Gosh it’s been so long, but be sure that God has been dealing with me behind the scenes about this blog.
After a long period of literally struggling to write or post, The Lord has, over this time, taught me many lessons; and most of them have been at the most unexpected moments. These moments are the calm after the storm- where suddenly, the still tranquil voice of the Holy Spirit brings the answer. So, in one of these moments, the major lesson that hit me was this- that the enemy will continually try everything possible to abort God’s purpose from our lives.
A couple of years ago, shortly after I surrendered my life to Jesus, I had a serious burden in my heart for the Church in Nigeria and this urge to speak the truth about God’s word and His true intention for the body of believers. So I asked The Lord, how? And He said start with your gift- write. Once I started, I felt a sense of fulfillment and I knew this is exactly what I should be doing. However, distractions, fear and anxiety crept in, in what was one of the toughest years of my life (last year). And so.. I just stopped doing what The Lord had said I should. I stopped what I had so much passion for. Unsurprisingly, I did not have peace about doing nothing about it anymore. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to for so long. Isn’t that strange?
Here’s the thing. You may not realize it, but we are in an all out spiritual war. The enemy is after the power and anointing that is upon every beleiver’s life (Acts 1:8). Not only that, he’s after our purpose. Our warfare is in the spirit & every word that The Lord has given to us WILL be tested. Our primary purpose as believers is to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Then of course, we all have our unique purposes within that framework. It’s not enough just knowing what we’re meant to do (inaction); and its also not enough saying we’ll do it later. What I’ve learnt over the past year and a half is that we have to be able to FIGHT for our purpose in God, first in the place of prayer and then in the physical by working and walking out our faith daily.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:11-13 NIV
We have to be able to stand our ground against the enemy’s schemes. Scheming connotes cunning, deviousness and deceit. This deceit could be in the form of little distractions, even distractions by things you love / that are ‘good’. Or, you may just realise that though you know what The Lord wants you to be doing, you have very little time for the task he’s given, or even worse, you just plain run in the opposite direction —cue Jonah and the whale (Jonah 1). And to be honest, like many I can relate with Jonah:
‘Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.’
Jonah 1:1-3 NKJV
Now we all know that there were grave consequences to Jonah’s disobedience. So here’s the next calm-after-the-storm lesson: we literally cannot walk with Jesus without obedience. It may sound obvious, but in reading scripture where Jesus calls us to come to him and he will give us rest, it seems pretty rosy and comfortable until the further instruction in the next verse to take His yoke upon us, and learn from Him (Matthew 11:28-29). We can’t take Jesus’ yoke upon ourselves and learn from him without obedience and trust. To come to Jesus, we need to follow him by answering his call; and to walk with him day by day, we must heed his instructions. We must let go of trying to control our own lives and simply make ourselves available as vessels that are pleasing in his sight. It’s simple because he graces us to do so, he says ‘for my yoke is easy and my burden is light‘- but we complicate things for ourselves by doing things the hard way (our way).
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Truth is, having no time or desire for God’s purpose is indicative of a will that isn’t, or is no longer conformed to the Lord’s. Depression, sadness, anger , anxiety and feeling unworthy are some of the tools satan uses to ensure we get in this place of putting God’s kingdom last & our individual purposes end up remaining unfulfilled. When we wear negative emotions like a cloak and shy away from communing with God and fellowshipping with his children (instead of running to him), we end up not even hearing what direction He’s telling us to go… and we end up removing ourselves from his divine plan.
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11)
Thankfully, each time I felt that way in the last half of 2015, The Lord pursued me relentlessly (again, cue Jonah 1:4-7). Through my church body, He’s taught me about the power of the Holy Spirit upon us as believers, about spiritual warfare and the weapons we have against the enemy. About obedience, submission, leadership & community. About love and surrender. In all my disobedience and doubt and fear, He has never left my side. He has placed me where I’ve continued to grow, and in the lives of the most inspiring people that boost and encourage me every time I need it. Friends, every single day, God wants us to grow us, love us, lead us, and amaze us. We simply need to walk with Him.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”