(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 6)
I’ve been thinking, you know, there are so many things that can happen that can tempt or cause us to veer off the path that God wants us on. He wants us on the path of PURPOSE, which is individualistic to a large extent but many times, due to us not remaining focused on what he is doing in our lives but obsessively monitoring what is happening with others, we veer off the path he has set for us.
We look at what is happening in the lives of others and some of us feel the need to compete or to do what others are doing, when that is not the purpose that God has for us. Instead of focusing on what he will have us to do, even as Samuel did as a child when he heard God’s voice and Saul, when he had that encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, we focus too much on what others are doing and want to model our lives in a similar fashion.
Yet, as I have stated before, no two scripts for God’s children look exactly alike. It was God’s will that John the Baptist be martyred whe he was captured by Herod’s men but also his will that Peter be released from prison when he too had been captured and Herod had planned to kill him as he had done to James, the brother of the disciple John.
Sometimes it is God’s will to give a couple a baby without any hassle and shortly after marriage but yet his will to not give another couple any or to have them wait a number of years before he gives conception.
His ways are not our ways and are past finding out. What is important therefore is to be content in whatsoever state or season he would have us, as individuals and to faithfully trod the path he has set for our lives with a good attitude (Philippians 4:11).
He does not want us comparing with others and worse yet, competing. As I stated in an earlier statement I wrote on 12th November, 2016:
- “The Lord never scripts the exact same story for any two of his children. Each story and each journey is different. It is supposed to be different: Different facts, different angles, different characters, different occurrences, difference timelines, different highs, different lows, different challenges, different storms and different celebrations. However, it is the intention of the script writer that every story crafted by his hands has the same outcome: VICTORY.
- If his children would let him, the Lord is able to extract beauty out of every story. But we must let go of the pen and trust him, the one who made us, to write what is best for us. We must also allow him to direct our lives as he sees fit, aligning us to the purpose that he has created us for. If each person would only focus on how his or her own story unfolds and of the lessons learned during the process, if each person would only ensure that the author and finisher remains central to the theme and that he is also allowed to direct as he pleases, then each story would be a resounding success and redound to the honour and glory of God himself.
We must therefore each stay in our lane, that lane being the one that God has set for us, whether it involves a seemingly easy and comfortable journey or a difficult one. Wherever God would have us, he has empowered us to be able to handle. Hence the reason he told Paul when he had prayed to him three times, to remove something from his life which was so trying, that he described it as “…the messenger of satan to buffet me”, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God’s grace is sufficient for us as well. Whether his script for us involves marriage or not, children or not, a good job and lots of income or not, let us embrace our call and focus on serving him as servant, however he will have us do so. We must stay on our lane of purpose, as set by God for our lives and not try, due to dissatisfaction, envy, pride or competition, to get unto somebody else’s lane or one that looks similar or better.
What Jesus told Peter in John 21:17-22, after he (Jesus) had risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, is classic. He gave Peter insight into his future, which would involve him dying when he was old, for the sake of Christ. He told him:
- “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”
The Word of God states that, “This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”
In response, Peter, curious to know what the story would be for John, another one of Jesus’ disciples, asked Jesus what would be in his future. The Word of God states:
- “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?”
Jesus’ answer is the same that he has for each of his children today. He told him, “…If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
Jesus was essentially telling Peter to mind his own business, to focus on following him and not to preoccupy himself with another’s journey or another’s script. What was important was for him, Peter, to stay on his path of PURPOSE, within the perfect will of God.
As we seek to proceed on our path of PURPOSE, in keeping with the will of God for our lives, we should be prepared. For, some people will come to try to guilt us for being on the lane we are on, bringing up examples of other people who are on other parts, to make us feel inadequate. They will remind us that this one is married, this one has a high paying job, this one has a child, that one a house and a car and that, they did it by a certain age, when we have not. They will try to make us feel small, insignificant and as good-for-nothings, simply because we have not done as they expected and by their timeline. Nevertheless, we must silence their voices, so that we can better attune to the voice of God and there is no better place to find the voice of God, than in his Word, the Bible.
We must also stay on the lane of OBEDIENCE. That is where God wants us but it is where the enemy wants us desperately, to leave. Many times therefore, he will send people and situations to provoke us, in a multiplicity of ways, to get us to disobey God and therefore, to veer off this path of blessing.
For example, the path of obedience (based on the Word of God) tells us not to fret ourselves because of the actions of those who do evil but instead, we are to still love them, pray for them and bless them. We are to continue to trust in the Lord, even in that trying situation and do good, not evil. We are not to seek vengeance or to be overly angry but are to rest and wait patiently for the Lord to intervene, however he sees fit.
Psalm 37:1-9 tells us:
- “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity…Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.”
God therefore tells us quite clearly how he wants us to respond to provocation, from those hell-bent on doing evil and hell-bent on troubling us. We are not to leave the path of obedience, so as to retaliate or respond to them but are to continue to do as God has directed us to do.
This is important, no matter what we face or how painful our situation because it is the path of obedience that guarantees the blessing. In other words, when we take the path of obedience, no matter who does what to try to get us to go off course and to stoop to their trouble-making level, we inherit the blessings of the Lord because blessings are tied to obedience!
The natural inclination when people harass, provoke and are downright wicked to us is to get back at them, to level the score, to expose them, wish them evil, to put them in their place and teach them a lesson. Yet, God’s Word tells us that we must remain on the path of obedience and not allow the devices of the devil, which we ought not to be ignorant of, to cause us to be led astray.
Some people come to give you trouble, just to get you to veer off the path of obedience and in so doing, to fall out of favour with God. Always be on your guard, watchful and on the lookout therefore, for such people. Sometimes they will come subtly and under a guise, to try to take you by surprise. They will come from many a direction, even in the Church membership (where some people have been planted as tares among the wheat by the devil for his purposes) and in your own family, immediate or extended.
You may be there thinking, even as I have often thought, “Why is it that so-and-so keeps coming after me, insulting, harassing, attacking and accusing me?”, while that person, as commissioned by the devil is thinking, “What can I do to provoke her, so that she leaves the path of obedience, behaves out of character, retaliates, stoops to my level and therefore, forfeits the blessings God has laid up in store for her?”
It takes God-given discernment to see and understand much of what you may be dealing with in the spiritual realm. If you lack discernment therefore, ask God to open your eyes so that you can better understand what is happening and why it is happening.
While it is hard to remain on the path of OBEDIENCE through provocation, that can get us so worked up and angry at times, we must. The Word of God tells us “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” (Romans 12:14). It tells us that “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” and that “…If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 1:26; 3:2). It also tells us “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) and “…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44).
In conclusion, to please God in this life, we must stay in our lane or as is colloquially expressed in my country, we must “bat in our crease.” There is the lane of PURPOSE (that which God has specifically laid out for us, which is not identical to any other person’s lane) and there is the lane of OBEDIENCE. We must be careful to remain on these paths and not to allow people, the devil or even our own fleshly lusts like pride, envy, jealousy and competition, to make us deviate from these paths that have been set by God.
It is not our responsibility to try to work out what will happen or how our lives will look or what we will be deprived of, if we stay on these paths. Figuring out what will happen to us is God’s job and one that he knows how to handle.
When we stay on these paths (even through difficulties and despite all that comes against us to get us to veer away from them), in retrospect, when we look back on our lives, we will have no regrets. For, the path of purpose that God has for our lives (even if it is devoid of some of the things in life that we would like to acquire) is the best path for us, in keeping with the perfect wisdom of almighty God. Similarly, the path of obedience has no equal. When we resolve to remain put on it, we are blessed with God’s favour, his peace and his supernatural power, manifested through his miraculous workings in our lives.
(Written on 18th June, 2022)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ page:
- Note 57 – ‘Comparison And Competition’
- Note 261 – ‘Seven (7) Ways To Do Single With A Good Attitude While Hoping To Be Married’
Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ page:
- Note 246 – ‘Imposters Among Us’