Last week we “warned” people about the risks of being entrepreneurial and how we can get in over our heads. We ended by agreeing the the risk is worth it; God still calls people to be entrepreneurial and His will isn’t “risk free.” Everyone that says yes to the Lord and to their heart’s desire will face some opposition from the enemy and some uncertainty in discerning the Lord’s path and timing. That’s the adventure of spiritual life.
Contrasting the True and False
– So we all have to deal with problems, trials, persecution. We don’t pretend everything is rosy all the time. Here’s where theology for trails starts to go south… God sovereignly arranges trials to perfect our character? If that’s true, we shouldn’t try to overcome them, we should submit to the trials. The healing movement is gradually defeating a belief that God is the author of sickness and he uses it to develop our faith. Here are the kinds of verses we have traditionally used to make our trouble seem spiritual.
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22 KJV
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted 2 Tim 3:12
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor 4:17
These verses really point to the reality of difficulty. “We” were the ones that decided God must sovereignly be behind our problems. I want you to remember an important theological tenant throughout scripture; God is good, the devil is bad. If we wanted something bad to happen we would turn people over to the devil, not to God . God does good things; the devil does bad things. People come to Christ because of His goodness; we don’t get saved to stew in the soup of adversity waiting for heaven.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh , that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.1 Cor 5:4-5 KJV
…the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Rom 2:4 NKJV
Our theology left us with faith for trials to develop our character, but no way out of the wilderness cycle; going around the same mountain time after time. We trudge along our whole lives waiting for enough maturity to come to have a breakthrough in our spiritual walk. Most believers emphasize the need for serving and humility and never get on top of their adversity… they believe they should be subservient to problems because God is perfecting their character. If anything goes wrong we blame ourselves or God. Personal sin and God’s sovereignty explains everything.
Why It’s False
– The reason we rejoice during suffering and tribulation is because we know God defeats the enemy and so will we. Let’s stop painting God as a benevolent dictator who authors life’s difficulty to help us mature. Let’s stop blaming God for what the devil does and and things that go wrong without anybody’s help. God is not up in heaven sovereignly organizing trials, sickness, and temptations for His people. Shame on us for believing that lie – it’s worth repenting over. Isn’t that blasphemy? Think about it! We’re the ones telling the world God is author if evil… makes evangelism a hard sell.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:13-14 KJV
Character is important, but it’s not developed by submitting to adversity. Maturity comes when we learn to believe God and take the steps to get above our problems and defeat them.
The Last Lap in the Wilderness!
A balanced theology will have a place for maturing character and acknowledge problems, but it will also graduate you out of the wilderness as over comers. Listen to these verses:
“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
The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Deut 28:13
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; Rev 12:11
You will beat your adversity, your ministry will flourish, and you will prosper and bless others. How?
1. For starters, just believing that God is moving you toward abundance instead of more trials. Moving from faith for trials to faith for breakthrough.
2. Realize the enemy sponsors our trials, setbacks, and delays “and” that the resistance we face needs to be confronted in prayer.
– You may be in a season of wanting your heart’s desire and experiencing delays and setbacks. It’s natural to feel like grasshoppers in the face of giants. I think God puts us in that circumstance so we have to rely on his power and seek his face. Spiritual warfare is a great motivator for intercessory prayer. Here’s the crux of the Kingly response. God has an answer, there is a “way of escape” (1Cor 10:13) and a path for you to overcome.
Note: I left a false statement in italics in the above paragraph. Did you catch it? Do you know why it’s false?
The heart of God is to grant your heart’s desire. Your personal holiness happens when your desires and your Father’s desires are one and the same. You’ll be using his authority to ask for your heart’s desire and to overcome the enemy. Answered prayer that fulfills your heart’s desire really is a tree of life.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life (Prov 13:12).
– Kings expand the Kingdom in spite of the resistance. Warfare is a regular part of their diet. They have giants stuck in their teeth – Kings are the real lions. As you draw closer to the Lord, the circumference of your land will go out. Pray your way through each day. As concerns come up listen for the direction of the Holy Spirit and take authority over every source of resistance. Let prophetic intercession be your response to worry. When there doesn’t seem to be any way depend on the Lord to show you how to make one. Break out of the prison of your adversity. Turn mediocrity to a movie where you’re the star and all your dreams come true – that’s the reality of God’s plan for your life.
I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. Jer 29:10-14
Overcomers Look Like This
– I’ve had the privilege to meet successful Christians that combine business and ministry. They actually experience more problems than most people because they are doing more things and seeing more mistakes. What is strikingly different is how they respond. They are not defeated when something goes wrong. They prayerfully solve it and go on. They don’t wilt; blaming themselves or God. They just start picking up the pieces, knocking on new opportunities, and expecting to find God. They have tremendous tenacity that is really rooted in a knowledge that God always gets them through. For them resurrection life is a way of life.
– We touched the open view of God in this article and we recommend reading Part 1 in Releasing Kings for more details. Harold has 5 books on our recommendations site that are “must reads” as well. Exciting stuff that has the greatest practical application in the marketplace.
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.