Kiawah is what I’m reminded of when I read God’s description of the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 11. Through Moses, God tells the people of Israel that the land they’re about to enter into isn’t anything like the land they just came out of (Egypt). Instead of laboring to produce everything themselves, He would provide for their every need. Their job was simply to trust God and put Him first.
It didn’t take long for the people to fail on their end of the bargain. Time and time again we see the Israelites trust in their ability, their “truths,” and their ways. The penalty for their self-reliance was a curse on their land. The reality of the Israelite’s “freedom” ended up being far from the abundant life God intended for them.
If God’s plan for the Promised Land seems eerily familiar, it’s because it was modeled after Eden. Eden was where Adam and Eve had an unbroken relationship with God, and He provided for them. Distrust led Adam and Eve to sin, and a curse was placed on all mankind. Now man would have to strive to produce what once was freely given... and that included righteousness. This is the curse we are all born into, whether we like it or not..
However, Eden has always been God’s intention. Jesus made a way for us, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us...” (Gal. 3:13). However, Jesus didn’t just pay the price for our righteousness— He paid the price to restore us to the Promised Land of abundant life. In Him, our souls can prosper with joy, peace, and fulfillment.
From birth, our souls crave Eden. That’s why we revel in carefree days like I experienced at Kiawah. However, we live in the constant tension between the desires of our flesh and spirit, but the problem is we keep wandering back to Egypt...
Instead of trusting Him for our righteousness, we try to earn it with perfection.
Instead of trusting His wisdom, we rely on our own understanding.
Instead of trusting Him for provision, we wear ourselves out working.
Are you tired of striving? Do you long for the lightness and simplicity of the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10? Me too, friend.
The good news is we don’t have to wait until “one day” in heaven— abundant life is here and now. Culture tells us “nothing comes for free,” but the Kingdom of God is upside-down. Eden can’t be earned. We experience abundant life not by trying harder, but by turning from our self-reliance and simply trusting our all-sufficient God.
Trust is simple, but it isn’t easy. It’s like a muscle that we have to develop day by day. We strengthen that muscle by repeating the cycle of spending time with Him, listening, and obeying. Talk to God and take inventory of your life— identify any areas where you’re striving instead of surrendering.
The Israelites got it wrong. We will too sometimes. But through grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to live life in the Promised Land simply by trusting in Him.
Memory verse: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 NIV