What’s Your Desert?

God is most concerned with doing the things in our lives that will cause us to adopt Jesus as our identity as opposed to Him just being an accessory among others in our already crowded lives. That is what makes His use of the desert so brilliant.

Think of the Israelites as God led them through the desert. Instead of having and identity as slaves of the Egyptians, God intended for them to identify as His chosen people. Their desires had to be changed from meat in their pots to inhabiting the land of promise. Trust needed to be developed by having just enough for the day and following a pillar of cloud and fire.
The false self needed to be shed. Sometimes ripped off piece by painful piece. Other times ripped out of our grasping hands in a game of spiritual tug of war with God.
All this happened in the desert.
The desert creates thirst. And because the desert is a barren place, there are two choices on how to quench this thirst. The one led into the desert can search and wander, chasing the oasis. Self effort that will never satisfy. Or that one can become humble and trust the God that led him into the desert into the first place.
God’s use of the desert was not rare. Among others Joseph’s brothers, Elijah, Jonah, and Paul spent time there being shaped by the Potter.
The desert is also a metaphor for a lack that causes you to confront the false self with the same choices – chase the oasis of self effort or go to God with the thirst. As I confronted to root of my people pleasing behavior and perpetual need for affirmation, God thrust me into a relational desert. Within my life, the affirmation of the people I served was the oasis. Identifying what was at the root and learning to deny my false self and drink from the Living Waters has been to story of the narrow path.
God created the lack because He was not willing to let me settle for the false sense of self.
We are in the hands of the sculptor. He is busy shaving away the corners and rough edges. The process gets more painful to resist as the chips get more focused. If the new creation is the promised land of the follower of Christ, then this life will be a long wandering in various deserts. With the ultimate intent of our transformation.
What desert do you find yourself in? What area of lacking in your life is God trying to use to chip away your false self? Are you searching for the oasis or developing trust?
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