When I got saved, I lost all my friends. All my drug buddies left me. They laughed at me when I spoke in tongues and went to church. They thought I had lost my mind. Although really, they didn't leave me; I started going in a different direction.
Some time ago I went back to that part of town for a funeral. I hadn't seen many of the people there for 40 years. The choices some of them made with their lives did not turn out well for them. Seeing them after such a long time helped me see how the grace of God covers us even in aging. Some who had made decisions to stay in bad situations, in addictions and in the dry land looked twice their age. Others looked like they had done well for themselves.
I believe that bitterness, anger, rebellion and disobedience can put a whipping on you. People who are 30 and 40 will end up looking like they are 70. But the glory of God, being filled with the Holy Ghost, can beautify you. People will wonder how it is that you have been able to maintain so well for so long. This is what a good life in the good land can do for you.
You do not have to stay in a dry, depressing and stressful place. You can come out of a place—the 'hood or other bad circumstance—and determine that you don't want to live like that anymore, while still having love for the people there. You are not wrong for believing that God has more for you, that you don't have to live in a low place, that there is a bigger land prepared for you and that you can step up into a prosperous and blessed place.
You can boldly declare, "I am going to walk in abundance. I am going to enjoy joy and peace. I am going to experience the good things in life. I am not going to struggle all of my life. I'm not going to make excuses because I was born a certain way or into a certain neighborhood."
God will save you, deliver you, bless you and promote you, but you have to obey Him and leave Lot and the old land behind. Don't be like those who never walk in the good land because they never leave the old.
Your old land could be some religious church that doesn't embrace anything new—no new revelation, no new unction. Same old songs, same old people, same old traditions, same old messages—nothing new, nothing fresh. Then as you grow in God and learn about how big He is, you learn about the prophetic and deliverance—but they refuse it. They keep the same five people singing in the choir, and they want you to just sit there. Then when you go visit another church, they want to know what you were doing over there.
Your response: "Brother, I'm looking for the good land. This is not it. This is the dry land."
But so many people sit right in those dead churches, saying, "This is where I grew up. My momma and daddy went here. My grandparents went here. This has been my church all my life. I am waiting on God to move me." And they will sit right there until they die.
Don't be like that. Be strong and courageous. Pursue the leading of God. Answer when He calls. Be brave and step out into the new thing in faith. People may look at you like you are crazy. They are not bad people. They may love you; you may love them. But they are stuck. Don't let their "stuckness" temper your pursuit.
Launch out into the new. You and God search for a church with new messages, new ministries and new vision. Look for a new land, a good land. Come out of tradition.
This article is adapted from The Good Land: Grow and Flourish in God's Presence by John Eckhardt. Eckhardt is overseer of Crusaders Ministries, located in Chicago. Gifted with a strong apostolic call, he has ministered throughout the United States and overseas in more than 80 nations. He is a sought-after international conference speaker, produces a weekly television program called Perfecting the Saints, and has authored more than 20 books, including Prayers That Rout Demons and Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare Manual.
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