When you have a near death experience, it shakes your view of time. Three years ago, I was driving to the store by our house that I had done hundreds of times before when my world changed forever. The car I was driving malfunctioned, and I was careening out of control at over 80mph, unable to stop. I cried out to the Lord, and He told me to jump out (If you want to read the whole story, you can see this post). Would you jump out of a moving vehicle? If I am honest here, I believe the only reason that I was able to obey the Lord is because any instruction He gives to us is met with the exact portion of grace and faith that we need to fulfill His call. The Neurologist (and just about every doctor I saw after that) was not only astonished at how I survived such a dangerous ordeal, but He was also confounded by my progressive healing. I was born with a blood disease that carried the serious risk of bleeding to death if I were to ever be in a car accident.
For years I wore a medical bracelet on my arm to alert any EMT who responded that I needed urgent medical attention and would have to be transported quickly to a hospital. The impact of my head bouncing off the pavement caused a broken nose and a traumatic brain injury. When the Neurologist showed me the bleeding in my brain from the scans he took, he told me that there was no possible way to explain how someone with a blood disease could have had this minor of an injury to the brain. If I still had the issue of blood, my brain would have continued to bleed causing a host of other life-threatening problems. This was more confirmation that I was healed of my disease (which is known to be a genetic and chronic condition) in 2018. When I had reached out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, He healed me of a generational blood disease. Therefore, I know that I am living on borrowed time. Ever since then, I have been learning how to steward this extra time that God has given me.
The book of Ecclesiastes states the importance of knowing the times and seasons, along with the wisdom to know what to do with the time given to us. Have you ever struggled with time management? My whole life, this has been a battle. You can ask my mom and she will tell you that I was a timewaster with schoolwork. A lot of that was a control thing, and to be honest it still is. Sometimes I forget that our time is a gift and not a right, and with that there is a serious responsibility for us to steward that gracious gift of God. Many people start the year off trying to accomplish this task of managing their time wisely, and I think that is such a great thing to do. However, as a believer I know that self-improvement without Him is impossible. There may be people out there that have that gift of time-management, and they make a business out of it, teaching others the steps one must take to increase productivity. Unfortunately, these people typically leave the Holy Spirit out of the conversation of managing time. It is unfortunate because He is the wisest Guide mankind could ever have the pleasure of hearing from. However, this wisdom that He gives will cost you your life. As believers we are called by Jesus to die to ourselves, which means our “will” has to be killed.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.Galatians 5:25 AMP
It is Time to Kill “Will”
Our will was designed for freedom. God loved us; therefore, He chose choice over control. The problem with having a will in this world is the sin nature that comes with it. Jesus took our sin to the cross and killed it. He not only took on the punishment for sin that we deserved (justification), but He also removed the power that sin has over us (sanctification).
Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP
We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.Romans 6:6 AMP
Many believers have received the justification portion of the gospel but have left out the sanctification. They want the rights without the responsibility, but I personally believe that you can’t have the former without the latter.
God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through the sanctifying work of the Spirit [that sets you apart for God’s purpose] and by your faith in the truth [of God’s word that leads you to spiritual maturity].2 Thessalonians 2:13 AMP
Our calling in life is to grow in spiritual maturity, and part of that growth process involves the killing of “will.”
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable—disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.2 timothy 2:21
To avoid the sanctifying work of the gospel of Jesus is to refuse Jesus’ Lordship. We must remember that we are not our own, and that we are in fact servants of the Almighty. If you remember the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament, you will see the bigger picture of God’s ultimate call of Christians. He began by bringing them out of Egypt. He dealt severely with their slaveowner and set them free of their punishment by the blood of a lamb. We can see how quickly the Israelites were drawn to criticizing His ways of saving them. When the people left Egypt, Egypt went with them. And God brought Israel into the wilderness to deal with the mindset of Egypt. The wilderness is a place where the things in our hearts get exposed. Those little foxes, that would hinder our growth and closeness with God, come out of hiding. God dealt with Israel’s immaturity in a kind and gracious way. He provided for their needs, but He also called them into a deeper level of trust in Him.
Unfortunately, at Kadesh Barnea, Israel put an end to their maturity. They decided that God wasn’t trustworthy, and they missed out on going into the promised land. It is important to note the reason God has their story written down. It is because we can be the same way and choose to wander in the wilderness for the rest of our lives. There are many that believe this to be the will of God, and I vehemently oppose that doctrine of demons. It was not God’s will for them to miss entering the promised land, so why would it be God’s will for you? His will is connected to His goodness, and His plans are always for you to prosper in life. Maybe you have been leery of this characteristic of Him concerning prosperity because you are afraid of His abundance. This isn’t the prosperity gospel that I preach, for it is clear in the Word of God that good things happen to wicked people and bad things happen to righteous people. But I don’t want you to miss that God is a god of abundance. He has a land of promise for you, and Jesus clearly states that God’s will for you is to have life and life in the full.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].John 10:10 AMP
There is evidence in scripture that human will is strong. And there are plenty of examples of people who asserted their will over God’s. Samson is one of those characters. He was given a gift that was bigger than him, but God’s grace was always enough. It will always be that way- God always gives us more than we can handle on our own. The reason isn’t to overwhelm you or cause you to fail, it is so that you will turn to Him and lean on His strength. Samson never entered into the sanctifying work of God, and it cost him his physical life. He used his strength- or his gift- to serve his own purpose.
Another example of a strong will is Jacob. He lived to serve his own purpose in life, and that was to receive blessings (see Genesis 27 to read the story). The selfish ambitions of Jacob were met by God’s identity over him in Genesis 32 when he wrestles with God. Jacob’s “will” had an encounter with Yahweh. God knew that Jacob’s will, left unchallenged, would take him outside the boundaries of God’s plans for his life and the life of his bloodline. Look carefully at this passage of scripture:
When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket.Genesis 32:25 NLT
While it appears to be only a physical altercation between two men, a closer look at the scripture will give us a better understanding of the text. Jacob doesn’t seem to be wrestling with a regular human. In the book of Hosea, this “man” is said to be an “Angel of Yahweh.” We can get caught up in trying to figure out this phrase, but in a sense, Jacob was in fact wrestling with God. The will of Jacob was too strong for God. This is because God placed a boundary for Himself and humanity- free-will. Which means that He would allow humans to make their own choices, even when they were outside of His will. The point of free-will was for them to choose Him. The purpose of our life is to know Him and make Him known, but it is a choice.
You will see in the following verses in Genesis 32 that Jacob gets his name changed to Israel, which means, “one who wrestles with God.” And if you look at the entirety of the story of Jacob, you will see that he had to wrestle with God to come into his new identity. The same is true for us. We must wrestle with God (through the sanctifying work of Christ) in order to become who we really are.
God uses the process (the road between prophecy and fulfillment) to shift our will. The question becomes, will we cooperate with Him? Our cooperation depends on our relationship with the Holy Spirit. We can read the Bible to justify our lifestyle, and many do. The text by itself isolated from the Author can lead to war, death, and travesty. It has the potential to empower God’s will or human will. Many churches today find justification in scripture to empower their flesh (the old man; the dead man). This is the resurrection of what Jesus came to kill off. We cannot have one foot in carnality and the other in the Kingdom. We need to read scripture with the Author because it is reading by the Spirit that causes what we read to wrestle with our flesh. If you think that the Bible supports your sinful lifestyle, you are not reading scripture with the Spirit. Instead, you are reading mis-contextualized scripture for self-gain. That is a truly dangerous road to walk on, and I would implore you to get off the road that leads to death and choose to walk the path of life. More surrender is needed in this hour, and we cannot afford to be run by our own will.
Monarchy versus Democracy
Democracy operates by the consent or by the will of the people. From history you can see that the will of man in a sinful world is the most destructive power in the earth. Therefore, Satan needed Adam and Eve to corrupt the earth. He knew that pride would cause them to rebel in the same way that he did in the heavens. The Kingdom of Heaven is a different realm than the physical earth that you and I live on. And Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:6 that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He told them of the overlapping nature of Heaven and earth. That is why we pray, “On earth as it is in Heaven.” This is how we begin to live in the Kingdom, and it’s important to note that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a democracy- I’ll share with you the reason for this.
The only will that can succeed in a kingdom is the will of a king (when somebody else has a will outside of that king’s will– it is called treason). We, as believers, are subjects sent to fulfill the King’s will, not our own. When Jesus, your King, calls you, “will” answers. And so, it is a process of slowly killing “will” to obey the demands of our King. The Kingdom of Heaven has been misconstrued over the last two-thousand years, mostly through the Roman Catholic Church. They elevated a man (the Pope) to spread a man-made kingdom and control the world. This is treason. Jesus doesn’t call us to take over the world in the way that the Roman Catholic Church has, He has called us to lay our lives down at the altar and pick up our own cross. When we spread the gospel of Jesus, God will supply the growth. There is no such thing as forcing people into the Kingdom of Heaven. Everyone enters of their own free will, and they must surrender their will to their King.
Shevat – A Time to Check in with Holy Spirit
Before a new month begins, I love to spend some time with the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit about what He wants to do during this time. There are distinct patterns that emerge depending on the season, and the theme for Shevat is a time to evaluate what the Lord has given you to steward. Each of us has been given a portion in our lives to steward for the Lord. It is our responsibility to avoid burying that portion because of fear. In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about financial stewardship (Matthew 25:14-30) to disclose how stewardship works in the Kingdom. And while this is a parable relating to finances, our portion in His Kingdom is more than money.
Each of us has been given resources. Some of those resources are not tangible, and include things like time, forgiveness, along with the seeds of the fruit of His Spirit. What we have received from Him, we have the responsibility to steward and release that to others. We have been given time; therefore we are responsible for using our time wisely, obeying His calling. We have been forgiven; therefore we are responsible for releasing forgiveness to others. Love is the same way. He loved us, and now we are called to steward that incredible love. We must first receive this love in its fullness, and then show others what that love looks like.
Besides money and the fruits of His Spirit, God has given each of us a section of His Kingdom where we have influence. The amount of influence is not important (remember that the amount within your portion does not express how valuable you are to Him). Everyone in the Kingdom has value, no one is more valuable or less valuable than anyone else. However, God does give to whom He chooses, and any amount is capable of being multiplied in faith and in time.
What is within your portion at this time? Maybe you are in a season where your portion looks like your children. That is a serious responsibility that the Lord greatly treasures and esteems, one that our world neglects to honor. Or maybe there is a group of people the Lord has given you to encourage in their walk with Him. Whatever it looks like, take that responsibility seriously and continuously ask the Lord for guidance. It is an honor and privilege to steward God’s resources. This should not be burdensome, but full of God’s grace for the race He has put you on. Sometimes it helps to ask Him to show you where His grace is in a certain area. If you sense a lack of grace, simply ask Him for revelation. Sometimes we step out of our boundary lines and take on things that God never gave us to manage. The only way to know if this is the case for you is to ask the one who set your boundary lines!
Can I pray for you?
God, I thank you for this month of Shevat, and that you have good plans for my readers that will cause them to prosper. I pray that with every challenge this month, they would move with the power of the blood of Jesus and the guidance of Your Spirit to overcome all! Father, would you show my readers if there are any deceptive fantasies that oppose You in their thought life? Are there any arrogant attitudes that they have adopted? Please show them how to capture these rogue thoughts and bring them into total obedience to Christ. Thank you for the grace You offer us as we learn to manage our inner world with You. I pray that we would release any worries or fears connected to our callings and our spheres of influence. Holy Spirit, infuse these precious readers with supernatural courage and strength to accomplish what You have given them this month! May their heart’s motivation be to expand what You have provided for them. Enlighten their spiritual eyes to see what has been provided, and enlarge their discernment to know how to increase their resources! All of it for Your glory Lord! Amen.