from JO’s sermon tonight:
we all have dreams that God’s placed in our hearts, goals that we want to accomplish. too often, we get discouraged by the process: it’s taking longer than we thought, we had some bad breaks, we went through a loss, somebody did us wrong. we think, “this couldn’t be right; I’m uncomfortable.” but like with a pregnancy, it’s a part of the process. everything you go through, every struggle, disappointment, delay, if you’ll keep the right attitude, that’s depositing something in you, making you stronger, developing your character, growing you up.
here’s the key; you’re anointed before you’re appointed. there’s going to be a preparation period between the time God puts the dream in your heart, and the time that it comes to pass. just because you’re anointed doesn’t mean that the appointing is going to come; it’s up to us to pass these tests, to be willing to go through the difficulties, uncomfortable seasons, lonely times, when we don’t understand it, we’re doing the right thing, but we’re not making progress. this is when many people give up on their dreams; they were anointed, but because they wouldn’t go through the preparation process, they never saw the appointing come.
in the scripture, David was anointed to become the next king of Israel at the age of 17; the prophet Samuel traveled to his house, chose David out of all the other brothers, poured the oil on his head. David was excited; it was a destiny moment. but what’s interesting is that after David was anointed, given this incredible promise, where did he go, to the palace to get his royal robe? no, he went back to the shepherds’ fields; he was anointed, but not appointed. he had to go through the preparation process, pass the test of doing a menial task, taking care of his father’s sheep; feeding them day in and day out, shoveling their waste. it smelled bad, it was lonely, it seemed unfair; his brothers, who weren’t anointed by Samuel, they were in the military, they had prestigious positions, everyone looked up to them.
David could have thought, “I’m not going back to the shepherds’ fields; I’m the next king.” but David understood this principle; he had to show God that he would be faithful when it wasn’t exciting. he had to pass the test of being good to King Saul, even though Saul was jealous and trying to kill David. David could’ve said, “God, this isn’t right, you’ve got to get rid of Saul, I’m uncomfortable”; instead, David kept doing the right thing, year after year. he was anointed at 17, but he didn’t take the throne until he was 30; it took 13 years for his appointing to catch up with his anointing. but without those 13 years of keeping a good attitude, doing the right thing, overlooking insults, he wouldn’t have been prepared for where God was taking him.
God knows what is in your future, and what it’s going to take to get you there. you may not understand why it’s taking so long, why it hasn’t turned out the way you thought, why you’re in a lonely, discouraged, stagnant season, but everything you’ve been through was to strengthen, develop, prepare you. God wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t a part of the process; without it, you couldn’t give birth to what’s in you. if you’ll do like David, and not try to figure it all out, not live bitter, negative, but instead, keep passing the test, doing the right thing, giving, serving, loving, then your time is coming; what God promised, He will bring to pass.
one day, when David was in those lonely shepherds’ fields:
1 Samuel 17:17 (NIV)
17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp.
David could’ve said, “Dad, you saw Samuel anoint me, choose me over all my brothers, and you want me to be an errand boy, a delivery service? I don’t think so.” if David would’ve been too proud, not willing to serve others, do something that seemed insignificant, he would’ve never made it to the throne; these are tests that we must pass. it took humility to bring his brothers lunch.
1 Samuel 17:28 (NIV)
28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
David overlooked it, and kept doing the right thing.
1 Samuel 17:23-32 (NIV)
23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it…32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
but had David not been faithful where he was, doing what his father asked him to do, even though it was small, he would’ve missed his destiny; he would’ve never seen Goliath.
it’s easy to think, “I’m not going to do this insignificant thing; when something big, impressive comes my way, then I’ll step up, give it my best.” but how do you know that your destiny is not tied to the small thing that God is asking you to do? once you do that insignificant thing, or maybe you have to swallow your pride, and serve somebody that’s under you, then the door to the big thing that God has in store will open up. it can be uncomfortable to have to humble ourselves. we think, “God, that’s not right, I have more training, education, skill than them”; pass the test. it’s a part of the process that’s getting you prepared. when you’re faithful in the small, you’re passing the test; that’s getting you prepared for the big things God has in store.
you may be doing something that seems insignificant, you know you have much more in you, but don’t despise the day of small beginnings; keep being faithful. here’s the key; do it with a good attitude. it’s one thing to do it negative, complaining, “I can’t stand this job, I’m smarter than my boss, he doesn’t have half the talent that I have”; that may be true, but the reason that God has you there is that He’s doing a work in you. if you complain, you’ll get stuck; it was never supposed to be permanent, it’s just a step along the way.
all those years that David was in the lonely shepherds’ fields, it didn’t look like anything was happening, that he was making progress, but when you’re pregnant, the baby is developing on the inside where nobody can see. in those tough times, when you’re uncomfortable, doing the right thing but the wrong thing is happening, something is developing in you that you can’t see. it’s getting you prepared; you’re getting closer to the birth. if you’ll keep passing the test, at the right time, your anointing will meet up with your appointing.
this is the reason many people never give birth to what’s in them; they don’t understand the process. God will put a dream in your heart, give you the anointing, and then send you back to the shepherds’ fields; the appointing will come later. you know that you’re going to start that business, you’ve been anointed for it, but He’ll send you back to that part-time job with a grouchy boss and coworkers that you don’t like. you know that you’re going to move into that new house, the promise is in you, but He’ll send you back to that small apartment with loud neighbors and no Wi-Fi. you know that you’re going to meet the right person, you’re anointed to have a blessed family, but He’ll send you back to that lonely place where you don’t see any sign of it.
how we respond in the wilderness will determine whether or not we make it into our promised land. right now, there are promises that God has put in you; you are pregnant with potential, opportunity, health, abundance. you’ve been anointed; my question is, will you go through the process so you see your appointing come? will you pass these tests when it’s uncomfortable, it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out, you can’t see anything changing?
just because you don’t see anything happening, doesn’t mean that God is not working; you don’t see it on the outside, but on the inside, where it’s more important, you’re growing, developing. it’s just a matter of time before your appointing shows up. too often, we have the anointing, but we get discouraged by the process. we don’t like it when we’re not making progress, not getting breaks, not being treated right. but in those tough times, when you’re tempted to give up, you have to remind yourself; it’s all a part of the process. it may be uncomfortable, but it’s not unusual. if God took it away, you wouldn’t develop. don’t run away from the process; it’s not working against you, it’s working for you, getting you prepared.
imagine a lady that’s pregnant saying, “I don’t want to gain any weight”; it doesn’t work that way. if we’re not willing to go through the process, we won’t see the baby. there’s something that God wants you to give birth to; something big, special, out of the ordinary. He’s anointed you for it, the appointing is already in your future; I’m asking you to do your part and be willing to go through the process. don’t let disappointments talk you out of it, or delays convince you that it’s not going to happen. don’t let the fact that you don’t think you’re making progress, you’re frustrated, keep you from doing the right thing. you’ve come too far to stop now; you’re too close to the birth to give up. it’s always the most uncomfortable right before that baby comes.
the scripture says:
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
2 … Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross
the way he endured the pain is that he knew it was a part of the process, and it wasn’t permanent; he wasn’t going to stay on the cross. he kept looking forward to the joy that was coming. keep your joy in tough times. when life throws you a curve, you don’t understand it, it’s taking longer than you thought, remind yourself; it’s only temporary, it’s all a part of the process. Jesus kept looking forward to the joy that was coming. don’t look back, fall into self-pity; keep looking forward. the joy, right person, dream, breakthrough is coming. and here’s the key; once you’re prepared, then God can propel you into your destiny, make things happen faster than you thought. don’t get discouraged, thinking that you’re falling behind; “I’ve been doing the right thing for a long time, I should be much further ahead; my friends, colleagues, they’ve all passed me up.” don’t worry, your time is coming. when your appointing catches up with your anointing, supernatural things will happen: supernatural increase, growth, favor. God knows how to make up for lost time. He can propel you where you could not go on your own.
your anointing will supersede your environment. God will put things in you that are bigger than you are right now. God anointed David to be king. he wasn’t in a palace, he was in the shepherds’ fields; all he could see were rocks, sand, sheep. your environment doesn’t determine your destiny; where you are doesn’t limit what God can do. when it’s your time, when you’ve gone through the preparation process, get ready to be propelled, for doors to open that you could not open. don’t get discouraged by the preparation time. don’t quit being your best because you’re not where you thought you would be, friends have passed you up: they got married; you’re still single. they’re in the new place; you’re still in the old one. keep doing the right thing; your appointing is coming.
during that preparation time, you may not see a lot of progress, but at some point, you’re going to come to the place where God says, “all right, you’re prepared, you passed the test, you’ve done your part; now let Me do My part, and propel you into your purpose.” that’s when you’ll see these explosive blessings, acceleration; it should’ve taken years, but God propelled you, and it happened in a fraction of the time. I believe that many of you right now are on the verge of being propelled; you’ve passed the test, done the right thing when it was hard. get ready for new levels, acceleration, favor that you haven’t seen.
there’s a plant called Chinese bamboo; for the first 4 years, it barely grows above the ground, you can hardly see anything happening, but underground, where you can’t see, it’s developing a massive root system. in the fifth year, once the roots are firmly established, the plant will shoot up to as high as 80 feet; from zero to 80 all in one year. but what makes the fifth year possible is the four years of preparation; without the years of underground growth, there wouldn’t be any above-ground growth. like with this plant, you may not see anything happening; you wonder why God isn’t doing something. you’re being your best, but you’re not seeing breaks. you don’t think you’re making progress, but what you can’t see is, on the inside, your roots are going down deep; at the right time, when God knows that you’re prepared, you’re going to come into your fifth year, when you suddenly shoot up, come out of debt, your health turns around, you meet the right person.
but here’s the key; you have to be willing to go through the process. we want fifth year results without the 4 years of preparation. without those years of developing our character, proving to God that we’ll be faithful, doing the right thing when we’re uncomfortable, we won’t see the increase and promotion like we should. sometimes, we think, “God, I’m ready, I’m prepared, I’ve been doing the right thing,” but only God knows where He’s taking you; you may be ready for what you have in mind, but you’re not ready for what God has in mind. what He has planned for you is going to be much bigger, much more exciting. He not only knows where He’s taking you, He knows what it’s going to take to keep you there; if He took you before you were ready, you wouldn’t be able to handle it. as much as we would like it to happen sooner, it wouldn’t be a blessing; it would become a curse.
when we give birth prematurely, even though it may be easier, it’s not God’s best. if it’s taking a long time, that simply means that what you’re going to give birth to is going to be much bigger than you’ve ever imagined. people around you may be giving birth, seeing their dreams come to pass; be happy for them, but the reason it’s taking longer for you is because what you’re carrying is not ordinary, average. what you’re going to give birth to is going to be bigger, more rewarding, more fulfilling, than you’ve ever dreamed. don’t get discouraged by the process. it may be taking a long time; that’s a sign that God’s up to something big, amazing. keep passing the test, doing the right thing when it’s hard. don’t run when it’s uncomfortable; that’s getting you prepared, it’s a part of the process. if you’ll do this, your appointing is about to catch up to your anointing. you’re about to go into your fifth year, where God supernaturally thrusts you forward. because you’re prepared, He’s going to propel you into the fullness of your destiny.