Glory to God! This is something that most Christians have heard at one point, maybe in a song, or while someone was preaching or even while reading the Bible. But what does it mean, what is the glory of God, and how to we give glory to Him?
No matter what God has called you to be it in ministry, business, government, education etc., you will notice that jealousy inevitably follows after favor. It doesn’t just follow but it hunts and runs after it because others see something in you they either want, need or used to have. Many people who have been called and anointed by God have faced this challenge and those who successfully pass this test are allowed to take the next step in their callings. While those who fail typically become the next generation of the jealous who go about hunting those called by God to achieve something in this world.
When God begins to move in your life people start paying attention to you wherever you go. At times this can be good attention like the kind which helps you find those that can aid you in your journey, or you find others needed help as well. This is the place of favor where God begins to connect you with others so that your callings and dreams can manifest in this world. Even David had these people in his life with the likes of Samuel, Jonathan, this mighty men, Joab and others.
However, there’s a second category of attention that you will receive. People who are anointed typically encounter where those who either hate, resent or covet what God has placed upon their life. As you progress in you calling and relationship with God these people will emerge and try to either silence you, cripple you or convert you into one of them.
How you deal with these people will determine how you
progress along the path of the 4 A’s of Anointing, Apprenticeship, Activation
and Announcement. No matter what you’re called to become you’ll encounter this
resistance in some way, shape or form. This resistance can come in the form of
a person, group, organization, friend, family member or online stranger. It
feels as if there is a natural attraction that the darkness has when it sees
the light of God in someone. Not that they want to encounter the light of God
but rather they are attracted to it because they want to snuff it out, so their
darkness isn’t disturbed.
Thousands vs. Ten Thousands
Once God began to bring close supporters into David’s life then it was only a matter of time that the crowds at large began to recognize what was happening in his life. Between the defeat of Goliath and David’ blossoming military career he was being moved closer into the national spotlight right next to Saul. With each task placed before him David was found to be faithful and wise and victories against Israel’s primary enemy the Philistines were happening at a pace not seen since Joshua’s invasion.
What happened here is that God provided David an opportunity to enter into his season of apprenticeship in his anointing and David took that opportunity and did something with it. He didn’t talk about it, or dream of what he could do with those opportunities, no he went to work, and out worked those around him. We don’t just get David boasting about himself about all of this, rather we witness the praises of the people who were beginning to see David as the new great warrior of Israel. A title that used to be Saul’s up until he was abandoned by God and he no longer fought as he used to, we see with his unwillingness to answer Goliath’s challenge and by him remaining often in his capital of Gibeah while David went out and fought.
1 Samuel 18:6-7 “6 Now it had happened as
they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of
the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel,
singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with
musical instruments. 7 So the women sang as they danced, and
said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”
While this was good news for David it was interpreted in a completely different way by Saul, who took these words as being the manifestation of his greatest fear. Since he was rejected as king by God (1 Samuel 15:26-28) Saul has been on the lookout for the “neighbor of yours, who is better than you” who would take the kingdom away from him. God had already taken the kingdom away from Saul spiritually but the day was not yet for it to be taken away in the natural realm.
This reaction from Saul is common in those who have lost
their anointing, calling, hope or living relationship with God. They can’t
stand seeing someone else enjoying the benefits they used to have but lost for
some reason or another. Some lost them through sin, others from a lack of
faith, greed, the pressures of the world and still others because they were
“re-educated” into thinking what they had or had been called to was wrong,
evil, undesirable or “not God’s will.”
Saul failed because of his sin, but there are others such as
Samson who gave into his wife’s pressure or Jeroboam’s descent into idolatry
following the division of the kingdom and Gideon who later built a false ephod
(a counterfeit to the true tabernacle) in his home town (Judges 8:27-29).
Everyone in these examples began strong and accomplished great things for God
but life, circumstances and even their own hearts broke them down and they
ended up in darkness, despite the great things God had done for them.
Jeroboam went from heeding a prophets words to trying to
kill them, Gideon fought against God’s enemies but later created his own
priesthood and lead Israel away from God and the ark, Sampson despite his great
power squandered his giftings and only acted out his calling when he was mad or
inconvenienced. The same pattern exists today as being called and anointed by
God is not a guarantee that you’ll never encounter troubles or that you’ll
never fly off of the rails and end up in a ditch or in a disaster.
A Broken Crown Is
Twice As Sharp
With Saul his paranoia drove him over the edge as he
continually heard the people’s praises about David, and he began to fear that a
coup could be soon underway. Often those with a call on their lives will
encounter their own version of a Saul in their life, be it a person, group or
so on. These are the people who see everyone else that has a touch of God’s
favor and presence upon their lives as a threat to their position, purpose and
1 Samuel 18:8 “And Saul was very angry, for the saying
displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to
me they have ascribed only thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?”
1 Samuel 18:15 “When Saul saw how capable and
successful David was, he stood in awe of him.” (AMPC)
For those who are like Saul in this situation they are not interested int building up the next generation of the church (or in what ever arena you are called to) but are only focused on keeping their backsides in their own chairs and not allowing anything to change. They resist anything that causes growth that wasn’t their own idea and often they are more focused on managing everything than on causing it to grow and develop. Because growth requires more hands to help in administrating and each one of those new hands is a threat to their coveted seat.
Saul feared that this nobody shepherd from the backwoods of Judah who had killed the giant he should’ve fought was now garnering the praised of the people who used to adore him. Saul stood head and shoulders above everyone’s else (1 Samuel 9:2) but that wasn’t enough any longer to inspire the people. Deep down within Saul the idea that there was no one was bigger, better or more anointed than him in Israel began to crumble, and in his already fractured state that realization drove him over the edge.
David had what he used to possess, even if he didn’t know about David and Samuel’s encounter, Saul must have recognized the moving of God’s spirit on David. Saul recognized what David had because it’s what he used to possess and he knew what was possible when that power and anointing was upon a person. Saul knew this and that’s why he was jealous of David and that is why he began to fear him. He wanted back what he had lost and since he could never get it back he decided that no one else should be able to have God’s anointing upon them either.
Proverbs 28:16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days. (NKJV0
Job 5:2 For wrath kills a foolish man, And envy slays a simple one. (NKJV)
At its core jealousy is just a pathway that leads to a crossroads, inevitably you’ll have to make a decision when you reach this juncture. You can either repent and turn around or you have one of two choices you can either turn one way down the path of lust and covetousness or you can turn down the other path which leads to destruction. One path will make you devote your life to acquiring something you don’t have (or used to have) no matter the cost. The other path will make you devote your life to destroying what another person has because if you can’t have it then no one can.
What Can You Do
Next week I’ll talk about how Saul’s jealousy transformed
into fear and hatred but for now I want you to be aware that these types of
situations still happened not just in the world but also in the church. It can
happen between pastors and staff, between members and volunteers, between
strangers and the pastor and so on. So it should be no surprise that behaviors
and risks like this happen but what should you do to model your life after what
What we need to first realize is that our own lives are not
about proving those jealous people wrong it’s about witnessing God being right
about what he has cultivated in your heart and life while witnessing the fruits
of that manifest in the world around you. The first and best thing you can do
is to remain faithful and committed to what God is leading you to/through. As
we’ll see in the coming weeks David had literal spears thrown at him but he
still refused to murder Saul, or to take a shortcut in this journey to becoming
Before I continue I feel that I must make this statement: David’s example with Saul doesn’t mean that you cannot “turn over” a fallen leader who has engaged in criminal or unethical activities. Saul received his judgment before David was anointed and David didn’t invent stories to try and take down Saul. However, you must not feel obligated to insulate or protect a fallen leader when they have committed a crime, had a breach of ethics or have engaged in improper sexual activities.
You are not in the wrong to turn that leader over to the
authorities, just as long as the accusations are more than just gossip and
hearsay that weren’t fabricated. I feel many people take this interchange
between David and Saul and use it as justification to allow a leader to continue
in their sins and issues, or this story is used to intimidate victims or
witnesses from coming forward. That is not the situation that happened here
with David and Saul and I feel it this needs to be mentioned here.
If you want a biblical example of how this should take place look at the example of Nathan confronting David about Bathsheba, or Paul confronting Peter about his treatment of the Gentile believers. Those examples provide a healthy biblical example of how to deal with a person in leadership who has failed in their duties and ethics.
Back on track now. Really your best course of action when
you encounter these people is to let them “yell at the clouds” so to say and
for you to continue being faithful in what God is leading you through. That’s
what David did, he was found more wise and successful than the other military
commanders (1 Samuel 18:30). It’s also how someone like Paul was able to go
from the great persecutor to the great Apostle, he was humble, faithful and
determined to do all he could for God that picked him up from his mess and made
him a herald of the great King.
If God sees it necessary he may even will remove those
people eventually from your life or he could also will use them to drive you
into the next phase of your calling. Either way those proverbial Saul’s aren’t
always to be seen as mighty adversaries but rather as either speedbumps or
detour signs along the road between where God called you from and where God is
calling you to.
First understanding that there are people out there that
won’t appreciate God’s calling and purpose on your life is the first step in
learning how to best navigate those situations. Yet at the same time you need
to be open and humble enough to recognize when a person is jealous or envious
of you and when they are actually hearing from God and are trying to correct
and refine you. You can’t respond to every word or person that doesn’t tickle
your ear by calling them a Saul, you need to be sensitive to the spirit so that
you can also recognize those who come to you like Nathan to keep you on the
path God has placed you on.
You’re job is to serve, love and follow God and to do it in
a Christlike manner so that the majority of people recognize what God is doing,
just like the crowds did with David. So don’t fear the Saul’s of your life,
don’t allow those who are broken and jealous to convert you into one of them.
Just seek God and continue to be faithful with what God has given to you so
that you can discover your true purpose, so you can build the kingdom and then
support the next generation of anointed sons and daughters.
God is looking to pour out His judgment, and that’s a good thing. Come and discover how God is trying to save you from problems and consequences by speaking through judgments and a call for something greater in our lives.
What kind of impact is the church supposed to have in the world? Is it a continuing impact or one that ebbs and flows? Does yesterday’s victories guarantee that the territory taken by a church will remain indefinitely? These are questions that are rarely asked by people in the church and the state of most congregations attest to this ignorance. Far too often we assume that all of yesterday’s work, prayers and victories will be enough to sustain us continually.
Did you know that favor follows after faithfulness? It’s an odd concept but it carries with it a crucial truth which has the potential to radically change our lives. But first let me ask you this, have you ever noticed that many people want a great and powerful testimony but they are unwilling to go through a time of testing to receive one. We want the glory without a battle, and we want to enjoy the riches of work we’ve never done. This conflicting idea can apply to our natural lives but also (and more importantly) to our spiritual lives as well.
We need to understand that God is always watching and nothing is hidden from his sight (Mark 4:22) be it our actions, attitudes, beliefs or anything else for that matter. God is observing us and is looking not to strike us down in fury but He is looking to take us to the next level of our calling and relationship with Him. As I’ve talked about previously for the believer God’s judgment has less to do with vengeance and smiting and more to do with refinement, correction and launching us into our destinies.
Throughout the scriptures we see pictures of how the faithful few took God’s words seriously and lived accordingly. Those such as Abraham and Moses who took their revelation of their part in God’s plan and lived faithfully while expecting God to do great and impossible things. They lived out their beliefs and in turn god brought about the manifestation of the things which were promised to them.
Where we also see this truth play out is in the life of David who despite being the next anointed king of Israel still endured difficult times. He went through trials and encounters that many people would of either ran from or would of fallen of the rails and did things their own way. I spoke last week about how after David killed Goliath he didn’t rush over and deal with Saul at the same time. No David was faithful, and he recognized God’s plan amidst the chaos that the nation was in at that moment. A decision that many not just in the world but also in the church wouldn’t of made, because they serve the God’s of advancement and self more than their Creator.
David in the months after Goliath’s defeat demonstrated a
lifestyle of faithfulness, a lifestyle directed towards, God, Saul, his friends
and the people he would one day lead. But before David could lead the people he
had to go through his own season of Apprenticeship. Which is the second step in
the process of the 4 A’s which takes us from Anointing to Apprenticeship to
Activation to Announcement which is our full entry into our callings and destiny.
Now begins David’s Season of Apprenticeship
Following the defeat of Goliath David was appointed as one of Saul’s military commanders and depending on the translation this either speaks of a battalion of 1,000 soldiers or he was the commander over all of the soldiers from a particular clan from one of the twelve tribes. Either way it was a significant promotion from royal minstrel and shepherd and it allowed David to become a recognizable face in the nation (or a the very least in the capital of Gibeah).
However this promotion alone isn’t enough, being promoted is only part of the process in order for favor and the next step in our lives to materialize we need to learn how to be faithful with the opportunities that are presented to us.
1 Samuel 18:5 “So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and
behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in
the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.” (NKJV,
see also 1 Samuel 18:30)
David learned in this season how to lead people in battle and how to inspire people to the point of them respecting him rather than fearing him. David would of learned the ins and outs of the kingdom as he witnessed Saul at work daily dealing with the matters of kingship and justice in the nation. David couldn’t jump directly from being a shepherd to a king because the infrastructure of his heart and mind couldn’t of handled it without this season of preparation and hands on training.
It is during these years that David built up loyalty with many of the people who would accompany and support him during his darkest days. It is during this season of training and apprenticeship that many of the key relationships that would define David’s life going forward were established. It wasn’t just about the singular issues of learning information, or demonstrating good servant-hood abilities but it was a combination of all of these matters.
We Need Others For Help
Once we begin to combine anointing with opportunity inevitably God will begin to bring people into our lives to help us through the stages of Apprenticeship and Activation. God brings people into your life to help see your anointing transform into something tangible, this applies not just to ministry but to what ever arena of live God has called you to. We see this with David as two of Saul’s children become close and very supportive of David rather early in this process.
The first is Jonathan, Saul’s oldest son and the assumed
next king of Israel, what is astonishing is that right at the beginning of this
new season of David’s the two of them enter into a covenant with each other (1
Samuel 18:3-4). A covenant in the eyes of David and Jonathan is an unbreakable
agreement sealed in blood which offers blessings and curses upon those who
enter into it. The only way out is death and to break a covenant legally
allowed the one who broke it to be killed by the other party with no
This wasn’t just a handshake agreement but a life long blood oath to protect eachother and it effectively made them brothers in a legal sense (Proverbs 18:24). God knew that David couldn’t succeed in what was coming down the road for him alone so He brought people into his life who could love, support and protect him along the way.
David also received support and protection from this first
wife Michal who was Saul’s second oldest daughter. She protected David from her
father (more on this next week) despite the risk and ensured that David could
one day become king.
We need to get beyond the image that every believer is a mountain unto themselves with no real connection to those around them. It is this idea that “I can do all things myself” which is crippling not just your destiny but the callings of entire congregations. God wired us for community and being faithful will only get us so far in life. Notice that David was a leader in the army, he wasn’t a one-man army but lead others whom he depended on to win the battles. David had his soldiers and later his might men to help him through this whole process.
Faithfulness brought to David favor in the eyes of people and that same favor inspired others to come alongside David to help him. Later in David’s story we see helpers and supporters with him in the wilderness, in the capturing of Jerusalem and in many other places. The places where we don’t see people helping and supporting David can be seen in some of his greatest mistakes, such as with Bathsheba when he stayed home from the battle or when he called on a census against God’s will.
When we have supporters and fellow-workers we can achieve so
much more than we ever could alone. As I said our faithfulness will only take
us so far in our journey and eventually we will need to partner with others to
see God’s purpose for our lives manifest in this world, and not just manifest
but thrive, grow and reproduce.
It’s No Different in the New Testament
This idea of needing help and support is not just found in
the life of David but we see the same process in the life of Paul. After Paul
encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus he went about and began testifying
about what he had encountered and how he had gone from persecutor of Jesus to a
follower of him. Not long after the church’s leadership in Jerusalem sent Paul
away where he spent over a decade in his own personal “wilderness.”
Eventually when the gospel had begun to take route in
Antioch in Syria and opportunity for Paul to minister arose. But Paul was not
alone he was sent along with Barnabas who was respected by the church and who
could act as a teacher/supervisor for the former persecuting Pharisee. Despite
Paul’s encounter he still needed support, oversight and help along the way to
becoming the great Apostle to the Gentiles. What began with a teacher and
student relationship with Barnabas and Paul eventually blossomed into Paul
being able to “graduate” so to speak and go off without his friend.
Yet Paul didn’t go alone after he and Barnabas split up over
John Mark but everywhere Paul went he had others with him as well. He had the
likes of Luke, Timothy, Pricilla, Aquila and others who helped him in his
ministry. He had help from Tyrannus, various officials, common people and the
like who all supported Paul in his mission. Paul even had scribes and couriers
to help spread his message around the Roman Empire. Paul couldn’t of done
everything alone, he couldn’t be an apostle, tent maker, scribe, courier, ship
captain, carpenter and so on all at once.
Is it any different with us, do we not need the support of others to ensure that we can become who God created us to be? Our personal faithfulness will only take us so far because God designed it that way to ensure that his body would operate as body where one part is dependent (but not subservient to) all of the other parts.
Where Does Faithfulness Come To Life?
Faithfulness comes alive when we live out the life we know
God expects of us to live. This is a life which lines up with our covenant
responsibilities, it reflects the nature of Christ and it acts as a testimony
to the promises from God we are holding onto. Those promises include the over
aching promises from the Bible but also the personal promises and revelations
which God has communicated to us individually.
A life of faithfulness doesn’t come all at once as it is better compared to a town which is covered in snow. Each flake is an act of service, obedience, humility, and faith which was carried out while only God was paying attention to you. Eventually these flakes add up and for those who were sleeping or oblivious of your life will eventually look out the window and suddenly see the streets and yards covered in snow and assume that it all happened at once, or perhaps it was some sort of miracle.
The reality is that these snowflakes built up upon one another over time and for the most part they were ignored until the moment the snowdrifts were several feet high and the streets needed to be plowed. Then did the other people take notice of what was happening, or perhaps that is when they woke up and looked outside for the first time.
When we pass the tests of faithfulness in the small things which are hidden from the crowds and influential people then and only then will God reveal those insignificant victories to the world.
Luke 16:10-12 10 He who is faithful
in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what
is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have
not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the
true riches?12 And if you have not been faithful in
what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
Revelation 3:10-11 10 Because you (Philadelphia)
have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial
which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11Behold,
I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
Our personal trials will always determine the quality and severity of our public trials and when we cultivate faithfulness, and dependency on God when we are alone then we will be prepared for the greater public battles which will rise up against us, just as Goliath rose up against Israel and David was already prepared to face that challenge.
The Double-Edged Sword of Favor
A lifestyle of faithfulness eventually leads to a life full
of favor, that is favor from God and favor in the eyes of the right people
around us. It has to go in that order because if we are striving to attain
favor in the eyes of people we will inevitably compromise or even sacrifice our
relationship with God to attain that prize. That was the sin Saul committed
when he compromised his position so that the people around him would be
satisfied by being able to take the plunder from the Amalekites rather than
obeying the prophet Samuel.
Having favor with God is about more than just making Him
happy it has to do with our faith and how we reciprocates our faith with his
own faithfulness in our lives. As we see in these verses from Psalms and
Proverbs the favor God shows us in response to our faith, love, obedience and
relationship can have a tangible effect on our lives.
Psalms 5:12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with
a shield. (NKJV)
Proverbs 3:3-6 “3 Let not mercy and truth
forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your
heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem in the sight
of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and
lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways
acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)
Despite all of the great things God’s favor brings into our
lives next week we will look at the dark side of having receiving favor from
God and having people rise up to support us. This isn’t a topic to be feared
but it is one which will prepare us to enter the third stage of the progression
from Anointing to Apprenticeship to Activation and finally to Announcement.
For now though take time to pray and seek God so that you can recognize those small hidden battles and opportunities for faithfulness. That eventually those victories and testimonies will bring open up new opportunities in your life and to connect you with people that you can partner with so that the callings and destines of all of you can come to pass in this world.
To go deeper in your journey with Christ check out my new book Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian beliefs which is now on sale. Available in paperback (Canada or USA) and eBook! Get your copy today and discover not just your purpose but how you can build the Kingdom of God here on the Earth
“I’m in awe of Cameron D. Conway’s ability to pack all the major theological ideas into such a thin book! I also appreciate how he infused every chapter with practical analogies. This book is a great reference for every believer. I highly recommend it.”
Assistant Pastor, Maranatha Church, Nanaimo BC
In recommending a book, I am really recommending a person. Cameron Conway is well read and theology is more than an academic discipline, it is a way of life for him. “Understanding Who You Are” provides a high level view of what we need to know about God. You will enjoy Cam’s insights and his wit. Enjoy!