Throughout the whole Bible, we can see that the promises of God do not automatically happen. His promises are an invitation to partner with Him in prayer and obedience to see them fulfilled. They are not a free pass to passively sit by but an invitation to contend in faith. The story of the Israelites entering the Promised Land has tremendous implications for us today. It teaches us that the promises of God are not automatic but conditional. We too have a promised land, a spiritual inheritance from the Lord, and if we are going to enter it, we will have to contend for it. It will not happen by itself and like the children of Israel, we can choose not to enter into it. Each generation must decide if they will take possession of the land or settle for a substitute. The following is an excerpt from my book Restoring the Ministry of Jesus which highlights three main areas of our spiritual inheritance for which we must contend.
Our general spiritual inheritance is comprised of all of the promises that God has made to us in His Word. Every believer also has a personal promised land of all of the promises and prophetic words they have received from God. For our purposes, I want to look at three categories of promises from the Bible that relate to walking in the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus walked in incredible intimacy with the Father. In fact, His whole ministry flowed out of that intimate relationship. Jesus Himself said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does” (John 5:19-20). Jesus walked with the Father and was led continually by the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus died on the cross, He made the way for us to have an intimate relationship with God. The veil of the temple was torn, giving us immediate access to His presence through the blood of Christ. We can now draw near to God knowing that we are completely forgiven and develop a true, personal relationship with Him. If we are going to walk in the ministry of Jesus, we must make intimacy with God our highest priority. It is the root system from which everything else grows.
Let’s look at a few promises from the Bible about this intimate relationship.
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:14, 27)
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21)
God has promised to reveal Himself to us as we walk in obedience to His commands. He has promised to lead us and guide us as a shepherd guides his sheep. We are to know God and become familiar with His voice; this is our spiritual inheritance.
The second category of promises is character. We know that Jesus was perfect in character and lived without sin. If we are going to truly exhibit the ministry of Jesus today, we will have to do more than move in mighty acts of power. Along with demonstrating His power to heal and deliver, we must display His nature: His holiness, love, goodness, patience, humility, and compassion. Without this corresponding character, we will not make it for the long haul.
Thankfully, part of our spiritual promised land includes the promise of Christ’s character and nature in us.
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
This passage says that through the great and precious promises of God, we can partake of God’s nature. That is a powerful thought! We are no longer to be controlled by the sinful nature but are to progressively be transformed into the image of Christ from glory to glory (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
The third category of promises that belong to us in Christ are promises relating to power. Jesus operated in tremendous power. Acts 10:38 says that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” If Jesus needed to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to fulfill His ministry, how much more do we? We must not settle for ministering in our own strength and human wisdom. Here are a few promises relating to power for life and ministry.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)
Compared to the promises that God has made to us, the power of the Holy Spirit is embarrassingly absent in most of our churches today. Where are the powerful healings and miracles of the Bible? The power of God was so strong in the early church that people were healed by Peter’s shadow and Paul’s handkerchief. Where is Peter’s shadow or Paul’s handkerchief today? I say this not to condemn but to inspire. There is more to contend for!
Everywhere Jesus went, people were miraculously healed, set free from evil spirits, and transformed by powerful teaching and preaching. Restoring the Ministry of Jesus calls us back to the foundation of walking like Jesus walked and doing what Jesus did. It shows how to bridge the gap from our current condition to walking in our inheritance in Christ. As you read, your heart will be stirred to seek God’s face and go after all that He has for you and the church today!