Without the Camp
Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp. – Hebrews 13:13
Right before this verse, it says, “Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make His people holy by means of His own blood.” This means that Jesus had to give His life for us alone, all alone. If I am applying this correctly, that means Hebrews 13:13 is telling believers that there will be a time, if we want God’s holiness, where we will have to go and be alone with Him and only Him. We won’t be allowed to just go along with any crowd. We will have to go forth unto Him without the camp.
When I first got saved, it took me a few years to leave the worldly crowd. It was hard for me to attempt to live holy while those who cared nothing about pleasing God had what I considered “fun” all the time. I would complain often that being a Christian and truly committing my life to Him was a bore. When I finally did commit my life to Him, even though it took a while, I look back now and think how silly it was to think like I did. But, at the time, it was a very big deal. I had to leave sin by going to be with God alone without the camp. I had to leave this comparison game where I try to impress God by being a little bit better than others, or simply a little bit better than I used to be.
Years after this, I found myself a full-blown part of the church crowd. I went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I would even attend revival services if they were nearby. A really strange thing happened that I didn’t even realize had happened. My hope of heaven was rooted in the fact that I had earned my spot. I no longer cussed, listened to evil music, watched bad movies, hung out with losers . . . I had this long list of stuff that I didn’t do anymore that I used to love to do. I was part of this church camp who shunned the sinful and exalted the religious. I quickly found out that religious activity doesn’t keep me saved . . . Jesus does. So, I had a period of wandering around. I had to just be alone with God for a while without the camp.
I find myself now in a weird place. I could easily just find a church and plug in. But it is like I’m supposed to be alone for a while without the camp. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and came out ready to minister. The Israelites wandered there for 40 years before entering into the promised land. Something tells me that I will be wandering in the wilderness for 40 weeks. I have been meeting with God all by myself, meeting regularly with my family (we call it 205 church), and even meeting at various outside venues with just a few friends. This has gone on for 25 weeks now. I was contemplating last night just what in the world God is doing with me. I would love to just be able to “go to church” and feel good about where I was. I do believe that I will be back with the camp soon. I sure do miss them.
For now, I just want to learn everything that I need to learn. The Israelites didn’t have to wander for 40 years. I’ve read that it was only an 11-day journey to the promised land. I’ve read that it should have only taken a month. I’ve also reasoned that God wanted them to trust Him and only Him for a year or two before entering. No matter which one is true, they didn’t learn to trust Him. I am praying that I learn to trust Him and only Him. I don’t want to be jealous of the sinful crowd “living it up.” I don’t want to become a part of the religious crowd who behaves really well and stays away from the sinful crowd. I want to learn whatever it is that I’m supposed to learn in the wilderness so that when my promised land moment comes, I don’t lose out to fear.
Lord, I don’t even really know what I’m writing. I’m just trying to put whatever You’ve put in my heart on paper. Hopefully, this will make sense to me as I read it a few times. All I know right now is that I’m trying not to complain as I wander in the wilderness. I sure see how easy it is. Help me for a third time to learn to be content with You and only You. I don’t need sin to “have fun.” I don’t need to be a religious Pharisee and render myself useless to those on the outside looking in. What I do need is You. I need Your Spirit at the controls of my heart, mind, and body. Fill me with Your Spirit and help me be like You. Help me come out on the other side of this wilderness experience much like You after Your forty days. As always, I do love You, Lord. As always, I know that You have given me that love. May I only ever boast in You. Amen