Forget your past (Romans 8:1)
Operate in the Spirit (Romans 8:2,5)
Concentrate on the things of God (Colossians 1-3)
Understand the Sovereignty of God (Romans 9:18)
Stand in position (Romans 8:17)
Anyone who has ever decided to follow Jesus can probably agree with me when I say that the second they made up their mind to take up their cross and follow Christ that the enemy suddenly took a keen interest in their life. While I was in the world living in a backslidden state, I would see the saints of God on their way to church carrying their bibles and braving some of the coldest winter days but they still seemed to have this warmness on the inside that seemed to seep onto the outside. They seemed as if they weren't going to let anything stand between them and getting to their church houses to hear the Word of God -not even cold temperatures or slow public transportation. I couldn't understand it at that time but I wanted that peace.
I somehow believed that once I decided to walk with God that it would be smooth sailing. In fact, part of the reason I decided to truly get saved was because I realized that the world could offer me nothing more than darkness, death and destruction. In the beginning, my life was a breeze. God's presence was always so easy to see and feel. He was performing miracles and making ways out of no way. Both the saved and the unsaved could see that I had favor with God and man. Soon, the visible blessings were fewer and further in between. Things weren't always going my way and there were times that I felt like God was no longer with me.
One incident in particular that troubled me was when God allowed my grandmother to die. I prayed and prayed that He would heal her. I knew the scriptures. If I asked in Jesus name and believed, I was supposed to get what I prayed for. Right? I couldn't fathom the possibility that God and I may not have the same idea of healing in mind. I never doubted for one moment that God could heal her. I never doubted that God was real and that He heard my prayers. What I began to doubt was if God was still “on my side”. I became a sort of a spoiled brat. I thought that Daddy should give me whatever I wanted just because I wanted it. I was upset because it was not His will to heal her like I wanted Him to. God chose to heal her - just not here on earth. To make a long story short, I didn't speak to God for years. (Yes. Years!!! Thank God for His grace.) It was through this experience that my I learned what exactly it meant when I heard people tell me that God is sovereign.
You see, God can do whatever it pleases Him to do however He chooses to do it. God has called us all to a work to do for Him and His kingdom. Along the way there will be times that things aren't going to go the way that we would like for them to go but we must understand that no matter how things go that as long as we love God, it's all working together for our good.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
When my grandmother died, my aunts felt that they had lost the most important person in their life. They decided to take all the hurt and pain they felt from loosing my grandmother to Jesus. They knew that this sort of hurt was not a hurt that they could heal themselves from. They were already saved and "in the church" but they sought refuge from the pain in the Lord.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
My aunts prayed for me and told me how much God loved me and wanted to hear from me every chance they got. I didn't decide to forsake my worldly ways based on their testimony alone but they planted a seed in my spirit. Others came along and told me about the love of God. They in turn watered the seed. And God gave the increase when He drew me back to Himself.
I don't know why God chose to take my grandmother when He did. But I do know by her passing, my aunts drew closer to God and led me to Him as well. That which the enemy would have liked to use to permanently separate me from the love of God turned out to be one of the greatest lessons that God has ever taught me. Even though things may not go the way we planned them to in life, love and ministry – we must still continue to do that which we were called to do. We must still love the Lord with all of our heart, mind and soul.
Sometimes it seems as if we the people of God have more turmoil and drama going on with us than those in the world does amongst them. I have often found myself asking God “Why?” I’ve kept His commandments, continued to praise Him in spite of the situation yet I still go through. Why? Why is it that they that are evil prosper and we that are faithful suffer? You know what the Lord told me?
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.(Romans 9:18)
God can show mercy on whomever He chooses to have mercy on. He's God! I had to learn that it's not up to me to decide who gets blessed, who gets to be healed here on earth but it's up to God. He's sovereign.
I spent many nights wrestling within myself trying to understand "why me". Why did I have to suffer? Why was my blessing being delayed? Why was the enemy seeming to prosper in their way. I was wasting time.
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:1-5)
I was worrying about things that didn't concern me. The only thing I needed to do was keep my mind on Jesus. All I had to do was wait on Him and trust Him and I would have the desires of my heart. All the time I was trying to "figure it out" He already worked it out.
I believe that God wants us to F.O.C.U.S. on that which He has called us to do. He wants us to Forget about the past. Anything that is not on our way is in our way. He wants us to Operate in the Spirit of God. We can't do anything in our own strength. We have to Concentrate on the Word of God and bask in His presence. In doing all of this, we cannot become discouraged when times get tough or things don't go our way. We must Understand that God is sovereign and He knows what's best.
Maybe there are some situations in your life right now that you are trying to figure out. Perhaps it's finances or relationship issues that you just don't understand why they are going the way that they are going. You've done the best you could do and your best just wasn't good enough. You gave all you had and failed while others put forth little or no effort and succeeded. Confess that you can't fix "it". Only He can. Understand that God is sovereign.