During a recent period of testing in my life, I felt the Lord highlighting a few valuable spiritual principles and crucial Biblical truths to me. By holding onto these teachings I was able to persevere through a difficult month. Though I did stumble a few times, God never stopped speaking to me and He carried me through, while I surrendered everything to Him.
I would like to share these lessons with you as I believe they can empower you for a time when you face similar trials.
- Waiting: There may be many no’s before a single yes
Sometimes you will hear “no” from God more often than you hear “yes”. While waiting on a “yes” from the Lord, you need to seek God in prayer and in truth. When the Lord says “no”, it simply means He is protecting you from something that is not good for you or not in His plan for your life. It could also mean that it is not the right time for the particular prayer to be answered.
If you find yourself hearing “no” from God, prayerfully seek His will and trust in His timing. Do not allow your faith and trust in God to be broken because you did not get the result you wanted. Believe that God knows what’s best for you. He knows when you will be ready for what He has planned for you.
If you are struggling to pray during this time, pray in the spirit.
Romans 8:26 “… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
Having a fellow believer pray with you also has great impact in the spiritual realm. Do not be shy or afraid to ask for prayer in your church.
Matthew 18:19 “… if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. “
2. Opened and closed doors are equally important
It is just as important to pray for closed doors as it is to pray for open doors. Not every opportunity that comes your way is from the Lord and you will need to use wisdom and discernment to make the right call before walking through a door. Depend on God’s grace and strength to walk away from a closed door. Banging on a closed door will wear you out and lead to pain and frustration.
It is obedience that opens the door for the Holy Spirit to work in your life. Remember, you always have a choice – God has granted you free will.
Deuteronomy 30:19, “… I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
3. Hearing God’s voice
God will warn you before you make a mistake. Be attentive to His voice for direction; He speaks in many ways. By remaining close to Him, you are able to hear His voice quickly. He may speak through circumstances, people, scripture, divine revelation, dreams, visions, etc. Be open to what He has to say and remember to pray for confirmation of what you’ve heard. God will confirm what He wants you to know.
While it may be difficult to think clearly while under attack, it is imperative you discern the difference between your emotions and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Emotions stem from your flesh, whereas the Holy Spirit speaks in accordance with the Word of God.
John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
4. God’s permissible will and repentance
God never wastes any experience in your life, be it good or bad. If you find that you have made a mistake, that you have sinned or been disobedient, do not lose hope. God turns everything around for your good in the end, if you have a repentant heart.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Though there will be consequences for your rebellion, God has the power to use your mistake for greater good. God will most likely use it to discipline you and teach you a lesson.
Proverbs 3:12 “… the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
This is all part of God’s character building plans for you, to turn you into an exemplary Christian and to prepare you for an eternity in heaven with Him.
1 Peter 1:7 “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
God can also use your mistakes to help you minister to others with the same problem. When you have experienced something firsthand, your insight and compassion is more real to the person you are counseling. By having a deeper understanding of what the person is going through you will be able to offer relevant advice. In essence, the problems you overcome have the potential to become building blocks for your ministry.
It is necessary for your growth in Christ to accept that God will test you. It should be your aim to persevere until you have passed the test and reached a new level of spiritual growth. The reward will be a stronger and wiser you with a closer relationship with God.
5. Spiritual warfareWe will all experience spiritual attack from the enemy from time to time. It is imperative that you draw closer to God during these times and clothe yourself in the full armor of God.
Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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. 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.”
There can be multiple attacks on your life from many directions at once. The devil is ruthless and will not only attack in one area of your life. He will come at you from many angles. This could be health, finance, job, family, marriage, safety, etc. Keep in mind that the devil uses the same tricks over and over again in your life. Take note of the patterns over the years. Notice the cycles and seasons in which he attacks. But most importantly take note of the victory you gained at the end of every battle.
There will be victory; you will overcome after you have been tempted by Satan if you have remained obedient to God and pressed on in faith. The battle strengthens you and prepares you for the next level in your walk with God. Sometimes we are too afraid to take the next step and have to be ‘pushed’ into it for our own greater good. Nothing pushes us closer to God than an attack from the enemy. God can allow our foundations to be shaken so we turn to Him for help.
Psalm 18:6 “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.”
In these end times, we need to be closer to God than ever before. We need to apply discernment towards everything that comes across our path. Seek God continually in everything you do and you will not fall.
Psalm 37:24 “… though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
I close with this prayer for you:
May you never lose sight of God during your time of trial. May your heart be open to Him, your mind attentive to Him and your Spirit in line with Him. May you understand His love and mercy during your failure, and may He grant you strength to repent. I pray you see beyond temptation and persevere to reach victory over your circumstances. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.