Problems – We all face problems and complications in our lives. Spiritual, relational, financial, health, and vocational are just some of the areas where we target victories and occasionally experience setbacks. It’s important to see “trouble” from a Biblical perspective. Sometimes we exaggerate our problems by attributing them to the wrong source.
The wilderness – This explanation for tribulation sees God designing problems and temptations specifically to perfect our character. By enduring tribulation we learn things like patience.
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. Deut 8:2 NIV
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Matt 4:1 KJV
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. Rom 5:3-4 NIV
Although these verses do reflect the reality of our present day experience, too much “wilderness” theology can lead us down a path that suggests suffering and sickness are the will of God. The real issue is whether we accept our fate and stay in the swamp of problems to submit to God’s dealings and learn our lesson (or) do we try to get out?
Warfare – This view sees problems designed by the enemy for our destruction. Here the obvious response is to resist the enemy through spiritual warfare. Although Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, He still resisted the temptations of the devil. Paul sought the Lord to have his thorn removed. David fasted to see Bathsheba’s child healed. Whether we fail or succeed, we always strive to reverse the enemy’s curse and receive God’s blessing in our health, finances, relationships, and work.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NIV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Eph 6:10-11 NIV
Wisdom – In this view we acknowledge that trouble can also be part of the normal course of life with no particular spiritual cause. People that get out and make things happen to expand the Kingdom in the marketplace always run into issues that need to be managed wisely. If we make the mistake of reading too much of God or the devil into a problem we can miss the obvious solution.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NIV
Your Heart’s desire – Our greatest key to overcoming the demotivation and defeat of problems is to stick with our heart’s desire; to find that space where our desires and God’s come together. There is a condemnation that can creep into our lives if we believe that our own desires lead us away from God instead of toward him. When problems arise we tend to admit we must not know the will of God and start over looking for a new direction and we become wavering and double minded.
Graduating from servant to King is a transition that goes through this question. “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1Kgs 3:5) Solomon sincerely desired wisdom. He was honest with God. God answered his prayer for wisdom and understanding and gave him riches and honor. Kings have a simple, practical, down-to-earth answer for the “question.” They go right into their heart’s desire to find it. Their dreams include goals, plans, and the activities that will bring their vision to reality. They never passively wait for God to sovereignly hand them a dream; they “work” toward it.
Servants vaguely refer to laying down their lives to do whatever the will of God may be. That translates to: a) doing nothing, or b) coasting along with someone else’s vision. We can get so spiritual that we passively choose to live (coast) in the wilderness of trials and poverty by doing nothing. Let’s be clear on what God wants for us:
* A cup overflowing with enough anointing, fame, and finances to bless the nations
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen 12:2-3 NIV
* God’s favor in our work, “lender” status financially, and leadership
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The LORD will make you the head , not the tail. Deut 28:12-13 NIV
* An abundant life in spite of the enemy’s plan
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV
Our homework assignment is simply this; “answer the question.” Then use all of your spiritual anointing and natural ability to make it happen… aka “get to work.”
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.