Tony Evans - Claiming Your Territory
When God created Adam, he said, "Let them rule," and the reason he said that is because God has decided to do most of what he does based on the decisions that we make. That's why he didn't stop Adam from eating the fruit, because this was his decision. God will let you have your choice, for him or against him, and if you choose for him, he joins with you. If you choose against him, you're on your own, but you do get to rule. He is just calling us to rule as kingdom men and as kingdom men that establishes authority, because when we rule he backs up that rule when it's according to his book. The beautiful thing about being a kingdom man is now it's not just on you. God now must stand with you and for you and in support of you, because you, in fact, are standing with him.
You know, I was in Africa, and the lions were roaring in this particular location, and I learned a little bit about lions roaring, and I discovered that a lion's roar can be heard for up to 5 miles. That up to 5 miles, when they really wanna let it be known, "This is my house," they roar. It's time for some kingdom men to roar. It's time for some kingdom men to let it be known, "This is God's house". You know, a lot of us want to change the White House, when we can't even change our house. It's time for kingdom men to roar and to establish divine territory, garden that hell cannot invade. And if hell has already invaded, we wanna back 'em off. We wanna show 'em what it looks like when he has overcome by the rule of God.
Every man here has a destiny. You have a divine place that God has placed you. It's not the same as the man sitting next to you, but it's all yours if you'll take it. But the principle you need to understand is that God will only deliver it when you're ready to handle it. He will not give it to you, he will not unfold it if he knows you're gonna make a disaster of it. That's the truth of Joshua chapter 1. In Joshua chapter 1 we have the story of the preparation of Israel to enter into the Promised Land. They had an inheritance. This inheritance was divine provision for God's people, but they hadn't gotten to it yet because they hadn't decided to live under God.
In fact, the leaders had rebelled so that only Joshua and Caleb were gonna get to go to the Promised Land, not because God didn't want 'em there, but they didn't wanna operate under his kingdom. And so, we come to Joshua chapter 1, and God is giving Joshua guidance for operating the dominion that he's given him. Let me explain the three stages of God leading you to your destiny as a kingdom man. Stage one is deliverance. They had to get out of Egypt. Deliverance. That is, our salvation is where we get started. Stage two is development. Development is the wilderness. It's the ups and downs of dry seasons and dry territories. The wilderness isn't fun, but it is critical. There is no man who's reached his destiny without going through the wilderness. There is no man who can reach the Promised Land if he's not willing to learn to trust God in the dry seasons.
So if you're in the wilderness that's bad news and it's good news. The bad news is, it doesn't feel good. The good news is, it's taking you somewhere. It is delivering you to where God wants you to be. God confirmed that I was to go into the ministry with a broken leg in football. That was my love. That was my dream. Broke my tibia and fibula and that became a confirmation that that's not where he wanted me. He wanted me in a whole new direction. God will let things break, but he's taking you somewhere, and so God wanted Joshua to know he was taking him somewhere and as he does he wants you to know that everything, listen to this, for where he's taking you has already been provided. This is good news for kingdom men. Everything you are needing for where he is taking you, you already have. In fact, everything God is ever gonna give you, you already have, but you got to go get it. God will give it, but you have to get it.
A lot of people want God to give it but they don't want to get it, and therefore they do not receive it. God says, "In the Promise Land I have already made provisions". He says there is a land flowing with milk and honey. He says there are wells you did not dig. He says there are houses you did not build, there are fields you did not cultivate, but they're all sitting ready for you. How did those fields get ready, the wells get dug, and the houses get built? By the Canaanites, Jebusites, Hittites. In other words, by the sinners. God let the sinners set it up so the saints could pick it up. Do you know God will even use the devil to set up stuff for you for when you are ready to receive it? So, he says, "I got this Promised Land. You weren't ready. Now I'm developing you. Now you're willing to come under my authority, so now it's time to claim your inheritance".
When you're a kingdom man, there is an inheritance to claim because there is a destiny to fulfill, so he calls Joshua and he says, "Joshua, I want you now to learn these four principles. I'm gonna give you four principles that will take you to your destiny, to the fulfillment of God's purpose for your life, call on your life, and destiny for your life". These principles are found in Joshua chapter 1. "Moses my servant is dead; therefore arise and cross the Jordan. Principle number one, if you're gonna get to your destiny, leave yesterday behind. "Moses my servant is dead". You gotta get over Moses. You've gotta get beyond Moses. Moses was great, Moses was important, but Moses was yesterday. He doesn't let Joshua go to his tomorrow until his yesterday dies.
Too many men today are tethered to yesterday, regrets from yesterday, sins from yesterday. When it comes to yesterday, have Memorial Day. Go out every now and then and go to the grave. Visit your yesterday, have some good memories, and then get on with your life, because if the devil can keep you tied to yesterday, he can thwart you moving to tomorrow. Moses was a great guy, but he's gone, and now that he's gone, let's get up and move forward. Yesterday will destroy you, watch this, whether it's good, bad, or ugly. What do I mean? Good are your successes. Those are the great things that have happened to you. You should appreciate the great things that have happened to you. You should revel in the great thing, but that was yesterday. If the only thing you can talk about, about what God is doing in your life, is what he did yesterday, that means he's not relevant to you today.
The Bible says his mercies are new every day and that's not just, you know, food on my table and clothes on my back. It is him showing up, showing out because he's got a new direction for you to move in today, but you gotta let yesterday go, even the good stuff. You certainly must let the bad stuff go. The bad stuff are the sins, the mistakes, the errors, the regrets. You wish you hadn't done it. You wish you hadn't put yourself in that position. You wish you hadn't been thwarted like that, and there are regrets. God can hit a bull's eye with a crooked stick. When you look at the men in the Bible, it's hard to find one who didn't mess up. Now, that doesn't give you permission to mess up, because everybody who messed up got consequences for messing up, so if you don't want the consequence, don't mess up. But the good news is, even the ones who messed up, when they got back under God's authority, God was able to take a mess and still create a miracle.
I mean, "Moses my servant is dead," and Moses was a murderer. He went out and killed one of the Egyptians outside of the will of God. It took him 40 years to get that thing straight, but after the 40th of getting it straight, God showed him a burning bush and said, "Now you're ready," and sent him out to be used. So, if you got a messed-up yesterday, don't let it draw on and become a mess-up today. He says you gotta let it go. That was yesterday. We know, Peter denied the Lord three times. Three times he denied the Lord. You know why he denied the Lord? 'Cause he became independent. He told Jesus in Luke 22, "Everybody else will leave you, but I'm your main man. I'll never leave you". Jesus said, "Shut. Shut. Shut up". He says, "Before the cock crows, before tomorrow morning this time, you will have denied me three times".
Now, I don't know about you, but I'd have gone to a Holiday Inn and head out, you know, if you're gonna tell me about what time I'm gonna deny you. But when the pressure got hot, he denied the Lord. He messed up, but at the end of John he says, "Peter, do you love me"? Oh, now he wasn't so quick to talk about the, "Love Jones". He wasn't so quick. He said, "Ah, well, I kinda like you. He ain't gonna get me out there on that love thing no more. Last time I messed up". He asked him three times, "Do you love me"? And then he said, "Ah, now that you've humbled yourself, now you can feed my sheep. Now you can move on to your destiny". So, even the mistakes, well, you ought to learn from 'em and, yes, you regret them. Don't let them stop you from moving on to your destiny.
And then there is the ugly. Now, by ugly I'm talking about stuff that happened to you that was negative, but it wasn't your fault. Maybe you were abused as a child. Maybe you were fired unfairly. It wasn't your fault, but it was still bad. Well, the beautiful thing about God is he can do some nice stuff with ugly. That's why I love the story of Joseph in the Bible. He had a destiny. He had a dream that one day his brothers were gonna bow before him. They found out about the dream. "Who do you think you are, Mr. Big Stuff"? and they sold him into slavery. When they sold him into slavery, then it looked like things were gonna get better, because he winds up at Potiphar's house. But then, he's approached by Potiphar's wife, and she cries rape when he didn't rape her, and now he gets thrown in jail.
That ain't right. In jail the guy who is released forgets him and forgets to tell the king that there is this guy in jail who ought not be there, so he stays in jail. It's 13 years of ugly from the time he is sold into slavery to being forgotten in jail. But every time something bad happens to Joseph, you'll read this phrase in the book of Genesis, it says, "But the Lord was with Joseph". Now, it's ugly happening, but the Lord was with Joseph. And, finally, the king has a nightmare on Elm Street. They need somebody to help them to interpret it. The man said, "Oh, man, there was a guy in prison who used to be able to be good at this stuff". They call Joseph, he interprets the dream, and he goes from the outhouse to the White House. He's second in charge in Egypt and when his brothers come to him, he says this, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good," but he has another line, "to bring me to this place".
In other words, "God let me be sold into slavery, let me go to Potiphar's house so I could go to an Egyptian jail, so the king could have a dream, so I can interpret the dream, so I could be made now second in Egypt, so that now that you brothers are hungry I'd be in a position to feed you. God was leading me to this place". So, even the ugly things that have happened to you, God can use those things in order to take you to your future. So, leave yesterday behind. Learn from it, benefit from it, trust God in it, but don't live in it. Secondly, seize your inheritance. Cross over the Jordan. "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I have spoken to Moses. From the wilderness to the Lebanon, even to the great river, the Euphrates, the land of the Hittites, the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, which is your territory".
Remember, I said God has already taken care of where he is taking you. It's already been set up, but you have to tread on it to get it. Most times people say, "I'm waiting on God". Most of the time that's not the problem. The problem is God is waiting on us. He's waiting on us to align our movements toward him, under his rule, so he can take us to what he has set up for us. Whenever God does something significant in the life of a man in the Bible, it is after the man moves, not before the man moves. Moses is gonna open up the Red Sea, but not until God tells him, "What are you waiting for? Stick out the rod". Until he put out the rod, God didn't open up the Red Sea, but when he opened up the Red Sea, it was because he responded by putting out the rod. Not only that, when Joshua is gonna cross the Jordan. He says, "When the priests put their foot in the banks of the Jordan, then I will block the Jordan so the children of Israel can go through".
Could it be that you've not discovered your destiny 'cause God's not seeing anything moving in your feet? That is, you have not responded to what he wants you to do in the situation that you're in. In Genesis chapter 22, God tells Abraham, "Kill your son, your only son, whom you love". That doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense, number one, 'cause you said my son is going to keep the company going and through my son my name is gonna be made great. How can you make his name great when he's not married, doesn't have a kid, and you want me to kill him? So, it does make sense. Secondly, it doesn't make sense because you are asking me to do something that you yourself said shouldn't be done. You asked me to kill. Aren't you the one that's gonna say, "Thou shalt not kill"? Aren't you the one in Genesis 9 who says, "If you kill, you're attacking the image of God"?
So, what you're asking doesn't make sense. Let me explain what happens. When God ask you to move as a kingdom man and it doesn't make sense, he does it for one reason. God tells Abraham, "Now I know that you fear me". Wait a minute. What do you mean now you know? You're God. You're supposed to know everything. How come you don't know that till now? Let me give you a little secret. God knows everything actually and potentially. In other words, he knows what is, and he knows what could be, but I'm gonna tell you one thing God does not know, okay? You say, "But wait a minute. You can't tell me anything God does not know". Yeah, I can tell you one thing God does not know. God does not know how something feels until he feels it. If I ask you to tell me what God feels when he sins, could God tell you how he feels when he sins? He couldn't tell you how he feels when he sins 'cause he's never done it, okay?
In other words, that's a feeling he can't tell you, so what God likes is when you act in faith in a contradictory situation so he can get that feeling, 'cause at that moment God is saying, "I like that feeling". He says, "Now I know that you fear me, because you are willing to give your son, your only son, and sacrifice him to me". When God put you in that situation, he's looking for movement. That movement is called faith. He says, "I want you to tread your foot and every place you put your foot I am gonna give it to you". That's not name it, claim it, 'cause he says, "I've already promised it to you," so he's only gonna give him what he's already promised. That's called the will of God. When you submit yourself to the will of God, you're submitting yourself to what he plans to do. And since he's already planned to do it, why don't I have it?
Well, you don't have it either because it's not time or he hasn't seen movement. It's not because the lights don't work. It's that they respond to motion, so the question you must always ask is: "God, what do you want me to do to draw near to what you have already planned for me"? Because a kingdom man always has an inheritance. He always has a destiny. He goes on. Focused on God, not people. Verse 5, "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you nor forsake you". And so, he goes on and tells them, "Be strong and courageous". In other words, don't let the size of the people problem stop you from your progress. The reason they didn't enter the Promised Land is because of people. They said, "We are grasshoppers, and they are giants". They looked at the situation and let the situation dictate their movement.
You never allow people to have the final say-so in your life as a kingdom man. Why? The same reason a lineman doesn't get the final say-so over the ref, 'cause I got a commissioner backing me up, and he's bigger than the lineman. Many of us are stopped by people. We see people's power, people's money, people's prestige, and we make people the king, when we have our own King, and our own King makes the final decisions in our life. Finally, he says that they are to stay tethered, stay tied, to God's Word. Verse 7, "Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; do not turn from the right or the left, that you may have success whatever you do. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and you will have great success".
God has called you to greatness, he has called you to success, and the way you get that is by staying tethered to The Book. God will never contradict his Word. He will confirm his Word with circumstances, the Holy Spirit, and other people, but he will never contradict his Word. The Word of God, when acted on, has power, and it works. Kingdom men first ask, "What does God say about this matter"? He says, "God, show me from your Word what you want me to do about this matter". When you decide to do it God's way on the front end and not just ask him to fix up the mess on the back end, God's written Word is a life maker. He knows more about life making and life living than you, your daddy, your granddaddy, your great-granddad, your peeps know. He knows more about life living than you do, and he says if you stay tethered to his Word and don't go to the left or the right, don't add human opinion, don't add human thought, don't find out what your friends think when it contradicts God, then you will have not success. You'll have great success. In other words, you'll reach your inheritance, and you'll reach your destiny.
As we conclude this session, we're in a building. This building is our education center, and it's our youth room in our education center. There is a story that goes with this building sitting here. When we left the school, we needed a place to land. I walked up and down the street and saw that this little A-frame building across the street from where we are was on sale. We went and talked to the pastor, and he said we're gonna need $200.000 to get it. We didn't have any money, but we needed a place, so we went before the Lord, and we said, "Lord, show us if this is for us".
I walked up and down both sides of the street and there was nothing but grass and trees, acre after acre after acre after acre after acre of grass and trees, and this little A-frame church. Up at the corner were two shopping centers and everything else was grass and trees. I was having devotions one day and when I was having devotions I came to Joshua 1. When I was reading Joshua 1 that day, it said, "Every place on which you put your foot, I have already given it to you". What happened then was, God took a yellow highlighter and highlighted the verse. In other words, the verse jumped off the page. He was no longer talking to Joshua. He was talking through Joshua to me.
That's how you know that God's Word is talking to you, even though it was written to Moses or Joshua or somebody else, 'cause God highlights it in your spirit, and you know it's not just for them. It's for you, and so, the Word jumped off the page every place, so I closed my Bible, went outside, and started walking. I walked all up Camp Wisdom, all down Camp Wisdom. I even left the neighborhood and walked around other places, and I just walked, and I said, "Lord, based on your Word, I claim this".
Well, let me tell you how we paid the 200.000. We got the 200.000 'cause I was talking to a friend of mine in North Dallas, and the friend of mine in North Dallas was a business guy, and I said, "We need $200.000. The bank won't loan us the money. How are we gonna get it"? While I'm talking to this guy a man passes by who knows my friend. They speak to each other. I've never seen this other guy before in my life, so I go back talking to my friend. I see the other guy standing at the door. You know how irritating it is when you're having an important meeting with somebody you don't know, the guy is all up in your grill?
You know, he's all up listening to this conversation. He comes in and sits down, so I'm now frustrated, but I'm a preacher. I can't say what I think, so I'm frustrated, and he sits down and makes himself at home. I think, "What in the world is this guy doing"? And so, then he starts asking questions. I have never seen this man before in my life. For 45 minutes he asked questions. After 45 minutes, he says, "I think I can help you". He takes out his checkbook and writes out a check for $200.000, so that's how we got the building.
Claiming your territory. This is the call of men to seize what God has in store for you. God told Joshua, "Every place you put your foot, I have given it to you". That means you gotta go get it. A lot of people want an Amazon relationship to God. They just want God to drop it and deliver it, but God says, "No, I have paid for it. I have provided it, but I need to see you walk in faith to go get it". You cannot be passive and be a kingdom man. If you're gonna be the man God has created you to be, then that means you gotta step up and take and accept responsibility to go after God's provision.
I don't care what yesterday looks like: the successes, the failures, probably some of both. But I want you now to get up and say, "Now, Lord, what do you want me to go after"? When you respond to his revealed will, what the Bible tells you you should be doing, then he will lead you in his personal will, in his private will, things that have not been directly revealed in Scripture, as the Holy Spirit directs your steps for the next thing, the next place, the next challenge you are to face. There is responsibility to manhood. Far too many men are not meeting that responsibility. Mister, go claim your territory, go get the yardage. Go score, because that's what Kingdom men do.