Sometimes we can get so caught up on ‘purpose’ that we forget the work that God has to do in us before we reach the place where He has destined for us. Do not get me wrong, purpose is important and it is through our obedience that the will of God in our lives is fulfilled however, we need to also remember that the process is important as well. David is a very good example of this, he was anointed privately in 1 Samuel 16:12-13 and he had to wait for many years before becoming king over all of Israel. During that period there was another king (Saul) at the time who wanted to kill David out of jealousy and this led to him running away and he encountered many different things before becoming king. David could have tried to rush the process that God had to do in him but instead he humbled his way through until the perfect time. Through this process David was able to have a beautiful relationship with God, he learnt different things in secret that benefited him when he went to war (1 Samuel 17:33-54) and his character was developed.
When we go through these periods it allows God to prune us, reveal Himself to us in a unique way, gives us the opportunity to develop our personal relationship with Him and so much more if we allow Him to. Some unanswered prayers can be a blessing, when I look back on some things I have prayed for and at the time I did I am so grateful that God did not give them to me because truthfully I would not have been able to handle them. God is a loving Father and He desires the best for us and the more time we spend with Him our desires begin to align with His will for us. We tend to question the position that God has placed us in, His timing and doubt His will for our lives but be truthful to yourself, are you ready for what you are asking God for? He loves us so much and does not want to see us fall, He may be keeping you where you are in order to prepare you for that particular purpose that He has shown you (or He may not have shown you yet) nevertheless, we can trust that God will lead us in the right path (Psalm 37:23). During the process, it is not a place where we should become comfortable or complacent Zechariah 4:10, instead we should desire to become faithful servants and work for the Lord with all our heart regardless of what we are doing Colossians 3:23.
The enemy can place an impatient mentality in us, meaning that we start to rely on ourselves rather than the Holy Spirit. This can lead to us being unequipped for where the Lord desires to position us. A preacher said: ‘when things do not come in God’s timing due to our impatience, what should have been a blessing looks like a curse.’ When I heard that it hit me and led me to Proverbs 10:22 whatever God has prepared for you will not look like a bad thing!
3 Things that can hinder us from reaching the destination that God has purposed for our lives:
- Bad Character
- Pleasing man > Pleasing God
God has placed gifts and talents in us all to use for the advancement of His Kingdom and for His Glory and once we respond to His call we need to allow Him to work and equip us. Proverbs 18:16 – ‘A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.’ This scripture is very true and is evident in the life of Jesus (Matthew 4:24), Joseph (Genesis 41) and the the Apostles (Acts 4) and there are many other examples that we can relate this scripture to even in our world today. However, it is our character that keeps us there and the more our character is transformed (becoming more like Christ) it gives us the capacity to carry the gifts we have, in the correct way for the kingdom. Many respond to the call but few allow the Holy Spirit to train them, how are we trained? Through tests and trials (Romans 5:3-4,1 Peter 12:6-7,James 1:2-3) this season can be painful, lonely, hard and many different things but the Holy Spirit strengthens us when we ask Him to. After this season you can be reassured that you will come out stronger, with more faith and with a better character than you started off with. (Nothing Good comes easily)
Self examination (2 Corinthian 13:5-6), submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and transparency with the Lord is so important in our development period. The key scripture of this post comes from Isaiah 64:8- ‘but now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.’ This is such a beautiful reminder that even though we may recognise our weaknesses, we can rely on the Father who is the potter to mould and shape us into who He has created us to be. Your level of willingness determines the length of time you will stay on the potters wheel. Overall, this is not to say that we should neglect the gifts within us because it is still important but gifting and character should be yoked together.
The famous saying that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ is so true! This is something that I struggled with a lot when I first began my walk with God (the Holy Spirit is still working in me) and honestly I was unaware I was even comparing myself with others. Subconsciously I would compare my growth, my experiences with God and different things. Due to my failure of focusing on the work God was doing in me I was unappreciative. It was until the Holy Spirit revealed this issue to me, I realised how much it was hindering my own development and it was not allowing me to ‘enjoy the work that He was doing in me.’ Comparison can open so many doors to sin like jealousy and envy which is not good at all. Comparison works in two different ways: either you compare yourself in a way that can lead to pride because you think you are better than ‘x’ or you lower yourself because you think that ‘x’ is better at it than you are. We need to remember that God deals with every single one of us differently and that is the amazing part! One of my favourite bible verses is 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 when we learn to appreciate the fact that we are all unique and special it would prevent us from comparing ourselves to others.
Imagine if you bought someone a gift and they did not say thank you or they threw the gift in the bin in front of you, how would you feel about buying them another gift? Maybe you would buy them more gifts in future but you are likely to constantly remember their reaction previously. We can relate this to how God feels when we are unhappy/ complain about the position He has placed us in/ gifts that He has blessed us with. God promotes us from our level of contentment, the more we are grateful for where and who we have be created to be, He will trust and give us more to handle for His Kingdom.
Once we fix our eyes on Jesus it would not be easy to compare ourselves to others because He is the One we are striving to become like.
Pleasing man > Pleasing God
Galatians 1:10– ‘for am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.’ before this verse, verse 1 says ‘Paul an apostle- not from men nor through man but through Jesus Christ and God the Father…’ Verse one answers verse ten, Paul knew that he was called by God therefore, his desire was to do the will of God and not the will of man. It was God who called you and gave you your purpose not man.
When we seek the approval of man at the expense of doing the will of God this can be such a huge hindrance to our growth, our ability to enjoy the process as well as reaching the place where God has destined us to reach. We should not live for the validation of others but rather we should stand confidently that we are accepted and pre-destined by God to do great things (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1:3-14). I remember when my pastor said to me: ‘when we win man, we are at risk of loosing God but when we win God we will win man.’ Reality is that not everyone is going to like you or approve of everything that you do but when you strive to please God, His favour extends to man, 1 Samuel 2:26, Luke 2:52 (this may not be everybody but the majority) So let’s desire God’s will in our lives daily and seek for it to Glorify Him.
This post is to encourage anyone who has lost hope or thinks that God is finished with them (Philippians 1:6). He isn’t, He is preparing you for where He is going to position you. Do not stop pushing through and believe and trust that where you are going is greater than where you are now. I would encourage you to learn to enjoy the process and pray for a desire to draw closer to God in this season.
A successful person will always see the need for constant growth!
God bless you