"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that GOOD, and ACCEPTABLE, and PERFECT, will of God."
Do you think everything that comes down the pipe is God's PERFECT Will? If you do, I am afraid you will miss some great blessings that the Lord has in store for you throughout your earthly journey.
All through scripture we read of story after story where God's people were to conquer, fight, stand, believe, defeat the enemy, take back what was stolen, receive, obey, walk in holiness, and proclaim the victory. With overwhelming obstacles and impossible circumstances, people (leaders, prophets, priests, those sick, those surrounded, those held captive - really, ALL people) were commanded to overcome. Unfortunately, with this commandment most often came warfare.
It can seem so much easier to shrink back and settle for something that is just "a part of life" or settle for "the results of some sin" rather than humble ourselves, seek God's face, and turn from our wicked ways (maybe even wicked ways of doubt) to be miraculously delivered, healed or restored.
The forces of darkness have always been adamant about thwarting God's plan. This being said, I have found that in order for me to gain new territory in the path that God has predestined for my life, I must be willing to step out of my comfort zone, ready to encounter resistance. Notice I said "ready" to encounter resistance. Too often, Christians are not prepared for battle because they have spent their time prior to Satan's attack - or God's challenge - drinking milk and not searching the deep things of God. Many will even allow a little leaven (religious doctrine - Matthew 6:12) to water down the power of God's Word working in their lives. Then, once the enemy hits, they simply aren't equipped to fight, nor win the victory.
In addition, strongholds of the mind will cause many Christians to lay lifeless as Satan works them over with lies that he masquerades as truth. Sadly, this is where so many well meaning Christian people will compromise, justify, settle for, and propagate their weak interpretation of scripture as they fold in battle.
God wants to show Himself strong in our lives so that His glory will prick the hearts of those watching. He wants to use our struggles and our victories to spread His fame throughout the entire earth. Sure, God can (and will) get the glory in every situation of a Christian's life - whether in victory or in defeat - however, I believe He is always encouraging us to travel the road to victory. He wants to do a miracle on our behalf!
The scriptures say, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" - Hosea 4:6. This is why it is imperative to study God's Word diligently with childlike faith. God doesn't want any of His children to be defeated. He always makes a way of escape, but we must find it AND we must choose to take it.
Are you trusting God as Moses did by:
*persevering through difficult times;
*believing God's Word against all odds;
*stepping out in faith to ACT on His instruction;
*and by standing your ground until deliverance comes?
Like Pharaoh, the devil will fight you tooth and nail to keep you in bondage, sickness, poverty, and spiritual complacency. You must be willing to fight the good fight of faith in a radical way if you want to live in the Promised Land of this earthly life. Sadly, far too many Christians choose to die in the wilderness either because of lack of knowledge, doubt, fear, unbelief, or they'll simply grow weary in well-doing.
Let's look at Exodus 6:3. It says, "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them." God Almighty or El Shaddai means He is the One True God - He is the Most Powerful God. Jehovah or Yahweh means the Existing One. "Name" means reputation, fame, and glory. In other words when Moses asked God, "Why have you brought trouble upon these people?", speaking of the Israelites in bondage to Pharaoh - Exodus 5:22-23. God replied, "I am going to make Myself known as the One And Only True God to all nations by showing my undeniable glory through signs, wonders, and miracles. Everyone will SEE that "I AM, THAT I AM" - my paraphrased version.
As Moses obeys the Lord in commanding Pharaoh to let God's people go, things seem to get worse instead of better. Plague after plague, God shows miraculous signs and wonders to give the Egyptian people and the Pharaoh an opportunity to repent of their evil ways. God also uses this time to prepare the Israelites for a journey of faith into the Promised Land. I am sure the Israelites would have much rather received their deliverance without such warfare but God had a long-term plan that was much more beneficial to both them and their captors.
Pharaoh tried long and hard to win the battle. He was so adamant about not surrendering to God's might that he even offered some "easy" ways out for Moses and the children of God. First, he offered to let God's people make their sacrifices and worship in the Egyptian land. While this may sound reasonable at first glance, it was not God's PERFECT WILL. God wanted to set his children FREE so that they could worship freely in a land that was abundantly fruitful. He didn't want them to have regulations on their worship and he surely didn't want them to remain in bondage to the Egyptians. God wanted to take them to a land flowing with milk and honey and had they compromised their determination to win the battle, they would have forfeited the goodness to come of the Promised Land.
Then another time, Pharaoh said he would let them go and worship in the desert, but he said they "couldn't go very far". Again, the Pharaoh was putting a stipulation on God's deliverance. This was not God's PERFECT WILL. God doesn't want his people on a leash. He wants them free! John 8:36 says, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
Later in the Exodus account, we read where Pharaoh agrees to let only the men go, but not the women and children. Pharaoh goes on to twist the words of Moses by saying, "That is all you asked for, anyway." That was a lie! Moses had said from day one, "Let my people go." I think the Pharaoh was trying to make Moses doubt his own intent. Furthermore, he was still pressuring Moses to accept only half of God's will. This was not God's plan; it was not His PERFECT WILL.
Finally, Pharaoh says, "You can all go, but you must leave all of your wealth with me." Here, Pharaoh tries to tempt Moses into accepting poverty as a trade off for God's deliverance. How many times does the devil use this one on us? Satan always wants us in lack, but God wants us in plenty. The Promised Land was a land of plenty. By instructing the Israelites to plunder the wealth of the Egyptians just before they escaped bondage, He was showing them - and us today - that His desire is to bless us. God says we are to be the head and not the tail, the first and not the last, the lender and not the borrower (Deuteronomy 28)!
Once again, IT WAS NOT GOD'S PERFECT WILL for Moses to accept poverty as a trade off for the victory. Anything less that 100% of what God had clearly told Moses earlier in Horeb (the mountain of God) was not to be considered. Thankfully, Moses didn't buy into these bail-outs offered by the Pharaoh. He kept on believing God - for His best!
With this lesson from Exodus chapters 1-13, we should easily see that it is our duty to believe for God's best. But, once we have believed for God's best we should, also, expect resistance. The devil hates for God's children to progress. He hates for us to obtain God's best. Satan does not want us to win and ultimately does not want God to show forth His glory with signs, wonders, and miracles.
I wonder if the devil's ploy could have something to do with so many Christians remaining milk fed, traditional, and religious - thus, never truly believing in the supernatural power of God for their deliverance? Perhaps the devil has helped them create strongholds in their mind that prevent them from believing for a miracle. Unfortunately, choosing to remain a babe in Christ - whether by ignorance or by deliberate stubbornness - can bring consequences of failure in the Christian life.
Friend, everything in life that is worth having will usually cost us something. Receiving God's best may take years or even a lifetime to achieve (take the example of Moses and the Israelites wondering in the wilderness for 40 years trying to get to the Promised Land). Just the same, I am convinced that as we:
*grow in Christ;
*walk in faith;
*speak God's promises;
*stand our ground;
*live in holiness;
*and purge the ways of the world (like the Israelites had to purge the ways of Egypt), we can AND WILL obtain the blessings of the Promised Land - even on earth.
Learning to see our troubles as grasshoppers instead of giants, we can be like Joshua to become The Remnant of God's people who receive complete deliverance. Hallelujah!
(Note: When I write these articles, I am teaching myself just as much as I am teaching you. I must remind myself, daily, that I am more than a conqueror. Our earthly journey requires each of us to hold each other up with the standard of the Lord.)
With Love in Christ,