Have you ever felt that ecstatic feeling of breakthrough?
You just know, that you know, that you know, that God has given you the victory in a long awaited, and hard fought battle. It's a beautiful feeling. You get to go to bed at night with a feeling of SATISFACTION!
The only problem is, you wake up the next day. Old habits that you thought would have disappeared, lurk. Dysfunctional relationships lure, and you find yourself asking, "Wait a minute, what happened to my breakthrough?"
The first thing I have to say about that is, you are not alone. I think we all have felt this same puzzling, frustrating, disappointing feeling.
In Joshua chapter 3, the Bible tells the amazing story of when the children of Israel finally got to step into the promised land. After 40 years of frustrating wandering and the agonizing realization that they had "missed it", they finally walked across the Jordan River on dry ground. Joshua built a memorial of stones so they would always remember the spot.
(Have you done that? Maybe not with stones, but maybe you wrote it in your journal, or circled the date on your calendar while you did your happy dance.)
But then God went a step further and told Joshua to re-circumcise all the men. Oh my gosh! Talk about never forgetting the moment! OUCH!
I am very sure that day became a painful memory that forever marked the breakthrough in their minds and their bodies. They knew beyond any doubt, that they belonged to God.
But here's the thing. That wasn't the end of the story.
The battle of Jericho was just ahead.
So here's what I make of this story and one way it might relate to us. We pray and pray, for what can be years, and we long for breakthrough. Then, the great day arrives and breakthrough comes!!!! Victory!!!! Finally.
We can do everything right. We can build a monument to mark the moment. Out of gratitude and devotion we can surrender everything, even our bodies to God, and it may even be painful. Even though we do everything right, that does not mean it's over. It does not mean life will get easy. It means it will be different.
Different territory, different battles, different instructions.
With the promise of new victories, breathtaking experiences, amazing miracles.
In Luke 19, just before Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, He told the disciples a parable. In it, He told them to "Occupy until I come."
It's really not enough to take the land, we have to occupy it. To occupy means to stay busy. In the business of life, keep walking. God knew we would be really busy keeping the territory we have gained. Every victory is for the Kingdom. The territory we take is for our King. It is worth occupying!
So, my friends, don't be discouraged when you win the battle but still have to fight. There is always more territory to take! It is not unusual to have to continue on. It is NORMAL! So fight on, valiant warrior! The territory is eternal and it is worth it!
Perhaps the Message Version states it best, when after many battles Joshua looks at his men and asks them this pointed question: "Joshua addressed the People of Israel: “How long are you going to sit around on your hands, putting off taking possession of the land that God, the God of your ancestors, has given you?.." Joshua 18:3 (Message)
Maybe you have crossed over. Maybe you have marked the moment. Maybe you have tasted victory. Good!!! God has qualified you to take more ground. Put your armor back on and GO! It is time to OCCUPY! Possess your land today. You are not visiting, you live there! So stay put, enjoy the new view and make yourself at home. The breakthrough really is yours.