times over the years; and the only logical answer is that God was using this addiction to teach me important lessons that I might never have otherwise learned.
What was God teaching me?
1. The importance of temperance
2. That I cannot be temperate on my own
3. The value of total reliance on God
4. To take every thought captive in obedience to Him
5. The beauty of His forgiveness and grace the times I fall
6. How to give all of my problems to God
7. How to achieve ultimate rest in Jesus.
And there are many, many more lessons that I learned through this addiction, including the secret to ultimate deliverance! But that's another story. The question I have now is this: Would I have ever learned these valuable lessons, had it not been for the fact that He left a "Canaanite" in my life? Would I have ever learned what it meant to achieve ultimate rest?
Probably not, for it is only through the daily victories that God gave me that I learned that ultimate rest isn't simply something that is given to me. It is something I have to learn, to value, to accept as mine, and to make an ultimate priority.
Through the "Canaanite" God left in my "Canaan," I have also learned that God is faithful and trustworthy enough to carry my problems as well. By learning to leave my addiction in His hands, I have also learned to leave all my troubles with Him. I have truly learned what it means to, "Take my Yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul." (Matt 11:28).
Join us next week for another practical example of how the conquest of Canaan gives us tools for achieving our ultimate rest in Jesus: "Ultimate Rest," Part 5.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.