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(Editor's Note: You may find Part Two of this excellent series by Bishop Butler by searching for his articles on the "Article Search" page.)
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
(1 Cor. 10:5-13)

How many want to reach their potential? It's not enough to have potential. It's time to reach your potential.

You'll find that there are five reasons why the Israelites did not cross over into Canaan's land. Canaan's land was for them, God's perfect will for their lives. Canaan's land was the land of blessing, it was a place of prosperity, it was a place of special provision, it was a place of restitution, it was a place of being in control, it was their place of being free, it was their place of being healed. I mean, Canaan land was God's special place for them. It was the land of milk and honey.

God has Canaan land available for you in the earth. But there were five sins that stopped them from entering into Canaan's land. And the word that we just read told us that they are an example to us, that we can look at the five things that kept them out of God's promised land for them, and God has a promised land for you.

God has a special place of blessings for you. You know there is a Canaan land for you. You know there is a land of milk and honey for you. You know there is a place of rest and restitution and prosperity and increase for you. You know that there is a wonderful place of joy and peace available for you. Whether or not you enter into that, or whether or not you stay in Canaan's land, depends on whether or not you fall for Satan's devices. And there are 5 sins we found here that cause them not to enter into Canaan's land.

They did not get to go into Canaan's land. They just got to the edge of it in the wilderness. I'm telling you, it's a tough thing to see your blessing, you can see it, but you can't go over and get it. That's bad. That's like being married to a woman, a beautiful woman, she sleeps in bed with you every day, but you aren't allowed to touch her. You talk about the ultimate frustration, right?

So we want to be able to enter into all of the promises, all of the Canaan's land that God's provided for us. Now, those five sins were these:

1. Lust
2. Idolatry
3. Fornication
4. Tempting Christ
5. Murmuring

I want to tell you right now, if you are involved with adultery, fornication, homosexuality, incest, habitual masturbation, pornography, any of those things, you won't enter into Canaan's land. You're going to have to make a decision to repent. Change your ways. Turn and go in the other direction. You'll get help from the Holy Ghost when you make a decision not to walk in the wilderness, but to get over into Canaan's land. Because these things will keep you from doing it.

Let's talk about lust for a minute, and let me define lust. A lot of times when people think lust, they only think of it in terms of sexual lust, and that's certainly part of it. But let me give you a definition for lust that will help you. Lust is satisfying self at the expense of God and others. It is the preoccupation with what self wants. It is satisfaction and gratification of the flesh.

Simply put, lust always wants to get. As opposed to love. Love always wants to give. There's a difference.

We have a responsibility, particularly as married men, where lust involved. When a man is only interested in his own sexual gratification, it doesn't matter to him whether his wife is pleased or not, whether she's blessed or not. Sex pretty much winds up being wham, bam, thank you ma'am. Off to sleep you go while she's sitting there wondering what happened.

Lust is doing stuff at the expense of somebody else, so you wind up just using her, or shall we say using her body. You wind up utilizing her body for your own purposes, as opposed to ministering unto her.

I won't get into graphic detail about this issue, but lots of times men are not interested in finding out how to delay their own gratification and ejaculation and other such things, because they don't have enough patience with their wives to find out what it takes to bring her to a place where she is satisfied, which takes a dangerous word for us, time.

I'll be quite frank with you - time is involved. It's involved in ministering to her, because she's moved by how you talk to her that day, and the day before, maybe the week before. You saw that shapely outline and you're ready to go. But no, she has to have someone that's going to love her, is going to talk to her, is going to bring her along, who's going to hold her, who's going to talk about what happened during the day.

What are we talking about? We're talking about an individual who's not into just satisfying the flesh. See, lust goes beyond the issue of sex. Lust gets over into whether or not a man will spend lots of money on his boy toys. Whether or not he spends money on his boy toys, at the expense of God and others.

God placed you upon this earth to carry out a job and that's to minister the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, you may not all be called to apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teachers, but everyone is called, everyone has a ministry, you are called to carry out the work of the ministry.

Ephesians tells us that God called you to do what's required to see to it that it gets done, and that even includes funding it. Lust of the flesh will cause you to go out and buy the big TV, or the automobiles that you really don't need. And put a strain on your budget. It will cause you to go out and buy suits and clothes and new things, which are just the satisfaction of the flesh at the expense of others.

Your responsibility as a man is dealing with things in the future. A man has to think about the future. A man cannot be occupying himself with just the now. That's women's prerogative. Women get to think about today. Men have to think about the future. Being able to provide 5 years down the road, that's his responsibility. To anticipate what's coming in the future, that's his job. But lust of the flesh will cause you to take care of your own desires right now, at the expense of God and others.

And so you will tie yourself up financially, you tie yourself up by carrying out your own wishes and desires. Then you'll think that what you need is more money. For most people I've found, the issue is not getting more money. The issue is managing lust of the flesh in their lives. There are people I know, that if I gave them $200,000, they would still be in trouble a year from now. The issue is not how much money they make. The issue is that there's lust of the flesh and mismanagement of it.

It is the responsibility of a man to make sure that the future is taken care of. Setting aside his own gratification, so that he can carry out the will of God for himself, his family, and his ministry.

Debt is an issue of lust of the flesh. The Bible tells us in Proverbs that the borrower is servant to the lender, and it's a function generally of lust of the flesh.

I didn't say it was a sin for you to borrow. But debt should be so low, your debt load should be so low, that you could reach it before very long and wipe it out. Lust of the flesh will cause you to have heavy debt, and it will cause you not to be able to enter into Canaan's land.

The Lord spoke to me when he called me into full-time ministry some 23 years ago. One of the first things the Lord told me to do was get out of debt. There are only two ways out of debt. One, you have to cut expenses. Two, you have to raise more revenue. Those are the only two ways out of debt.

That means that I have to tell my flesh no, and your flesh will always say, "But you are worth it. Look how hard you work." The issue is not how hard you work or whether or not you are worth it. The issue is whether or not the spirit of God is leading you that way. Following God, Proverbs tells us to acknowledge him in all our ways and he would direct our path, and that's just not in church. He will direct your path where your budget is concerned. He will direct your path even where your recreation is concerned.

Do you know God can give you favor? He's done it with me. God is not limited to your pocketbook, checkbook, income, job, he's not limited to any of that. God has whatever you desire, not just what you need. And he'll get the job done for you. But Canaan's land, part of that Canaan's land, you cannot get into it unless you deal with the issue of lust of the flesh.

I don't know how many thousands of couples that I've counseled, and how many times I've sat across the table and the man is totally filled, consumed with himself. He's in there because he's married with his wife, and he brought her in for me to straighten out. "Pastor, tell this woman to submit to me. Doesn't the Bible say...." He doesn't even know where it is, but he says, I know the Bible says it.

I had a man come into my office one time, that man wasn't saved, had never been to church. His wife got him to come in. He came for one reason, because he did know one verse of the Bible - Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord.

He said, "Preacher, isn't that what the Bible said?"

I said, "Yes sir, that's what the Bible said, but you need to read the one verse before that one."

We turned and read the one verse before that, he didn't know that was in the Bible. Submitting yourself one to another. I told him that there are times you need to submit to her too. His jaw dropped, and I started talking about his lust of the flesh.

See, lust of the flesh will always cause you to see her as the problem. It always focuses on what I'm not getting instead of what I'm giving.

Well, lust of the flesh caused them not to be able to enter into the Promised Land. It says in verse 6, these things were an example, to the extent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. They lusted after Egypt. Their feet were walking towards the Promised Land, but their hearts were thinking about Egypt, where they came from. As soon as a little trouble came down the road to them, they started crying out, right away, that they should have stayed in Egypt. Egypt was still in their hearts.

What's in your heart? The old ways of living? Is that still in your heart? Want to do things the world's way? Thinking that the world's way of sex is the way you're supposed to do things? Well now, if you're going to read all the magazines and watch all that pornography, you're going to be dissatisfied, even when you ought to be satisfied.

You'll be thinking that there's something you're not getting. When your wife doesn't do this for you, which is repulsive anyway, you'll be thinking, well, what I need is a real woman. No, what you really need is to love upon that woman. She can satisfy you. In fact, if you'll go home and be the man I'm talking about to that woman, that woman will satisfy you.

Keith Butler Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Keith Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
Bishop Keith A. Butler is the senior pastor of Word of Faith International Christian Center. Keith Butler is the founder and president of Keith Butler Ministries (KBM), an international organization established to take the life-changing message of the Gospel to "the uttermost parts of the earth." Through Live Your Faith Seminars and the establishment of our PISTIS School of Ministry in various locations, Keith Butler provides teaching of the Word of God on a variety of subjects such as how to live the life of faith, how to fulfill the call of God for your life, how to receive your healing, the importance of walking in love and many more topics. PISTIS is specifically designed to train ministers so that they are equipped to go out into their world and teach and preach Jesus effectively.

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