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New Year, New Landmines

With so much hope that comes with a new year, we have to know that there will be some landmines, too. Even if we try to do everything perfect, there’s still gonna be landmines that catch us by surprise. When I say, “landmines” you might be thinking about bombs used by the military. I think of my puppy. Recently, I was running around outside with our puppy having a great time until one of us hit a puppy-sized landmine. If we can be honest with ourselves today, no matter how well this year goes, God is  gonna leave some landmines on purpose. Psalm 23 tells us “He leads us beside still waters,” but also we know He led Jesus into the desert. God does not set you up to fail. He sets you up to win. If He puts a test or landmine in the way, it’s because He knows you can overcome it. He wants you to see how much stronger you are in 2022 as opposed to 2021. 

1 Samuel 24:1-4
After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took 3000 able young men from all of Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.

He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were in the far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 

This scripture is from the Old Testament in the Bible. It is important to understand that when we read the Old Testament that all the significant things are foreshadowing and pointing to Jesus. So when we read a story about David, he is a foreshadow of the Messiah. Jesus comes in ancestorial line of David, to be a better David. Jesus is a better King than David was, and establishes a better kingdom. Not only do we see this with David, but when we read about Adam, Jesus is the better Adam. Adam fails, Jesus doesn’t fail. Where David fails, Jesus doesn’t fail. We are going to take a look at how David and Jesus both faced landmines, but how Jesus handled the situation differently. 

In 1 Samuel 24 we learn that David and his 600 mighty men were hiding out in caves while on the run from Saul. Saul was appointed by God as the first king of Israel but unfortunately, he disqualified himself. Not only that, but when David was a kid, a prophet anointed David as the future king. 15 years pass by from when David was anointed king to when he actually becomes king. It’s 15 years of knowing that you’re going to be king, but not actually walking in that purpose. God cares more about who you’re becoming than where you’re going. We’re always thinking about where we’re going: “I’m gonna start this business.” “I’m gonna get this girl.” “I’m gonna make that money.” You’re always thinking and planning where you’re going, but that’s not what God is thinking about God sees you. God cares about who you’re becoming before where you’re going. Often, God needs to get you ready and prepared first before He can take you where He wants you to go. Read the Bible. Everybody who ever did anything significant had to get prepared first. 

For the past 15 years, David has been getting prepared for his purpose. Meanwhile, King Saul, doesn’t want to step down as king but instead has decided to hunt David down. He’s got 3000 men in an army chasing David who’s got 600 men hiding in the caves. The scripture tells us that one day, King Saul had to relieve himself, or lay a landmine. Most likely he needed privacy, so he didn’t have an arm guard standing next him. Not only that, but Saul must’ve taken off his robe when he went to do his thing. Little did Saul know, that David and his men were in one of those caves! David crawls through the cave and gets up behind Saul. Instead of killing Saul, he cuts off part of his robe. In doing this, David could’ve shown Saul and everybody else that he had the opportunity to kill Saul, but didn’t. David had the chance to show people that he was a merciful king and that he was a greater warrior and better fit to be king. If David were to show off like that, he would’ve been falling for a landmine. 

2 Points to Help with Landmines in your Life 

1. When you know who you are, you have nothing to prove.

Do you know who you are? If you know who you are, you will not feel like you need to prove anything. Did Jesus ever feel like you need to prove anything? Do you ever remember Jesus defending himself or trying to prove anything to anybody? No, because He knew who He was. He didn’t need to do that. Here’s the challenging thing: whether it’s in work, school, or in a relationship, when we try to prove ourselves to somebody other than God, we’re often stepping on somebody else to get there. At the very least, we’re making them look bad to make ourselves look good. We’re directing energy and focus from a place of pride, not from a place of surrender. 

When you know who you are, you’ve got nothing to prove. Don’t you want to be like that? Don’t you want to have that kind of security and self-esteem or God-esteem? Don’t you want to have that? Insecurity is when you try to find security in anything other than who God says you are. And when you’re trying to prove something, that’s insecurity. God wants you to be secure. Know your identity as a son or daughter of God. You’re forgiven. You’re set apart. You’re sanctified. You’re chosen. Don’t you know that it may take 15 years, but God’s got something for you, too? The thing is, He’s preparing you right now. When you try to promote yourself, you are trying to take control of your own circumstances. When you do that, there are a lot of landmines. Watch out and be careful. When you know who you are, you don’t have to prove yourself. 

Luke 4:1-2
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 

Why would God lead them lead Jesus to the wilderness? Because He’s going to show His strength here. He’s going to see this is a place of preparing Him for what is next. Following this place is when all the miracles happen. We know that you have got to be prepared for purpose. Luke says, “Jesus was tempted by the devil for 40 days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.” Why is it important for us to know that He became hungry? Jesus wants you to know that He was 100% God and 100% human, so we learn that he was hungry. Next we learn how the devil tries to tempt Jesus:

Luke 4:3
The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

When first reading it, this might not sound like that big of a temptation. We don’t know of the devil trying to tempt Jesus before this point. We do see him now waiting till Jesus is hungry, exhausted, and at the most vulnerable place. I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired, I make the worst decisions in my life. When I’m irritable and hungry, I’m quick to snap. When I’m not around the right people, I make the worst decisions. So we find Jesus is alone. He’s hangry. He’s tired. He’s weakened. This is when the devil comes up with a way to tempt Jesus by asking him to turn a rock into some bread. 

Luke 4:4
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

Jesus quotes the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy when responding to the devil. He’s saying, “I’m living in this place of surrender to God. Every word that comes out of God’s mouth, that’s what I’m feeding on right now. I don’t need to make a loaf at the devil’s request.” Could Jesus have turned the rock into bread? Yes, of course. But Jesus never uses miracles for himself. Have you noticed that? Here is the Old Testament connection; where Adam failed by taking a bite, Jesus won by not falling for it here. Adam did take a bite, Jesus did not. 

Romans 5:18
For just as through one man’s disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the man will be made righteous.

If you are thinking, “I still don’t see what’s the big deal that Jesus didn’t turn a rock into a panini? Why is it a big deal that David cut off a piece of a robe? What does that have to do with my life?” Right now, you might be brokenhearted on the other side of a relationship.  Maybe you just lost your job during COVID and are trying to get a new one. You might be thinking about one of your kids that are sick. You could be wondering how rocks, bread and cutting robes has anything to do with your life. I’m telling you, Jesus didn’t fall for the prideful, tempting shortcut. He didn’t fall for the landmine, to prove himself to the devil. Jesus understood that He was the Son of God! Jesus remembered that when he was baptized that God told Him that He was loved and pleased with Him. If God says it, then we need to believe it. What He says should be enough. Jesus didn’t have to prove anything else. Yes, He was hungry. Yes, He was tired. At the core of who He was, He trusted in and surrendered to God. Whenever I’m proving myself or defending myself, I’m heading toward a landmine. 

1 Samuel 24:5-8
Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

David’s intention was to cut off the robe tassel that showed his kingly authority. He may have wanted to dangle those tassels to show all 3,000 of Saul’s men, that he now had the authority. Interesting thing happened, instead of boasting about what he did, David  realized that his heart was in the wrong place. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal for him to cut the robe, but if his heart was in the wrong place, it’s dishonoring to God. Maybe it wouldn’t have been a big deal for Jesus to turn a rock into a loaf. But we don’t do things to please man, or to impress man, we do things to honor God and worship Him. 

Nothing will prepare you more for your purpose than if you make a commitment to honor God like never before. We need to change our prayers from: “God, give me everything I want for 2022.” To now say, “Whatever You do give me, I’m going to honor You and honor You with it.” That’s how you grow. That’s how you transform. When you know who you are, you don’t have to prove yourself to anybody. 

2. When you see who you’re becoming, then you can see where you are going. 

The world says, “See where you’re going and then become that person to get there.” That’s a completely different thing. When you see WHO you’re becoming. First know WHO you’re becoming like and that is Jesus. You’re becoming like Jesus, when your eyes are on Him. The only landmines you are going to hit are the ones that God’s just bringing you through. He wants to help you remember, you’re stronger than you thought. 

When you see who you’re becoming, it takes the right people around you. You can’t see who you’re becoming by yourself. That’s why they’re called blind spots. If we could see who we’re becoming by ourselves, then we wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit. We wouldn’t need the body of Christ, but you need people around you to help you see who you’re becoming. 

Some of you, don’t know who you’re becoming, because you don’t have godly people around you. You don’t have good friends in your life. We need the body of Christ around us, helping us see who we’re becoming, so that God can entrust us with real influence and responsibility. You might have things in your life that the Holy Spirit is saying, “If you could just outgrow that, I would have so much more for you.” 

Action Step

Get in a Life Group that is the right fit for you. Surround yourself with some people who love you. Do you have anybody that is seeing who you’re becoming? Good friends know how to give high fives when you need them. Good friends also don’t give hugs when you need a headlock. We want to partner with you and get you around the right people. When you are in a group that sees WHO you are becoming, we can see and celebrate with you where you are going. 

 

Pastor Justice Coleman
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