When surveying life, there can be a variety of perspectives — or lenses — through which we view it. Some of us are optimistic while others are pessimistic. Some see the glass as half-full while others see it as half-empty. Some claim things will look better tomorrow while others believe every day brings trouble.
These lenses have been in use since the Garden of Eden. The Bible does not record that Eve felt discontent in paradise until Satan shared a pessimistic viewpoint: your life is lacking unless you eat from the one tree God placed off limits. I believe Eve had not paid much attention to that tree before — she was content with the rest of the land — but after Satan’s assertion, it became her focus:
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. (Genesis 3:6, NIV)
Eve chose to view her surroundings through the lens that portrayed them as not good. Or at least not good enough. She turned away from far more life to pursue a land that looked better. But it was an empty promise from Satan.
About 2500 years later, the Israelites were standing outside the Promised Land. This was the place God chose for them and described as “a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7). Although they had faced slavery in Egypt, God intended to bless them with far more life in this land.
But when the Israelite scouts entered the land, they brought a mixed report to Moses and Aaron:
…We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey…Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large…We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us…The land…devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size…and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:27-28, 31-33, NASB)
The land is good, but…
How often do we, like the scouts, discount the good and dwell on the problems? God had already promised to make the land theirs, but, rather than trusting in God’s character and promises, the Israelites assessed the situation based on their own strength. They saw their weaknesses and declared the land not good.
However, two of the scouts viewed the land through a different lens:
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh…spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:6-9, NASB)
The land is exceedingly good. The Lord is with us. Obey Him and have confidence in His protection and provision. Joshua and Caleb were not blind to the challenges ahead, but they saw the land as God intended. They urged the people to pursue far more life, to put their hope and trust in God and follow His commands. They recognized this would allow them to experience the best of the land.
Today we do not need to get to a certain location on planet earth to find exceedingly good land. Every born-again believer in Jesus Christ is indwelled with the Holy Spirit. The exceedingly good land is your heart, which was renewed when you accepted Christ as your Savior. The Lord is pleased with you and always with you. You have nothing to fear. You have power to live within His will. Far more life is available every moment of every day.
We are tempted to think of our circumstances as the land. We may see it as not good. Perhaps we view our family and friends as messy and inconvenient. Perhaps we believe our own weaknesses are insurmountable. We may dwell on our sin and feelings of worthlessness. We may expect to find peace and joy from external sources. Far more life recognizes this is not God’s viewpoint.
He purified their hearts by faith (Acts 15:9, NIV)
A heart purified by faith in Christ is good land.
God…set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, NIV)
A heart where the Holy Spirit lives is good land.
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, NIV)
A heart that is growing in Christlikeness is good land.
When we view our heart as good land, we experience far more life. We understand the land is good because of what God has done and is doing in us, not because of what is happening around us. The land is good because it is God’s home, not because of our life circumstances. Look with eyes of faith beyond the challenges, beyond sin, beyond human frailty and embrace the good land of far more life!
Does your perspective tend to be more positive or more negative?
When have you turned away from far more life to pursue something that looked better?
What are the “buts” in your life that keep you from viewing it as exceedingly good?
How does thinking of your heart as God’s land help you see the good?
Embrace the good land of far more life today!