Tag Archives: Christianity

5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part IV) – The Test

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)Having being equipped and prepared for the purpose to which we have been called, the final hurdle we all have to overcome prior to being chosen by God onto greatness is the test of our faithfulness and readiness. Even Jesus was not exempt from the readiness and faithfulness test. Indeed, the bible tells us that He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted (tested) by the devil (Matthew 4:1). It was not until after He passed that test in the wilderness that He was released onto His ministry. How do we know this? We know because the bible tells us that Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom for the first time only after departing to Galilee –  after His wilderness experience (Matthew 4:17).

Just in case you think the Test only applies to Jesus who was both man and God, I want to assure you that this applies to ordinary men. Elisha was an ordinary man who was put to the test before he became a prophet. After calling Elisha to walk with him for years, Elijah suddenly told Elisha to no longer follow Him. In essence, Elijah was telling Elisha that their journey together was done (2 Kings 2:2)! I can only imagine what Elisha was thinking at the time. I imagine it may have been the following:

‘I can’t believe this guy. After I have served him faithfully for years, now he is just dumping me…especially after I left my family and my livelihood behind’.

Elisha could have chosen to depart in rage, BUT he did not and so passed the test of faithfulness. Later, when the sons of the prophets for lack of better words said ‘dude, your master is about to leave you man, why don’t you just go home?’ Elisha did not despair or say in his heart: ‘these guys are like top notch Christians, I will listen to them’. No! Instead, Elisha told them to hush their mouths (see 2 Kings 2:3)! See, Elisha was ready to follow Elijah wherever he went and so continued following him. For this, Elisha was rewarded with the mantle of prophet and a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

What does all this tell us? It lets us know that a hefty reward is the end of our readiness to follow Jesus to wherever He leads us…even if it is towards the wilderness. It lets us know that a prize follows our dogged determination to stay faithful to Him no matter how great the temptation. Thus, we have to start taking a look at tests and temptation differently. Rather than wail and gnash our teeth at another attack from the devil, we ought to look at it as a last ditch attempt by a frantic enemy to keep us from the blessing that God wants to shower upon us. But here is the thing, the devil cannot stop us from greatness since we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit – the very power that conquered the grave and put the devil underfoot. Therefore, tests of the wilderness (where trials and tribulation abound) and of temptation should simply strengthen our resolve to push through by the grace (power) of God.

It is when we pass the readiness and faithfulness test that God says ‘okay, I can choose this one for his/her love for me does not flick on and off like a light switch’. You see, the bible tells us that many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). If we want to be chosen, we have to pass the test. In order to pass the test, we have to be equipped with the One who has never failed. In order not to fail at what we do, what we choose to do must be what God has called us to do!

Food for Thought: You have to pass the test in order to get the best

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5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part III) – Preparation

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)If we want to be great, we have to follow the example of the great One; we have to follow in the footsteps of the one who was chosen to be great. I am careful to use the word ‘chosen to be great’ because although Jesus was called to be great, as a man, He had to show Himself worthy to be chosen! It was not until He had proven Himself worthy that everything was given into His hands (see John 13:3). Although God called Jesus to save humanity (see John 3:16) and then proceeded to equip Him with the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 3:16), God had to test Jesus before releasing Him unto His ministry. If you do not believe me, just read what the scripture tells us in the fourth chapter of Matthew.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

See, it was the Spirit of God that Jesus the man was equipped with that led Jesus into the wilderness (into hardship) to be tested by the devil for the express purpose of seeing whether Jesus was ready for the mammoth task that was before Him. I love that Jesus did not shirk away from this challenge. Jesus did not complain, moan, and groan at the difficulty that He was going to face like some of us do when any difficulty come our way. Instead of complaining and perhaps ‘justifiably’ deciding not to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in going into hardship in the wilderness, Jesus simply yielded Himself to obedience.

Lightbulb MomentJust because things are hard does not mean it is NOT God. God never promised it would be easy, He has promised there will be victory.

But Jesus did not simply say ‘Oh, well! God is sending me into hardship! He sanctioned this and it is all down to Him to save me.’ Rather than simply throw His hands up in fatalistic surrender, Jesus embarked upon a period incredible preparation. The bible tells us that He fasted forty days and nights. He did this so He would be prepared for the test that was to come. Yes, the preparation took a lot out of Jesus, but it was the same preparation that made Him ready to combat the test the devil threw at Him.Without this preparation, would Jesus have failed the test in the wilderness? We will never know! Likewise, when we adequately prepare for our God-given mission, we will not have to undergo failure. We may undergo setbacks, but we will not fail!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is vital if we are to enter into greatness; this part of the journey is solely our responsibility.

It is in preparation that most of us who are called miss the boat so that we are not chosen. Most of us are looking for favor; we want to be noticed by someone and be elevated without putting in the work to be noticed. Without preparing, we are found wanting when the test, which is simply an opportunity to show what we are made of, comes.

See, Jeremy Lin understood the importance of being prepared (being ready and staying ready). When he finally got His opportunity with the New York Knicks, He was ready to pass the test! He was worthy of what He wanted. Would he have been granted another opportunity? We will never know!

Lightbulb MomentPreparation is what makes us worthy of the greatness we aspire towards, therefore, we should stay ready for we never know when God says to us ‘it is your turn to be great’

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SuperChamp Musing – Law keeping or Word keeping

Is your robotic obedience to the statutes in the bible not bringing the desired result you expect? The problem may very well be that you are keeping the law instead of keeping the word. Have a listen!

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Holding onto Offense – Who made you the ‘Righteous’ Judge?

In life, while being offended is perhaps to some extent inevitable, holding onto offense is definitely avoidable and is a choice! If we are to neglect the fear-based folly of being easily offended, a deep look into why we hold onto offense reveals a prideful mind that thinks the world of ourselves or a mind that thinks the person who offended will get away with what they have done.  So, many times we react in essence because deep down we think God’s justice is not quite just enough; we think that our justice is much more applicable and right, and we truly do not believe that the offender will reap whatever they sow! We tend to hold onto offense and act upon it when we cannot stand the thought of God being merciful to the person who has done us or our loved one’s wrong. Like Jonah, we would rather have the ‘Ninevites’ of our lives be judged and punished by our own measuring stick instead of God’s.

Our tendency to hold onto offense is born out of self-righteousness. When we say ‘I cannot believe this person did this to me; I must punish them by…’ we have become the judge. In becoming the judge, we have unconsciously taken the place of God and have unknowingly entered into pride. And because pride comes before destruction, it turns out that we punish ourselves by holding onto offense.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: While God’s justice spares the innocent while dealing with the guilty; our justice punishes the innocent and the guilty alike. God’s justice is pure; our justice is perverted!

The bible warns of the folly of meting out our own justice in the story of Absalom (the son of David) and his brother Amnon. The scripture tells us that Absalom was bent on exacting the revenge he saw fitting on Amnon after Amnon had wickedly forced himself on Tamar (see 2 Samuel 13:32). Rather than wait on God’s justice to be done on Amnon, he determined after two years that he had waited long enough for the ‘just’ price of death to be paid by Amnon. Absalom simply could not wait on God’s timing nor was he willing to consider that death might not be the right price to pay.

While our human emotion and sentiment may tend to say that what Absalom did served Amnon right, the problem is that what he did also served him (Absalom) wrong. As a result of his justice, he broke the fellowship he had with his father (David), he caused division and turmoil within the family, he lost the good life he was enjoying in Jerusalem, and he had to flee in fear and live in fear of retribution. Yes, Absalom punished Amnon, but he also punished himself.

Conversely, David was a man whose heart was surrendered to God and so relied on God’s justice in God’s timing. Rather than take his opportunity to kill Saul (see 1 Samuel 26), David spared Saul who was a major source of offense to David and instead said in regards to Saul that ‘As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish’ (see 1 Samuel 26:10). Although David’s aide saw the opportunity to kill Saul as God’s diving intervention and blessing, David knew better. He knew exacting justice by his own means and in his own way would profit him nothing. Here is how things turned out: Saul did go out to battle and died as ordained by God – therefore, God’s justice was done in God’s way. Furthermore, David got the kingdom God he was promised by God without fear of retribution for Saul’s murder. Not bad eh?

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Like David, we should not hold onto offense and so miss the mark and pervert justice BUT instead should allow God to have His way and so inherit the Kingdom He has promised us.

Food for Thought: You do not like yourself too much if you hold onto offense

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Gifts and Talents: What God Thinks About Us Squandering Our Talents

Just as the duty of every servant is to attend to the duty of his master, the duty of every believer is to attend to the purpose for which we were born, and do the will of God to which we are called. Being the just God that He is, He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit who equips us with the ability and wherewithal to accomplish His purpose. Yes, we have all been granted a measure of gifts and talents to accomplish the purpose to which we are called. To those of us that decide to use those gifts and talents to do His will, He grants more grace (in the form on power, capability and ability) and magnifies what He has purposed for us.

“Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents” – Matthew 25:28

In contrast, God does not too much fancy those of us that choose not to channel and use our given gifts and talents. He does not take too kindly to us using fear as an excuse for not carrying out His will nor is He impressed with us when we do absolutely nothing of value with our lives. He does not want us to simply bury our talents in the ground but to use them. Why? It is for the purpose of good works that He created us in His image in the first place (see Ephesians 2:10). It is for the aim of accomplishing His purpose and will that He grant us the Holy Spirit who empowers us to be courageous and so to overcome the fear that comes from the enemy.

When the servant told his master he hid his talent out of fear, the master responded with ‘you wicked and lazy servant’ (see Matthew 25:26)! While this may seem harsh, it is exactly how God feels when we squander our gifts and talents out of fear or whatever reason.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we do not use our gifts and talents, God says to us: You know my will and yet you choose not to take any action and use what I have given you. You are wicked and lazy!

God calls us lazy because the only reason we fall into inaction out of fear is due to our choice not to spend time in His Word. For surely when we spend time with Him, we are transformed into His image – the image or courage, love, boldness, strength, and power. We no longer allow fear to stop us from doing the good He wants of us but we overcome the evil of fear with the love of good. But when we choose to be lazy and fail to build ourselves up, we become like the man who refuses to go out into the street from his house for he says there is a lion out there to devour him (see Proverbs 22:13). Poverty is the end of such a man for he will lose what he has – just as the talent was taken away from the servant.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we spend time with love, it casts our all the fear that causes inaction.

God calls us wicked because we have chosen not to advance the kingdom of God by choosing not to use our gifts and talents. See, the desire of God is that we sow the talents He has given us so that is yields up to a 100-fold. He wants us to bless the work of our hands so that we can be a blessing to other people. Here is how the Word puts it:

“…It is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His Covenant…” – Deuteronomy 8:18

Thus, being wealthy is all things helps God establish the Covenant He made with Abraham and that is now made available to all nations or all people of the world through the sacrifice of Jesus. But if we do not use the power (gifts, talents, favor, courage, etc.) that comes from the Holy Spirit to become wealthy in all things, then how are people attracted to us? If people do not see us exhibiting the gift of hope and encouragement in a dire situation, then why would they come to us to inquire of how we can be so joyful? What I am saying is this: God wants to be wealthy is all things so that we can be light to this world; so that people are attracted to the light; so that we can be more effective has His ministers in this world. By burying our gifts and talents, we have hidden our light and we have not loved our lost family members in essence. We hinder the work of God in having those who do not know Him from entering into His Covenant.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: We do not allow our lives to minister to other people when we fail to use the gifts and talents He has given us.

Food For Thought: We miss the mark (sin) when we fail to use our gifts and talents – it shows a love deficiency

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Godly Vision: A Pitfall to Avoid on the Road to Success

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

In ‘How vision is critical to success’, we examined the importance of vision in navigating us through the travails of life and propelling us towards the good life that God intends for us. When we receive a vision of the plans that God has for us – plans to prosper us and to give us a future – the natural response is to begin running towards it with gusto and vigor, knowing that we shall inherit the promises if we do not grow faint and weary. The snag is that Satan also knows this and so tries to get us to become faint-hearted over time as we run. He understands that we inherit the promises through faith and diligence; hence that is what he attacks. He will try to get us to doubt the vision that God has given us. If he cannot stop us from seeing the vision, he will try to convince us that we are not worthy of the vision; that the vision is impossible for us to attain. He will stop at nothing to prevent us from reaching the high calling of God on our life. He knows our race only continues for as long as we live, and so he does everything in his power to dissuade us and to stall our progress. Of the many weapons in his arsenal, the one he likes to use often is discouragement – the bullets of which include comparison and time.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: One of the biggest pitfalls to achieving success is discouragement

If our goal is to chop down a tree, we may begin to compare ourselves to others whose task is also to cut trees down. If we see others felling their trees in record time and obtaining their prize, we may start to wonder whether something is wrong with us. How can others do it in a short time while we are taking so much longer we ask ourselves? Instead of focusing our on attention on what God would have us do, we try to carbon-copy what others are doing and so fail miserably – because we fail to understand that just as each person is unique, each tree (although still being a tree) is unique in its characteristics. At first, seeing the success of others may galvanize us to work harder on our task, but then we get discouraged when we seem to be making little progress.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Ungodly comparison stalls our progress by causing us to take our eyes off our own vision but rather to focus it on others visions.

The mind-set of copying exactly what others are doing leads us to be task-oriented versus being goal-oriented. It leads us to try to fit a circular key into a square lock! But when we keep our eyes on our vision; we are more likely to see the obstacles to success. Many times, we realize that although we started cutting the tree at the same time as our friend, his/her dagger was already sharp while our dagger was blunt to begin with. Perhaps our friends took the time to sharpen their dagger while we did not! The truth is this: In all things, we must sharpen the tool of our mind with the Word of God, for it is the double-edged Sword of the Word of God (see Hebrews 4:12) – whether read, watched, listened to, or spoken to us – that helps us achieve our vision, when we allow its iron to sharpen our iron.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Just as we have to sharpen our dagger if we are to fell a tree, our first task upon seeing a vision is to correct what is wrong (the bluntness of our mind) so that we may achieve the joy that is set before us.

Once we have sharpened our dagger, the second bullet Satan unleashes against us is time. He will say to us: ‘You and your friend started at the same time with a sharpened dagger and yet you have been at it for ages. This God of yours has given you an impossible task. See, you are sweating like a pig over there and getting nowhere fast. This tree is too big! Why don’t you just stop and relax yourself. I have provided you with a shaded tree, so why don’t you just come and rest a bit!’

If Satan has ever said this to you, rebuke him immediately! He does not want you clearing the path to your Father’s house but wants you to stay in the hot and sticky wilderness of your circumstance. He is lying to you about the shaded tree, for the leaves fall off as soon as you lay underneath it and it dries up. Hold on to God’s word and persevere. God cannot lie; whatever He has spoken becomes truth.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Time is simply a tool God uses to help us build the muscle of our character before Him so that we do not waste our inheritance once He gives is to us.

Food for Thought: While God always encourages us to never give up on Him; Satan always discourages us so that we give up on God.

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Godly Vision: The Role of Vision in Creating Success

Faith does not allow our present circumstance to change our outlook (the vision of the sure future that God has spoken over us), but instead allows His outlook to change our attitude about our present circumstance. Unfortunately, when there is no vision of the sure thing that God has spoken to us through His Word, we tend to allow our present circumstance if bad to turn us over to bitterness. In doing so, we tend to perish in our thoughts – thinking that He has neglected us and questioning His love for us – and so fall away from the path of blessing that God wants to shower on us by taking matters into our own hands. If we do not understand that we will all face testing circumstances, we may end up in a mixed funk of melancholy and legalism; sure that bad things are only happening to us because God is mad at us. In the depths of despair, it is at times easy to forget that our situation is temporary if we do not give up on God, for He does not give up on us.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world – John 16:33

Without a godly vision, even the good times bring anxiety in that we can be dissatisfied with the status quo and hunger after more wealth and pleasure. The earliest example of a person who had this problem was Adam. He had the good life but he became dissatisfied with it after drinking the poisonous speech of Satan who gave him a false vision of a better life – the promise of a step-up life of being like God. Adam fell because he had no vision or outlook of the fantastic life that God has already prepared for him. All he had was a vision of lack. Since faith can be defined as the sighting/vision/evidence of the sure thing that God has promised (see Hebrews 11:1), we see that Adam ultimately perished for his lack of faith – for he disobeyed out of the fear that he was not living the best possible life.

We are not to be like Adam, but are to be like Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross (see Hebrews 12:2). What was the joy set before Him? It was the joy of being reunited with the Father, the joy of reconciling us to Himself, the joy of sitting at the right hand of the Father and being the overseer of all the Kingdoms that had been given into His hands. It was the vision of the sure things that He was to inherit that made his trials and tribulations bearable!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: If we know we are to inherit a great collection of jewels upon completing a marathon, the hardship and pain we endure during the training and subsequent run to not much matter. Our focus will simply be on the joy that is to come.

God has a vision for each of our lives, and the vision is to prosper us and to give us a good future. The problem is that many of us do not see it. The truth is we do not have to walk this life without vision. We can set ourselves apart and go up to our quiet place away from the busyness of the world below – seeking the Lord in fasting and prayer. When we do this, the scripture tells us that we will get a vision of what God wants for us.

I will stand upon my watch, and set myself upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved – Habakkuk 2:1

Once we are given our vision, we are then told to write it down so that we do not forget and so that we may continually chase after it.

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, so he may run that reads it – Habakkuk 2:2

See, vision is what makes us run! The vision of the sure thing God has promised; that which will surely come to pass for God cannot lie is what produces diligence and energizes us for our work; it is what produces patience and perseverance. Let’s put it this way: If we know we will gain our dream vacation simply by cutting down a tree, we will find a way to do it and do it quickly! The problem is not the lack of patience, diligence, and energy (these are the symptoms). The real problem is the lack of vision.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: While vision produces faith, diligence, and patience, lack of it produces laziness, lethargy, and defeat

If you do not have a vision today, I urge you to set yourself apart and go up to your watchtower and then see what He will say to you. Say yes when you are corrected and acknowledge your wrong-doing. Clean the muck out of your house and start running after the target God has given you knowing that His power is following His purpose for you; knowing that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them. Then watch and see again what happens to your attitude about your circumstance; watch and see what changes occur in your life.

Food for Thought: No man who has ever had godly (love based) vision has ever been defeated in life

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The Mind of Christ – The Obedience That Wins

While humility, prayer, and seeking the face of God are the first three legs of our race towards victory, obedience is the power that pushes us across the finish line and unleashes the blessings of God in our lives. This analogy to the relay in track and field illustrates that obedience is only powerful when done out a heart of love – a heart set on humility which in turn leads us to prayer and seeking the face of God. If our obedient action is not motivated by love, then it is motivated by greed or by fear. Too many of us are obedient to God because we simply want to use Him as our cash cow!

 Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Cash cow obedience is not born out of love but instead is born out of our greed and self-seeking.

Jesus gives an example of obedience that does not please Him when he describes the people that put ashes on their cheeks to show they are fasting. Although they were being obedient to fast (for Christ says when and not if you fast), the motivation behind it all was the adulation of the people around them. In actuality, their action had morphed into a form of idolatry, with their god being the need to be recognized. Since the penchant to be glorified rather than give God all the glory comes out of fear (of not being good enough, or of rejection), we see that it cannot please God for it is not done out of love. This is why Cain’s offering was not pleasing to God; why Jesus called the seemingly perfect and obedient keepers of the law brood of vipers; why our obedience at times do not yield any fruit for us

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Obedience is simply a seed. Just like any other seed, it has to be sown into ground that has been fertilized by love to be effective and yield fruit

Since the opposite good is evil (wickedness) and anything that does not flow out of God (love) is no good, it becomes clear that the command to ‘turn away from our wicked ways’ is not simply talking about turning away from disobedience, but is also addressing obedience that is steeped in fear. Therefore, the only way to turn away from our wicked way is to turn to love. Why turn to love-driven obedience? We do it so that healing can take place in our life and we can have peace. See, while our obedience can yield fruit in other people’s lives, why we are obedient is what determines whether fruit is produced in our lives. A fantastic example of this is Prophet Jonah.  Although his preaching of the Gospel yielded the fruit of deliverance for the people of Nineveh, it produced bitterness in him because He was not obedient out of love. This is why Jonah asked God to take his life even when Nineveh was spared. Sheesh!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: What we do determines whether other people are blessed. Why we do it is what determines whether we are blessed!

Once we have truly developed the heart of love behind obedience, the question is how do we put it into practice? How do we ensure we do not fall into the trap of looking at ourselves in the mirror and forgetting what we look like as soon as we leave – of falling into complacency? (See James 1: 23 – 24).

Some Practical ways to ensure we do not fall into complacency and into disobedience are as follows:

  • Read the Word (Give no place to the devil – Ephesians 4:27): We do this by arming ourselves with the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). We have to get to the point where we are so filled up with the Word of God that it leaves no room for any junk to enter.
  • Have Accountability Partners (Bear one anothers burdens – Galatians 6:7): We help each other lift our loads when we do not forsake godly gatherings but keep each other accountable to lead a godly life
  • Stay Away from Ungodly Company (A little leaven leavens the whole lump – 1 Corinthians 5:11): We have to ensure we rid ourselves of the sin (leaven) that is leavening our lump. At times, that means we must distance ourselves from people who do not care to discard their sin for any leaven is infectious and has a tendency to spread. Once the leaven is removed, the fellowship may be restored. Note that the relationship was never broken.

Food For Thought: Those who love God obey Him because they love Him

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The Mind of Christ – Praying and Seeking God’s Face

Humility is a must if we want our prayers not just to be heard BUT accepted by God (see ‘The Link between Humility and Answered Prayer’). When we humble ourselves and pray to the Father, for many of us, the first thing that He shows us is the reason why He has not been able to say yes to us. When we go to God in humility, He shows us the true condition of our hearts – those portions of our heart that have not been broken up and so cannot bear the good fruit we have requested. The truth is that when we go to our watchtower – that quiet place where we cannot be reached or disturbed; that place of solitude where we can humbly set our sight on God in prayer – our vision becomes clear and we can through His help see the true and full layout of our land (our heart). I love the way this truth is written in the book of Habakkuk. There, the word of God says:

I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me,
and what I will answer when I am corrected – Habakkuk 2:1 – 2

It is through fasting and praying that we stand our watch and set ourselves on the rampart. When we do this, God reveals to us what we truly look like and corrects our prideful and flawed attitudes and image. If we are at all smart and want to shorten our wilderness experience, we will not try to argue with God when He corrects us but instead will apologetically fall on our face, say sorry, and agree to what He tells us to do.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Prayer is a key ingredient in discovering what is keeping us from God best!

After we have sought the Lord and He has corrected us, the right response is to break up our fallow ground. If we do not, anything we do is simply a waste of time – just as a farmer who plants on soil that has not been prepared is simply wasting his seed. The house of Jacob did not understand this during the time of Prophet Isaiah. They did not understand why God was not responding to their fasting, praying, and reading His Word. They asked God ‘Why have we fasted and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls and You have not taken notice?’ To this, God in essence replies ‘You have sin. You keep on doing the ‘right’ things but you have not corrected your erroneous ways’. The 58th chapter of Isaiah describes this very well – one excerpt from the chapter is given below:

“Tell my people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God…they take delight in approaching God – Isaiah 58:2

Our refusal to be corrected by God is the biggest impediment to us progressing in life. No amount of fasting, prayer, seeking or any other magic formula will do. We can ask, but His response will always be ‘Clean house in this area I have shown you first’.

Just as a piece of jewelry is just another lost item in a very junky house, the seed of the word of God gets lost and quickly losses its value if not sown into a receptive heart. The word of God tells us that the pre-requisite to seeking the face of God (seeking the word of God) is breaking up our fallow ground. Once prayer has revealed the location and depth of the ground we must break up, we must actively begin the digging with the help of God by exercising forgiveness, letting go of past baggage, journeying through our childhood to rid ourselves of past hurts, and laying all of what we are at His feet.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: After prayer has revealed the junk in us, we must begin the process of ‘cleaning house’ if we are to find the face of God!

Glory to God that we do not grow weary in seeking His face but persevere, we will find it and He will shower us with the riches of His inheritance. Hallelujah!

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you – Hosea 10:12

So, why is important to pray and seek the face of God? It is the only way we can experience the flood of His goodness (righteousness) in our lives.

Here are the practical steps we have seen so far to set ourselves up to experience the flood of His goodness:

  • Humble ourselves (see How can I grow in Humility?)
  • Fast and pray to discover unsavory areas of our lives (see Habakkuk 2:1 – 2)
  • Deal with the junk that God reveals is present in us by His power (see John 15:2)
  • Seek His face (His word)

Food for Thought: We experience the blessings of God when we till the land of our heart

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The Mind of Christ – The Link between Humility and Answered Prayer

In ‘Are You Experiencing the Love of ‘The One’?’ we established that the mind of Christ (which is the mind of success and victory) consists of the key elements of Humility, Prayer, Seeking the face of God, and Obedience. Knowing that these key elements build one on another, we then looked at the importance of humility and the practical ways to grow it in ‘How can I grow in Humility’. It was important to examine humility first and foremost because without it, the remaining aforementioned elements are highly unlikely to yield any fruit or any victory in our lives.While this statement may be somewhat hard to swallow, we can examine the truth of it by taking a look at the role of humility in getting our prayers answered.

 Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Humility is paramount if the other keys – prayer, seeking the face of God, and obedience – are ever to produce victory in our lives.

When it comes to prayer, the good news is that God always hears it. We know this for the Word of God says that the ‘hand of the Lord is not heavy that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that He cannot hear’ (see Isaiah 59:1). Hallelujah, there it is! The Lord is always willing to listen to our requests, petitions, and desires – He hears us every time we communicate with Him. Now, the not so good news from our point of view is how He may choose to answer those petitions of ours. While God hears our prayers, He has a choice to either accept them (say Yes) or to reject them (say No). Since this is the case, the question then becomes how do we get God to accept our prayers? The answer is humility (which produces faith for it is steeped in love)

Note: ‘Not now’ and ‘silence’  have not been included in the way God answers our prayers because these are simply ‘delayed yes’ or ‘delayed no’ responses. At times, we receive delayed responses because God is trying to grow us up, point our attention to some unsavory areas of our lives, or simply because a spiritual battle is taking place (see Daniel 10: 13).

With regards to humility and prayer, His Word tells us that He will NOT reject (despise) a broken spirit and a humble (contrite) heart (see Psalms 51:17). Therefore, we know that He will not reject our prayers (our requests, petitions) when we are operating in humility. We see further proof of humility being linked with answered prayer in the book of Daniel where the angel of the Lord says to Daniel:

“Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words” – Daniel 10:12

This passage tells us that humility is a pre-requisite to our words being heard (accepted) by God and for Him to move on our behalf – the sending of the angel in Daniels case. This passage also tells of the importance of actually speaking to God. Without speaking to God (praying), the angel would not have come, and Daniel’s request – which was the explanation of his vision – would not have been granted. That just goes to show that we indeed have to ask in order to receive (see Matthew 7:7). It also shows us that we do not have to guess concerning our visions and dreams or anything else in life. We can just go to the Father who will longs to give us what we desire of Him when we abide in Him (see John 15:7)

 Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Humility is a pre-requisite to our words being heard (accepted) because humility is required in order for us to abide in the Father!

So why is humility so crucial to answered prayer? Simply put, humility is the passport that leads us to a place of surrender and causes us to exchange our desires for His desires. In fact, if we do a study of the Greek word for prayer (proseuchomai), we find that it can be interpreted as interacting with the Lord by replacing our wishes with His wishes as He imparts faith! This then explains what James was talking about when he says that we ask and do not receive, because we ask amiss, that we may spend it on our pleasures (see James 4:3). He is saying that we ask (pray) amiss when we ask in order for our own desires (pleasures) to be fulfilled rather than His desires (plans, purpose and pleasures for us) to be fulfilled. Asking for our desires to be fulfilled rather than His desires comes from a place of pride (thinking we are more than we are and we know best) and not humility (knowing that God knows best). It comes from a lack of the knowledge of His love; that His plans are always to prosper us and to give us a future and a hope (see Jeremiah 29:11). While our plans glorify ourselves, His plans glorify the Son in the Father. When in humility, we align ourselves with His plan; we find the following passage to be true:

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” – John 14:13 -14

Furthermore, the scriptures say that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (see James 5:16). As such, for our prayers to be effective, they have to be steeped in humility. The bible also tells us that the promises of God in Christ are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ to the glory of God (see 2 Corinthians 1:20). Thus, if we want our prayers to be answered ‘Yes’, we have to be in Christ for it is then He is glorified, and we have to operate in humility. If we want to here ‘no’ we can continue in pride and self-seeking!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment:  Humility is intrinsically linked with the word ‘to pray’. Therefore, prayers that are not steeped in humility are simply ineffective words that help us tick the box of prayer but yield no fruit.

Food for Thought: We must grow in humility if we want our prayers answered

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