Joshua 21:41-42 Believers are models of Christ whom the world can see and emulate
41 All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty- eight cities with their pasture lands. 42 These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities.
The proximity of the Levites to all the tribes communicates the role of believers in today’s society. The fact that the Levites are scattered among the tribes shed light as to how believers should serve as salt and light to their community. Believers must not be an exclusive community, but to be intimately involved in the lives of people regardless of their backgrounds. The fact that believers spend more time outside of the church than inside speaks for itself. In today’s devotion, we learn the importance of filling believers with the words of Christ through which they become models for others to emulate.
The Levitical cities were placed “in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel”, with the purpose of sustaining a godly culture in every tribe through the teaching of the Word. This arrangement allows for every Israelite easy access to a Levite family who could give godly counsel on the many problems of religious, family and political life. The Levites did not have their own territory but were absorbed into every tribe. The proximity of the Levites and their devotion to the Word had direct impact to the prosperity of the nation. The Levites served as salt and light for the Israelite society without which their blessings would not endure.
Repentance and faith remain as steps to abundant living
An effective church comprises believers who live by the truth of the word and who are also actively caring for others in the community. The endgame of the church is to transform lives in the community by causing them to live according to the truth. However, there is a disturbing trend (among some church circles) where it is preached that access into God’s kingdom need no repentance. They are taught that the grace of God is unconditionally available to all regardless of the posture of their hearts. Jesus explicitly preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17. And in another occasion, Jesus spoke out against false teachers who gathered followers after themselves promising free access into the kingdom without acknowledging Christ as Lord. Jesus taught that the kingdom was for those who enter the narrow gate through repentance,
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.
To repent in the original language: metanoew means continual change. A believer has to undergo continual change in his mindset and values system by adopting the lifestyle of the kingdom. In doing so, he will experience in greater measure the good things of the kingdom. One cannot experience the kingdom’s goodness without living according to kingdom rules and values. Therefore, repentance is a continual process that will accompany the believer throughout his earthly life and even into the heavenlies.
Abundant living in the Spirit can only be received through the words of Christ.
There is another worrying trend: believers are increasingly drawn by the promises of blessings but not by Christ Himself. They have no hunger to know God or His words other than to receive His blessings. As a result, many become disappointed in God because they are sold a different gospel. The only way to receive the promised blessings is to listen to Christ’s words and to assimilate them. Jesus differentiated His true disciples from those who were merely looking to receive blessings by saying, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32. Jesus asserted that freedom and enduring blessings belong to those who continue in His word. In another occasion, Jesus addressed those disciples who had misplaced beliefs,
But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them… “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” John 6:61-64
Jesus referred to those disciples who hungered for physical bread as walking in the flesh while pining for material benefits as opposed to new life of the Spirit. Jesus pointedly said that the flesh profits nothing, and abundant life can only be received in the Spirit through Christ’s words. The great commission of the church can only be fulfilled when believers are filled with the truth and actively reaching out to the community.
You are like a Levite in the midst of your family and community. You are planted in your company and in your church with a purpose. As a disciple of Christ, you are appointed as salt and light to your world. Make a covenant with God to fill your mind daily with the words of Christ. Fill your heart with the Spirit and walk in His ways. Ask God to reveal to you the people whom He wants you to touch and reach out to.
Reach out to others by being a true friend, one whom they can trust. Understand their needs and pray for them. If they have a sickness, pray that they may be healed. It is through your love and the miracles of the Spirit that they encounter Christ.
Dear Lord, I thank you for planting me in my family, church and organization. Cause me to understand your unique purpose for me. Help me to understand your words and to do them. I invite Jesus to take authority over my mind, heart and body. I reject the spirit of rebellion and unbelief. I receive the Spirit of understanding and life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.