Now is the accepted time

A number of years ago, I was travelling home by car in South Africa. I was living on a farm in the Karroo.  At that time I was involved in a travelling ministry as well as doing part time civil engineering. I began to think to myself, “One day I will have a wonderful relationship with God. I will be greatly used by God and God will greatly bless my life.” It was like a daydream.  As I was thinking these thoughts, a scripture came into my mind. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

It was as if the Holy Spirit was saying to me, “Not some vague day in the future, but you can step into that right now!” God’s time is always now. God wants us to be blessed now, not some time in the distant future. The devil always has a tomorrow, or some time later. He will give us a hundred reasons why we cannot be blessed right now and enter into all that God wants us to have right now. God is the God of the now! His name is I AM, and not I WILL BE or I WAS.

We have a tendency either to live in the past or the future. We remember the great blessings and the move of the Holy Spirit in the past. We think to ourselves, “Oh I wish it would happen again.” On the other hand we can live in the future; “Revival is coming, God is going to do wonderful things among us.” We make wonderful declarations year after year of what God is going to do, but it is like a dream that never comes to pass.

I heard an amusing illustration of a sign in a restaurant which said: “Tomorrow there will be free meals.” The following day a number of people came for their free meals, but the owner pointed to the sign which read, “Tomorrow there will be free meals.” The truth of the matter is that if we do not take steps of faith today and move towards what we desire, nothing will happen. If we do not go to our ‘spiritual promised land,’ it will not come to us. 

In Number chapter 13 and 14, we read about how Moses sent out Joshua, Caleb and the ten spies to spy out the land of Canaan. When they returned, the ten spies said. “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.  Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; … We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” (Number 13:27-31)

They were saying to Moses, the land is wonderful, but there are too many problems and obstacles, we cannot go up right now. The same can happen to us. We continually focus on all our negative circumstances and problems and we do not believe God can do it right now.

On the other hand, Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Number 13:30)  Caleb and Joshua also saw the giants and the cities, but they also remembered the promise that God gave to them through Moses in Exodus 3:17, “I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, …  to a land flowing with milk and honey.”  

Therefore, when we believe God’s word and His promises, we can “go up at once” and enter into our spiritual promised lands. It does not depend on our performance or abilities, but on what Jesus has accomplished on the cross for us and what God has promised!

We have a similar example of this when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. We read about the dialogue between Jesus and Martha in John 11:23-25, “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  In other words, “Yes Lord, I know that he will rise again, some day in the future.  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In  other words, “No Martha, you do not understand, I want to do it now, I am the resurrection and the life!” In the same way, we can receive now, if we believe God’s word and take steps of faith to receive that what He has promised us.

Therefore:

1. We can receive our healing an deliverance right now. We read in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Now is the appointed time, now is the day of salvation.” The word salvation is a big word that also means, healing, deliverance and forgiveness. We can believe and receive our healing right now, even if we do not see the evidence right away. In Mark 11:14, we read how Jesus walked past a fig tree and said, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” Nothing seemed to happen immediately, but the following day the disciples noticed that the frig tree had dried up from the roots. Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God.” The fig tree died the moment Jesus spoke, but they only saw the evidence the following day. In the same way, just because we do not see the immediate evidence of our healing, it does not mean that we are not healed. Often the evidence appears later. In 1 Peter 2:24, It says, “By His stripes we were healed.” It does not say, By His stripes we will be healed.”

2. We can receive our answers to our prayers right now.  Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The Passion Translation says, “…believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” It does not say, “Believe that you shall receive in the future. We receive when we ask, even if we do not see the immediate evidence. Furthermore, Jesus says in Matthew 7:8, “Whoever asks receives…” Obviously we must ask according to God’s will. We read in 1 John 5:14-15, “… for if we present any request agreeable to his will, he will hear us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we also know that we have obtained the requests we ask of him.” (TPT) Although there is a place for persevering prayer, sometimes we need thank God for the answers even before we see them!

3. We can enjoy a wonderful relationship with God right now. The Bible says in James 4:8,Draw near to God and He will draw near to us.” As we draw near, He draws near. We can do so right now! If we know that we need to spend more time in prayer, reading our Bibles, personal worship, etc. Why not do so today? Now is the accepted time!

In Song of Solomon 5:2-6, we read about a young girl and her beloved. In verse 2 the young girl says “I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, [a]my love… (She answers him) I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them? My beloved put his hand By the latch of the door, And my heart yearned for him.”  (After a delay) we read in verse 5, “I arose to open for my beloved,… I opened for my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”

She lost the opportunity to have a wonderful, close relationship with her beloved because she did not respond to him immediately. This can happen to us. The Holy Spirit stirs our heart to have fellowship and spend time in prayer. But because it is inconvenient, or we are distracted or lazy we miss wonderful encounters with God. The Bible says, in Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” Now is the time to seek the Lord, now is the time to draw near to God. Sometimes, the best time to do so, is when it seems inconvenient.

4. We can obey God right now. We read in Hebrews 3:7-8, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” If we do not obey God today, it may be more difficult to do so later. Right now we can do what the Bible says we must do. We can bring our tithes, we can forgive one another, we can repent of our sins, we can pray, etc.  

We should not be like the man in Matthew 8:22-23 who said to Jesus, ” … Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” If we to follow and obey Jesus, we can do it right now.

5. We can testify about Jesus and tell others about Him right now.  In 2 Timothy 4:2 we read, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.” The Amplified Bible says, “Preach the word, be ready when the time is right and even when it is not keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome.” Often opportunities come when we open our mouths and simply just begin to tell others about Jesus. We read in Jeremiah 8:2, “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!” If we do not use the opportunities that God gives us today to tell others about Jesus, we may lose these opportunities in the future.

6. Right now we can rejoice in the Lord. In Philippians 4:4 we read, “Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice!” We are commanded to rejoice, even if we do not feel like doing so. We have an interesting instruction in Nehemiah 8:9: “… for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Instead of wanting to give up and sit down and cry, we can take a step of faith and rejoice and praise the Lord. This is what Paul and Silas did in Acts 16. They were severely beaten and thrown in prison. They probably were tempted to be discouraged but instead at midnight they sang songs to the Lord and God sent a great deliverance.

7. Finally, now is the time to follow Jesus with all our hearts. Therefore “today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. For today is the day of your salvation.”  God wants to do great things for us and through us. We are living in a time of wonderful new opportunities. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 16:9, For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” Amen