Tough times don’t last but tough disciples do! To paraphrase what my pastor (Dr. William Curtis) said during a recent sermon, “You can’t treat or give visitation a permanent place in your life.” During the course of a year, we typically encounter a spring, summer, fall and winter season. Although one season may last longer than we desire, each one eventually has to come to an end. Agitation and stress may come to visit, but it’s not meant to stay. Sometimes we give temporary circumstances a permanent place in our life, and this cannot happen if we desire to live our best life! The Easy To Read Version Translation of Luke 4:1-2 mentions the following, “Now filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan River. And then the Spirit led him into the desert. There the devil tempted Jesus for 40 days. Jesus ate nothing during this time, and when it was finished, he was very hungry.” Verses Thirteen and Fourteen go on to add the following, “The devil finished tempting Jesus in every way and went away to wait until a better time. Jesus went back to Galilee with the power of the Spirit. Stories about him spread all over the area around Galilee.” After Jesus was tempted in EVERY WAY, he returned to Galilee with POWER! A lot of us have encountered or may be currently experiencing this type of season, being tempted and tested in every possible way. As this scripture tells us, your struggle, stress, and starvation will eventually produce power! Your tests and temptation will ultimately lead to your testimony! This scripture also tells us that the devil went away. So the enemy’s temptation and testing may linger for a while, but it will not last!
God will allow us to visit difficulty and disaster, but he doesn’t want us to reside there! Sometimes we allow the struggle to get the best of us, and it ultimately becomes the norm in our lives. We have to realize that this is not the life that God designed for us. The Message Translation of Jeremiah 29:10-11 states the following, “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” God wants us to live in faith not frustration! As the scripture tells us, God has everything planned out and he will give us the future that we’ve been praying for. I knew there was a reason that God didn’t allow me to get comfortable in my mother’s home while looking for my next apartment. God knew this was only going to be a temporary stay. As the beginning of the scripture tells us, God will show up and bring you back home at the right time. As soon as everything aligned, I was blessed with my new home. The purpose of encountering struggle is not to get used to it. It’s to learn how to be strong in the midst of it. The Easy To Read Version of Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 states the following, “....There is a time to plant and a time to pull up plants. There is a time to kill and a time to heal. There is a time to destroy and a time to build. There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance with joy. There is a time to throw weapons down and a time to pick them up. There is a time to hug someone and a time to stop holding so tightly. There is a time to look for something and a time to consider it lost. There is a time to keep things and a time to throw things away. There is a time to tear cloth and a time to sew it. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. There is a time to love and a time to hate. There is a time for war and a time for peace.” As the scripture tells us, there is a time for everything, and one thing has to happen before another occurs. Before every testimony is a test. Brokenness has to occur before healing. The word healing can be defined as making one free from an injury or an infection. So this means an injury has to occur before we are healed. It hurts to be betrayed by the people you love, but sometimes the betrayal is the blessing! This may be the exit that some people need to take out of your life! When God is elevating you to the next level, everyone cannot come with you! It’s unfortunate but God’s plan is greater than ours, and he has our BEST interest at heart. We have to learn that temporary people and things don’t deserve a permanent space in our lives. Some things and people have to be let go before we move forward in the pursuit of our calling!
Realignment and Replacement
YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD, and if something doesn’t help you evolve, it should NOT involve you! When you’re making the decision to disconnect or remain connected to someone or something, ask yourself this question: “Is this helping me grow closer to God or helping me build a greater relationship with him?” If something is creating a distance between you and God, you have to disconnect from it. This separation may bring discomfort, but your relationship with God is worth it. His permanent presence and promises are greater than the temporary pain you’ll endure. In a recent season, I was forced to learn a very difficult lesson. I learned that you can’t date your assignment. Although I envisioned marriage, God had something else in mind. The end result of every relationship may not be “I Do” or “Until death do us part”. It may result in God saying “Job well done!” or “You did everything I wanted you to”. Although that may not be a favorable or pleasing response in that moment, God will never take away something that is meant to be yours! God has the ability to remove something good, and replace it with something great! Don’t renew your lease somewhere that God doesn’t want you to be. God has the perfect place prepared for you! We have to learn trust his judgment and vision for our lives!
Respect On Your Name
As Children of God, we have to learn to put some respect on our name. You are a child of the GREATEST God in the world, and everyone and everything doesn’t deserve a visit or access to your spiritual space! Similar to a hospital, there are established visiting hours and only a select group of people are permitted to make a visit. If you ask an bodybuilder or active athlete to describe their nutritional diet, I can almost guarantee that they don’t consume unhealthy food on a regular basis. Some may even cringe at the thought of eating a Big Mac or drinking a Pepsi. They have a certain level of respect of what they will consume in order to maintain a certain lifestyle or body type. We have to develop that same type of respect and consideration for our spiritual space. The Good News Bible Translation of Romans 10:10 mentions the following, “For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved.” The beginning part of verse Seventeen adds, “...faith comes from hearing the message.” Our faith puts us on the right track with God, and the development of our faith comes from hearing the word. So we have to ask ourselves, “Am I consuming enough of the word?” It’s good to start our day with prayer and reading, but is that the only time we read or pray? Are you spending more time reading your “Faithbook” or are you spending more time reading statuses on Facebook? You don’t want to be the person that knows everyone’s business with limited knowledge of the word. Don’t visit scripture and live in gossip! The Bible will help you live your best life while gossip will lead to a life of confusion and instability. You ultimately become what you attract. This is why it’s important to watch the company you keep, and what you allow into your spiritual space. You’re not just anybody! You are a very important person, and you were created in the image of a perfect God! We have to learn to carry ourselves that way. The inspired don’t hang around the uninspired, and the focused don’t surround themselves with people who are not focused. Remember that eagles soar while pigeons walk! Stop letting everyone disrupt or gain access to your spiritual space! If something or someone is taking more from you than putting into you, LET IT GO! Some things and some people have to be left behind before God elevates you to the next level! Elevation often requires separation. To paraphrase the final part of Luke 4:13 (Easy To Read Version), the enemy went away and waited for a better time to tempt Jesus. When we reach the next level, another temptation or challenge may be awaiting us. So it’s important to have people in your circle going to war with you, not against you!
As you enter the next phase of your journey, continue to protect your spiritual space and pursue the greatness that God has you destined for!