When The Wilderness Calls

When The Wilderness Calls

Everyone wants to remain in their own proverbial Eden and wait for God to bring them blessings on a silver platter. It’s no wonder why we look down upon seasons of difficulties or even the idea of having to go through a wilderness to arrive at the place God has called us to. At times people go into the wilderness by choice, such as with Jesus and Moses. But there are other times when people like David were forced to run into it, because their life depended on it.

As we’ve seen over the past few weeks David really hasn’t done anything wrong, he served Saul faithfully, he protected the people from the Philistines and was generally admired by many. The shepherd boy who killed Goliath and lulled Saul to sleep at night stood as a paragon of virtue and the favor of God. But not everyone appreciated what David was becoming. Saul was becoming increasingly paranoid and his rage was replacing the place in his heart which used to be filled with God’s anointing.

Repeatedly Saul lost his temper and tried to impale David with his spear (1 Samuel 19:1-7), only to apologize later on after Jonathan or another calmed him down. Saul reacted in this way because he knew something was up, David was loved by the people, he was a mighty warrior and now he had not only married his daughter Michal but made a covenant with his son Jonathan, the heir-apparent to the throne of Israel. As far as Saul was concerned David was fast becoming enemy number one and posed a threat to his family, his kingship and his life.

Dark to Light

What does this have to do with us today? Not everyone has a Saul in their lives who is watching and plotting against them with a murderous paranoia. Yet at times it may feel that way, and even spiritually we have someone even more broken than Saul who is working against us so that no one can take his throne and replace his royal family.

Saul had fallen from God’s graces and was destined to be replaced by God’s new anointed choice, David. We today can see ourselves playing the role of David, as we look forward to the day when the wicked king is fully dethroned and God allows us to walk into the fullness of our calling.

As I said we don’t always face a physical Saul in our life but there is a spiritual one, one who is active and paranoid that at any moment one of God’s anointed ones will rush into the castle and dethrone him. Satan and his forces are like Saul, they have been entrenched and see themselves as still having a legal right over their territory despite their falling away and the stripping of God’s anointing from their lives. So, they go about and like Saul they hurl their spears in an attempt to kill, discredit, or convert anyone who poses a threat to their continued rule.

We don’t always face a physical Saul in our life but there is a spiritual one, one who is active and paranoid that at any moment one of God’s anointed ones will rush into the castle and dethrone him.

Like David we can’t just barge into that throne room after we “kill Goliath,” no, to achieve real and lasting victory in our hearts we need to go through the process of refinement that comes from entering and abiding in the wilderness. Otherwise we end up being worse than those that we replaced or ridiculed. Imagine if David had gone against his heart and just straight up murdered Saul the first chance he got, would he still be a man after God’s own heart, or would he have become worse than Saul. We can even look at the lives of David’s descendants and see the answer to the question. People like Absalom, Rehoboam, or Manasseh who allowed their hearts to be corrupted and ended up as even more broken and wicked kings than Saul ever was.

This is why the wilderness is a necessity in our relationships with God, it refines our heart and takes us out from the place of Apprenticeship and brings us into Activation. Some people like David won’t have a choice in the matter, if they want to remain spiritually (or even naturally) alive long enough to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.

Running Into the Wilderness

In the opening of 1 Samuel 19 we don’t see a scared and cowardly David looking to abandon His divine purpose in life because things got “too hard.” This was a last resort to preserve his life and the calling God had placed upon him. We see this play out in David’s request to Jonathan to find out exactly what was going on in Saul’s heart. At first Saul once again relented in 1 Samuel 19:6 but not long after Saul once again tried to turn David into an unwilling wall ornament in 1 Samuel 19:9-10.

Now was the time to run, not out of cowardice, or an abandoning of his calling but because God was orchestrating events to lure David outside the comforts of the castle and his royal position and into the place where his heart would be refined even further. It’s easy to get comfortable, it’s happened to me and I know it has happened to you as well. Comfort leads to contentment, and contentment leads to inactivity. This place of comfort is something we all want to enjoy at some point but at the same time that comfort has to power to smother the fire God has placed inside of us.

Comfort leads to contentment, and contentment leads to inactivity.

No one, or should I say very few, people want to abandon those comforts and go out into the wilderness. In the castle David had food brought to him, but in the wilderness he had to seek out his own food or rely on others for help. The wilderness is one of the spiritual antidotes to our pride and self-sufficiency. It’s the place that forces us to hold up our priorities and relationship with God up against the realities of our hearts desires. Those seasons of wilderness that we dread are really God’s method of pruning our hearts and minds like one prunes a tree of fruit vine. In the wilderness the dead branches of our heart, mind and desires are exposed and allowed to be removed so the source of life can flow freely through us.

We’re not the only ones that must face these seasons of wilderness refinement. As we’ve already seen Jesus and Moses both had seasons like this, but so did Elijah, Paul, Jeremiah and a host of others who were used mightily by God. The wilderness can be painful, stressful and full of vanities but God uses that time to draw us closer to Him and to ensure that we don’t place our trust in the wrong things. No longer do we rely on the royal chefs to bring our meals each day but now we rely on God’s provisions (Matthew 6:25-27).

Our Spiritual Testing Grounds

Not only is the wilderness a season of dependency but it also prepares us for what God has called us to become. With David his time in the wilderness was not one of isolation or contemplation. Rather this season gave him the opportunity to experience many of the responsibilities he would face when he became king. He learned how to lead and manage and defend his people. Many of the lessons David needed to learn in how to be a good king came during this season where he lead his band of misfits and evaded the murderous rage of Saul.

The wilderness can then be seen as a microcosm or a testing ground for our divine callings where we can learn, grow and apply what God is calling us to be outside of the public eye. It also allows us the opportunity to fail without being discredited before we master our callings. Or we can be like the Apostle Paul who used his decade long post-Damascus wilderness to relearn the scriptures through the light of Christ.

The wilderness can then be seen as a microcosm or a testing ground for our divine callings where we can learn, grow and apply what God is calling us to be outside of the public eye.

I know that everyone wants to go from the poor shepherd directly to being the king with nothing in-between. But it is in that in-between time that our heart, mind and character are supposed to be prepared to be a king after God’s own heart. Otherwise we run the risk of ending up like the fallen and wicked kings of Judah and Israel.

Even I’ve had my own wilderness experiences I’ve had several seasons in my life where as I was trying to fulfill. my calling and become who God created me to be I suddenly found myself outside of the proverbial promised land and alone in the dark, barren wilderness. I can honestly say that while I was in those seasons of wilderness that I was less than pleased to be in them. I grumbled and complained like ancient Israelite who left Egypt and I would regularly question God’s goodness.

But eventually I got to the point where I recognized where I was and what God was trying to do in those seasons and my perspective began to change. I reached a point in the wilderness where I saw what God was trying to do with my heart, character or motivations and began to allow Him to do his work. I allowed this because I began to see how the things God was addressing in my life would end up crippling my calling and would lead to others being affected as well. Looking back at those seasons I still don’t enjoy the pain, discomfort or struggles I endured but I to enjoy the place that I am in now because of it.

This whole concept of the wilderness can be compared to breaking your leg. After the injury you can either go through frustration of depending on a crutch and having to endure the pain of having the bone heal, and even become stronger in some aspects. Or you can take the easy way out and avoid all of that pain and discomfort by just cutting of your leg instead. I feel that many believers prefer to cut off their broken legs than allow God to take them through the wilderness. Then afterwards they go about brag about their piety for enduring life without a leg to stand on when all God wanted to do was to strengthen them and make them more grounded in Him.

Welcome to the Wilderness

Despite Saul’s murderous temper tantrums David was still in his season of apprenticeship, he was one of the leaders of the army and was the one bringing victories to Israel while Saul remained at home wallowing in his misery. David was earning the love and respect of the people simply by being faithful to the tasks set before him. He didn’t try to outmaneuver Saul politically but simply did his duty for the people and the kingdom as God gave him the needed support.

Even though Saul was trying to kill David, David did not relent from doing what he knew he needed to do at that time. He didn’t refuse to fight the Philistines or plot to kill Saul, however once the danger became too great then and only then did he flee. But David did not flee to an enemy to seek vengeance on Saul, no in that moment David fled to where the prophet Samuel was staying. David fled to the only real place he could go to as an anointed servant of God. He went to the place where other anointed people were, the place where God was speaking so he could find shelter and insight into what to do next.

Don’t fear the wilderness because that’s the place of activation.

This time of apprenticeship in the wilderness David the experience he needed to learn how to lead the people and it gave him a platform for the others to recognize themselves what God has placed upon him. The wilderness was not a demotion but a staircase to the next level of David’s life, but like a natural staircase it takes effort and intent to reach the top. Our hearts want an escalator to carry us to our dreams and promises but in reality God wants to walk hand in hand with us up those stairs so we always remain dependent on Him for our promotion and success. Don’t fear the wilderness because that’s the place of activation.

Psalm 55:6-7 “So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness.”

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

Creative Commons LicenseWhen The Wilderness Calls Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Favor Follows Faithfulness

Favor Follows Faithfulness

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.

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.

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.

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.

God brings people into your life to help see your anointing transform into something tangible.

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 consequences.

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.

Faithfulness comes alive when we live out the life we know God expects of us to live.

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 “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 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

Creative Commons LicenseFavor Follows Faithfulness Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Be Ready For Unexpected Challenges

Be Prepared For Unexpected Challenges

Those who have been given a call and purpose from God will inevitable find themselves facing a great decisive and unexpected challenges which will determine if they will continue down the path God has laid out. However, this challenge is not always expected and more often than not we find ourselves stumbling upon it going about our daily lives.

Not every battle is laid out before us in advance and many times we will find ourselves stepping into the unexpected and then we discover why God led us to that place. We don’t always get pulled aside by someone and given a tactical briefing about something special or unusual that is going to happen that day which has the potential to reshape our lives. But that’s what happened with David he went about the mundane dealings of life and suddenly found himself standing face to face with Goliath.

This is the third part in my look into the life of David to help you discover how we to live you life after being called, commissioned or given a life’s purpose by God. Already we’ve seen how David’s heart handled the anointing by Samuel (Pt.1 HERE) and how David had the humility to serve Saul as his royal minstrel (Pt. 2 HERE) while still maintaining his family responsibilities (1 Samuel 17:15). Now we move on to the defining moment that launched David out of his season of Anointing and into his time of Apprenticeship.

God Combines Anointing With Opportunity Pt. 2

Not long after David became the royal minstrel Saul and the Philistines went to war, to fight over control of territory in western Judah (1 Samuel 17:2). Israel was trying to retain the land taken by the likes of Joshua, Caleb and Othniel while the Philistines were looking to push inward. However, this time was different it wasn’t just two waves crashing together in battle this time there were theatrics at play. The Philistines had their super-weapon and they were looking to coax someone from the Israelite army to agree to a champions battle (1 Samuel 17:8-9). In this battle the Philistines had Goliath, a giant (Anakim), and a descendant (or even a distant relative) of a tribe of giants disposed by Joshua’s conquest of the land given to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 11:21-22).

Now a champions battle which Goliath was trying to bait Israel into is when a conflict is decided by a single warrior or small group of representatives from each army engaging in combat to determine an overall victor. This isn’t that crazy as it does prevent unnecessary loss of life in a conflict, although it appears to be more popular in stories than in actual battle, however there are real examples of this from history outside of the Biblical account.

This is the part of the account where David comes into play. After several weeks of the Philistine’s taunting Israel David’s father Jesse got the idea to send some supplies to the front lines of the pending battle (1 Samuel 17:17-18). David’s three oldest brothers were there so Jesse (fun fact: the son of Boaz and Ruth) asked David of all people to bring some food for them along with some cheese for their commander/regiment, then return home with a report.

David didn’t go to the front lines to specifically fight Goliath that day, he went at the request of his father to bring supplies to the army and his older brothers. David and Jesse probably had no idea about what was going on at the front line with Goliath taunting and challenging the Israelite army. David was just being obedient to his father, even though he was king Saul’s personal minstrel and the next anointed king of Israel.

David didn’t go to the front lines to specifically fight Goliath that day, he went at the request of his father to bring supplies to the army and his older brothers.

The Face Of The Giant

Once David arrived at the front lines days later the reason God led him there became apparent. As David was passing through the camp after delivering his supplies he overheard the commotion coming from the Philistine side of the battlefield (1 Samuel 17:23). After hearing the words of Goliath David demanded to know what would happened to the person that takes out this giant. David even goes as far to say “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” in verse 26.

It becomes apparent here that David’s trust and relationship with God gave him the faith to speak these words and to do the things he did later that day. By calling Goliath an “uncircumcised Philistine” he was declaring that Goliath was outside of God’s covenant and represented no real threat to those who serve and follow God. This is why David called Israel’s army the “armies of the living God,” as opposed to the Philistines who only served idols and demons.

David like Joshua and Caleb generations ago recognized the formidable foes that stood before them but had more hope in God’s ability to fight for them than in the giants’ ability to squash them. It’s the same with us today there will come times in your life where circumstances, opponents or even yourself will appear to be like this mighty giant that is taunting you to walk into what appears in the natural to be an unwinnable battle.

David like Joshua and Caleb generations ago recognized the formidable foes that stood before them but had more hope in God’s ability to fight for them than in the giants’ ability to squash them.

How many thousands of Israelite soldiers where there from all twelve tribes yet none of them had the faith (Numbers 13:33, Deuteronomy 1:28) to stand up against this giant (aka Rephaim, Emim, Anakim, sons of Anak) in the same manner that their faithful ancestors did (Joshua 11:21, 13:12, 14:12-15, 15:13).

Giants are not immortal or unbeatable but they are difficult to destroy if we go out in our own strength and without God’s assistance. David realized this He knew that God was more powerful than any living or breathing being outside of the covenant. To David this battle was not impossible and perhaps he was even reminded of the story of Caleb and Othniel fellow members of the tribe of Judah who killed several giants 300 or so years previously (Joshua 15, Judges 1).

This giant wasn’t there specifically to challenge David, Goliath was there challenging every person who followed the God of Israel. It was an open challenge to each and every soldier who claimed to follow the God who brought them out of slavery and into this Promised Land. Often this is how many “giants” in our lives operate they are not always looking not attack us directly but are looking to attack or embarrassed anyone and everyone who serves God. They do this to discredit God in the eyes of the people and to lure people into thinking that the giant’s gods/demons are the ones with real power and must be served.

David was there that day to honor his fathers request to bring supplies to the front lines, he didn’t go to fight or to impress the crowds he simply did as his father requested and once he arrive an opportunity was there waiting for him.

What’s Your Motivation To Face Unexpected Challenges

After seeing this display from Goliath David asked what if any was Saul promising to give the one who silenced this giant. A soldier responded to David by saying that the reward would be riches, Saul’s daughter, and tax exemption for his (and father’s) family (1 Samuel 17:25). On the one hand this sounds like everything you would want if you were anointed to be the next king. Riches to solidify your position among the people, a marriage to bring you into the royal family and the added benefit of you and your father’s house getting tax exemption status.

Many people would jump at the opportunity to receive this reward alone, except in this case they didn’t. There was something all of the other soldiers were missing, they were missing God in this equation. To David these rewards were not the reason for him wanting to challenge Goliath, David’s motivation came from wanting to stand up for God, the rewards were just a bonus for his faithfulness.

If one of the other soldiers had taken up Saul’s offer and lost then the army would have had to stand down and serve the Philistines as slaves, conscripts and Saul would become a vassal or be executed. The risk was too high just to receive riches alone, which is why things changed when David arrived.

I feel/fear today that far too often people who are anointed and called by God rush into these battles just so they can receive the natural rewards that are offered. They want the riches and recognition now and their hearts are in the wrong place. Often they only realize this after they have been defeated, but many times that defeat has lasting consequences on them and on those around them. Just as if an unanointed soldier had challenged Goliath and died the nation would have suffered the consequences I feel that often the same thing happens with the church at large.

I feel/fear today that far too often people who are anointed and called by God rush into these battles just so they can receive the natural rewards that are offered.

Far too often we seek out money, fame, influence and lose sight of why we are doing the things we are in ministry. It becomes more about advancement and position and less about pleasing God and doing what’s right in His eyes. David stood up against Goliath because of the things Goliath was saying not because he was looking for a wife or gold.

Courage To Face A Challenge Invites Judgement

David’s inquiries into the possible reward for killing Goliath didn’t go unnoticed, David’s oldest brother Eliab overhead his little brother and snapped at him. Eliab said in 1 Samuel 17:28 “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

This is an astounding response from David’s brother because he knew who David was called to be, he was there when Samuel anointed him. Eliab knew full well that God had appointed David to be King of Israel yet he still responded in this manner. He took David’s questioning about Goliath and declared it as being prideful or just wanting to watch the battle and perhaps “play the role of a king,” or thought that David was hoping for to Saul be killed.

Eliab wasn’t alone as others mocked David as well, but this type of response always goes hand in hand whenever anyone has faith for God to do mighty things. Even Jesus received this type of mockery by the people of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6). Others such as the prophet Jeremiah faced the same criticism from the people of his own home town Anathoth (Jeremiah 11:21). There is always this repeating resistance to anyone who tries to actually take God, his promises and His words at face value and try to do something to fight back against these so-called giants and unexpected challenges.

It’s no different for us today, if we believe that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives we have to be prepared to face several things. We have to be ready for unexpected giants to cross our paths and we need to be emotionally ready for the complaining and push back we receive from others when we try to do something about those giants. It’s always easier to sit back and complain about the challenges in front of us and its comforting to ridicule others for trying to deal with problems we have no desire or faith to overcome ourselves. It’s that notion of settling for mediocrity and making sure no one else tries to rise above that level, because if they do then our excuses of why we never did anything about those challenges evaporate and we are left in shame.

This is where David found himself, he saw the giant and heard his accusations against God and his people, he had enough faith to ask what would come about for the one who wiped out this accuser and he was faced with ridicule. Were the people so far removed from the victories of Joshua that they no longer had any faith in God’s intervention, and what did they expect would happen if no on answered Goliath’s challenge. I’m sure eventually Goliath and the Philistines would have run out of patience and overrun the Israelite camp, leaving scores dead and the people in slavery once again.

Avoiding these unexpected challenges is never an answer because eventually they will overcome you and your walk with God. You can’t just camp out of the battlefield and hope the opposing force gets bored and walks away.

Avoiding these unexpected challenges is never an answer because eventually they will overcome you and your walk with God. You can’t just camp out of the battlefield and hope the opposing force gets bored and walks away. That’ll never happen, the only solution is to partner with God and stand against them. That’s what was in David’s heart He saw the giant, heard His words but unlike the other Israelite soldiers he had a firm grasp on who God is, what was available to him through the covenant, and how little a threat Goliath was in God’s eyes.

Taking A Stand

We can move out in the same faith today to see these unexpected challenges through the lens of our New Covenant and the power of God. We need to do this because if we don’t succeed in these challenges we will find ourselves in bondage to them and our anointing, calling and purpose will either become imprisoned or we will be forced to take the long way to our ultimate destination.

These times of unexpected challenges are the times when God proves to us that what He promised is real, they are times where our own strength cannot prevail and through these victories the next stages of our walk with God begin to open up.

Next week we will see how David faced this unexpected challenge head on and how it took him into the next phase of his calling. As he progressed from the place of Anointing to the place of Apprenticeship, because someone overhead David talking and rather than ridiculing him went to the king to tell him the news that someone was ready to fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17:31)

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

Creative Commons LicenseBe Ready For Unexpected  Challenges Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

How To Live After Being Anointed

Last week I talked about the lifestyle David demonstrated which resulted in God recognizing the potential in the next king of Israel within him. David lived a life of worship and complete trust in God and didn’t do those things for glory or to be loved by the people but because he loved God and placed that relationship high above those other matters. Today we look at the aftermath of David’s anointing and how you too can learn how to live after being anointed.

God is The Great Door Keeper

Far too often we focus on how to open doors of promotion, attention, advancement or blessing according to our own strength and talents. We look for opportunities for advancement be it in business or even in ministry and we convince ourselves that “if I could just crack open that door all will be well.” We struggle and strive to try and force God’s will for our lives into existence and we picture ourselves as being pregnant with a promise so we push and push to force it out into the world.

However, the truth is that we are not the one pregnant with the giftings and promises which God has revealed to us, He is. It’s not about our own panting and pushing but it has to do with God’s timing and our ability to pass His tests that are laid out before us. We fail to recognize that our part is not of the expectant mother but rather as the carpenter trying to build a house for that promised child/destiny to live in. The promise is coming but it is not only up to you to bring it into the world, rather your job is the make sure that your house is ready to take in the promise of God on your life.

He is. It’s not about our own panting and pushing but it has to do with God’s timing and our ability to pass His tests that are laid out before us.

We can continue to look at the life of David here, last week we witnessed David be anointed as the next king of Israel by Samuel, not in isolation but in front of David’s family. David had gone from being an unknown and uninteresting teenage shepherd from the wilderness of Judah and has marked by God to be the king of all twelve tribes of Israel. This wasn’t a “one and done” promise and David wasn’t officially the reigning king at the moment, time was needed for David to grow into that calling. He had to prepare the house of his heart to take in the fulfillment of that promise. How David prepared His heart is demonstrated to us through his character and how he lived his life following being anointed by God.

God Combines Anointing With Opportunity

Not long after David’s encounter with Samuel something began stirring miles away in the house of King Saul. Following his rejection by God, Saul found himself being tormented by a distressing (also translated evil, harmful, and tormenting) spirit that affected his sleep and mental state (1 Samuel 16:14-17). No longer was Saul covered with the Spirit of God (Ruach YHWH) but he was being afflicted and tormented by other spirits that were not God (and appear to have been permitted by God to do so).

Through his sin, impatience and fear of the people Saul had found himself subjected to the consequences of his actions, as the departure of God’s presence left a spiritual vacuum in the king that was filled by dark forces which would cripple his mind and life.With this mental and spiritual torment the king sought a solution to at the very least provide comfort during the episodes. One of the king’s servants recommended a harpist be recruited to help the king find relief, at that moment God sprang into action and moved upon another servant to recommend David to the position.

1 Samuel 16:18 “Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”” (NKJV)

What became a problem for Saul was transformed into an opportunity for David, but David had nothing to do with it. We don’t find David praying for Saul to be afflicted with this spirit and we don’t read about David going to an audition to stand before the king. God had a plan in place to put David right where he needed to be to take the next step in seeing his divine promise come to pass.

This is on of several examples in the scriptures where God will confirm his anointing or call on a person’s life by orchestrating events to bring that person a opportunity to move towards that calling. David didn’t advertise himself for this position, it came because at that moment an idea popped into the right person’s mind and a mighty door was opened, a door which David could not open himself. This is unlike how it is today where distance is no longer an issue, even the space between Gibeah and Bethlehem was considered a significant distance in that day. For that servant to know of a person like David in an obscure town such as Bethlehem shows how God was involved with orchestrating this situation.

The King Plays For A King

One day and perhaps not look long since the visit by Samuel, Jesse is once again faced with uninvited guests to his home. This time it’s messengers from king Saul requesting the presence of his youngest son and newly anointed king, David. Can you imagine what was going on in that house in this time, first the head prophet of the nation is anointing your son king and the next thing you know the existing king has called that same son to court.

David agrees (not like he had a choice) to go with the messengers and begins his journey to Gibeah to stand before the king. The newly anointed king was going to stand before the rejected king. When David arrived he welcomed his task to play his harp for the king, he didn’t try to provoke or challenge Saul but did what he could to ease the anguish he was suffering from.

1 Samuel 16:21-23 “21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer. 22 Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” (NKJV)

David became a source of comfort for King Saul, which is astounding to us because David the one anointed to succeed Saul was humble enough to serve him in this way. David despite his anointing and Saul’s sins, still recognized Saul as being originally chosen by God and honored Him accordingly. This wasn’t just a one-time sign of respect but this reality followed David for the entirety of Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24:10, 26:9, 11, 16, 23, 2 Samuel 1:14-16).

David became a source of comfort for King Saul, which is astounding to us because David the one anointed to succeed Saul was humble enough to serve him in this way.

How different is David’s attitude than what many other people would have done in the same situation? The reality is that many people, including those in the church today would have probably done the exact opposite. Our response is typically to either to reject serving a king like Saul at all. Or if we did go it would be to either assassinate or discredit the king so we could finally take their own rightful place as king, since God has already anointed us to succeed that person.

It’s the desire to take what we perceive to be God’s calling or promise for our lives and try and force it into existence through any means necessary. How many of us would honestly serve Saul, knowing that he had failed and we were next in line to sit on his throne after he dies. Would you serve him faithfully or would you try and “expediate” his departure from the throne? This doesn’t just happen in business or politics but this methodology is just as prevalent in the church where ministry looks more like Game of Thrones than the Book of Acts.

Yet David did the honorable thing and demonstrated why he was a “man after God’s own heart.” He respected the position and previous anointing God had placed upon Saul, and David chose then and continuously over the 14ish years that followed to not murder Saul and claim his promise from God. David was faithful, honorable and trusted God above all else, if God said that he would be king then David trusted that God was in control and his day of fulfillment would come at the appointed time.

A Season Of Apprenticeship

Living a life that has been anointed and commissioned by God is just a fancy way of saying that God has reveled his purpose for you, so get ready for the season of wilderness and training. Anointing does not automatically bring us to blessing and fulfillment there are necessary steps we need to walk through so that God’s purpose and calling on our life doesn’t end up destroying us. It’s a process that takes us from Anointing to Apprenticeship to Activation and finally to Announcement, think of it as the 4A’s of your divine calling.

David is one example of these 4A’s, he was Anointed by Samuel, received his Apprenticeship serving Saul as a harpist and military commander, then came the season of Activation in the wilderness leading his followers and finally the Announcement came when he was officially crowned king of Judah and later Israel.

David isn’t alone in going through this process, we see the same thing play out with Joshua who apprenticed under Moses, Elisha who apprenticed under Elijah, Paul and apprenticed under Barnabas and Timothy who apprenticed under Paul. It’s a necessary progression that helps us to fully mature and live out the call of God in our lives. What good is it having an anointing if it’s never released into the world and brings about God’s purpose for it. All of that happens in the seasons of apprenticeship, activation and announcement.

Jesus’s Expectations On The Anointed

Jesus has made it abundantly clear throughout the gospels about how he expects us to live, as not just ordinary believers but also for those in ministry and leadership. When we follow Jesus’s words we are guided to follow the example of David and to avoid our natural desires to do things our way, or the way everyone else does so. The task of opening the door is not our own our duty is to live a Christlike life and to develop the fruits of the spirit so that when opportunities to arise our hearts are prepared for whatever happens next. At the same time we need the same humility David demonstrated in serving Saul so ensure that our hearts don’t become corrupted or we allow God’s promises on our lives to become a hornets nest of pride.

Just look at what Jesus’s commanded us to live like, and how we are to pursue not just leadership but the purpose for our lives.

John 13:14-16 “14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Matthew 20:26-28 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

We cannot allow our jobs, ministry, callings, giftings or purpose to derail our relationship with not just God but with other people. People are not just tools or commodities to progress the manifestation of God’s promise on your life. They are your fellow brothers and sisters and no matter what God has called you to be you must treat them as such. You cannot allow your calling, ego, or self-prescribed vision of yourself to cloud your view of others or to think yourself higher than them. We each have a calling and a purpose but my calling or purpose doesn’t make me better or worse than another, we achieve different goals and tasks but we are all equal in God’s eyes. All God judges us by is not the size of our calling but by our faithfulness and the state of our hearts as we walk out that faithfulness.

People are not just tools or commodities to progress the manifestation of God’s promise on your life.

Honor Before Glory

Do you know what happened after David became the royal harpist, nothing, his heart remained the same. We even see an astounding and often over looked scripture in 1 Samuel 17:15 which says that “David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.”

Can you see what happened here, David the mighty hero and the great comforter to the king did not forget his obligations to his family. Despite his success and royal standing he still helped with take care of Jesse’s sheep, the anointed king of Israel didn’t outsource his responsibilities to his family. David remained faithful and didn’t allow his anointing or new found promotion to supersede his family.

Over time more opportunities presented themselves to David and because of his relationship with God and his humility of heart he was able to seize those opportunities and take another step in seeing his anointing and promise from God become a reality in his life. The same truth is available for us today, perhaps we should be less focused on kicking in every door looking for our promises to be fulfilled and instead we should be focusing on our relationship with God and the state of our heart so we can recognize God’s opportunities when they arise in our own lives.

So what will you do this week to prepare your heart for God’s coming opportunities in your own life?

To go deeper in your journey with Christ check out my new book Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21<sup>st</sup> Century Christian beliefs which is <a href=”https://wp.me/p9Vo1x-a6″>now on sale</a>. Available in paperback (<a href=”https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1775369005/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1537399434&amp;sr=8-5&amp;keywords=cameron+conway”>Canada</a> or <a href=”http://a.co/d/cV5NkZd”>USA</a>) and <a href=”https://www.books2read.com/ConwayUWYA”>eBook</a>! Get your copy today and discover not just your purpose but learn how you can build the Kingdom of God here on the Earth.

Creative Commons LicenseHow To Live After Being Anointed Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Key To Receiving A Promise From God

The Key To Receiving A Promise From God

What did David do to earn God’s attention? What was it about that the shepherd from Bethlehem that garnered God’s attention to the point that he was the one chosen to be the future king of Israel? That is the question, and it is the starting point of our look into the process of New Beginnings and how God can take us from a promise all the way up to its manifestation in reality.

To get a good look at this process and how we can work along side God to see it come to pass we will be looking at the lives of two people in the coming weeks. Later we will look at the transformation of Saul into Paul but today I wish to begin taking a look at the life of David. Before David became a king and received the fulfillment of God’s promise he first had to receive that promise in the first place.

All the way back to the beginning at we find this teenager out among the sheep living a normal quiet life. The son of Jesse and the grandson of Boaz and Ruth, David was just ordinary, he as the youngest of eight sons took care of the family’s heard of sheep. He would have spent long lonely nights out in the wilderness as he completed his yearly grazing circuit (see Psalms 23) throughout the region. During this time it is evident that David used that isolation to build his relationship with God.

At this point in his life he was mostly sheltered from the controversy unfolding in the life of Saul, Samuel’s prophetic ministry tour between Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah, and the Philistines encroaching on his tribe’s territory. Those were problems outside of the realm of control for a simple shepherd boy, but it seems that David did not waste his time outside of all that was going on. David sought God, he learned how to worship through music, he meditated on the scriptures (Psalms 63:6) and he learned the lessons of protecting his flock with God’s help (1 Samuel 17:34-35).

Earning The Promise

Eventually the day came when Saul took things too far, he disobeyed the words of Samuel the Prophet/Judge and took his place as priest so that the people would be appeased and the battle could commence. Following the rebuke God gave through Samuel it was clear that in God’s eyes that it was time to appoint a new king. Samuel was then sent by God to seek out Jesse of Bethlehem to find this new king. However, God wasn’t looking for another man that was literally head and shoulders above the rest like Saul was, a man the people assumed would make a good king. Instead God lead Samuel to appoint someone whose heart was worthy to lead the people, more as a shepherd and less as a warlord (1 Samuel 16:7). Eventually after turning down Jesse’s seven other sons it was revealed that an eighth son was out in the field, so David was sent for and appeared before the prophet.

1 Samuel 16:12-13 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (NKJV)

Just like that, in an instant David went from being the lowest of his family to being commissioned to become king, of not just his family or tribe but of the entire nation. This is the kind of calling many Christians dream about, especially those who aspire to be in ministry. The idea that one day a prophet, or preacher or denominational leader will be commanded by God to come to your house and hand you the keys to the kingdom. This is something many people want and desire but very few ever encounter, and for good reason as we will soon see.

You see David didn’t do what He did to become King or hope someone would notice what he was doing. He wasn’t playing his harp to impress the tabernacle’s band-director, David wasn’t at the hunting lodge showing off the bear and lion pelts and David wasn’t in the gate of city advertising himself as the next great leader in the tribe of Judah. David was just living his life for God and in relationship with Him, it wasn’t about impressing other people, but it was about drawing closer to God out in the field where no one saw him.

David didn’t do what He did to become King or hope someone would notice what he was doing.

I fear that today we often try to earn God’s commission through our works and actions and miss the point entirely. We do volunteer work, attend bible studies and do a host of other things to try and impress the right people and hope that they notice enough that they play the role of Samuel in our own lives. It’s about impressing everyone else other than God, because we convince ourselves that if the people are happy and impressed that God must be as well. Especially when we use the results of whatever we are doing to justify it as helping to build the kingdom.

Using Work As Currency

I find it hard to believe that David would have developed his relationship with God because he was hoping to convert those hours, songs and prayers into some sort of currency or rewards points which he could exchange for a blessing or commission. I don’t think for a second that David ever expected anything like this to happen to him and that is why God was able to choose him and say that he had a heart like his own.

It’s because David wasn’t working towards receiving a calling, rather he was just loving and worshiping God simply to love and worship God. So much of what came later in David’s life is rooted and grounded in those early years alone with the sheep, when no one was looking. It’s becoming more and more common today that we base everything we do in relationship with God and what we do in and around the church around what the “net benefit will be for ourselves.”

I’m not immune to this either I was led into this trap as well where I volunteered and oversaw ministries not only because of the impact it could have on people but I saw them as stepping stones to something better than what was in front of me. When you have a heart that is corrupted (or at the very least flavored) by this lie eventually we learn how to do life, ministry and relationship without God being involved. That’s because we are serving the system instead and prayer, worship and devotion are just seen as necessities that need to be done to keep the machine running.

We have it all backwards and the life of David confronts us with that truth.

God Is Looking For Those Who Love Him More Than His Benefits

We don’t serve God to become superstars, or to get popular among people, or even to get a promotion at work/ministry. The end result or our life and actions isn’t to reap the rewards our benefits (be it financially or in any other arena) for ourselves, but it’s in becoming closer to God. Then and only then do we progress and succeed because that kind of promotion in life comes out of the overflow of our relationship with God, not the other way around.

My prayer life is not about advancing my ministry or career, my ministry or career is advanced because I regularly spend time with God.

My prayer life is not about advancing my ministry or career, rather those things are advanced because I regularly spend time with God. I think we have everything backwards. It is like we see ministry, or whatever our calling is as being like a boat on the water, pushing forward and leaving waves and ripples behind. We them assume that those waves and ripples represent our relationship with God. However, the opposite is true our relationship with God is that boat, while our life and calling is represented by those ripples. Everything else is supposed to come afterwards and like ripples and waves they remain as the evidence to other people that we were there while God was moving across the water.

Our attention must be placed solely on what is happening inside that boat which is our relationship with God. We pray, we study we communicate with God and we set our face towards His then as that happens our boat continues to push forward faster and faster leaving behind a greater wake behind us.

That is how ministry works, that is how we live out our callings (no matter which arena of life your day is spent in) and that is how we change this world. Not buy serving some ideal or mission that we think will please God and change the world but by loving and serving God. This is the lesson from David he worshipped in the wilderness not because He as trying out for Israel’s Got Talent but because he loved God. Doesn’t the phrase about David having a heart (1 Samuel 13:13-14, Acts 13:22) after God’s make so much more sense now?

We see this lifestyle of David’s demonstrated in his psalms:

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (NKJV)

Psalms 18:1-2 “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (NKJV)

Psalm 25:12-15 12 Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. 14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. 15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. (NKJV)

Psalm 63:3 “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” (NKJV)

These aren’t the words of someone putting on a show for God or people, but they are the declarations of a person who knows God and is seeking Him out. That kind of knowledge and wisdom only comes out of relationship, true relationship with God. Not because you deserve it, or your think it will benefit you in the long run or because God’s owes it to you as payment for previous services rendered.

David in these verses is talking about trust, love and reverence towards God, they are the foundation stones to a real relationship with God. As opposed to the false foundation stones of obligation, duty and tradition which lead us not into a relationship with God but into a business arrangement where we exchange service for blessings. This is another example of why God could trust David to no just be a king but also a person declared to have a heart like His own (1 Kings 9:4, Acts 13:22).

Having a heart after God’s also means being obedient to His words (Acts 13:22) and that is one of the missing links in all of this. How is it any different than what Jesus said in John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” David was faithful to the covenant between God and Israel and used those words to ensure that his heart was following after not just the idea of God but the standards he commanded through Moses.

What’s The Great Key?

What is “The Key To Receiving A Promise From God” the key is relationship, and it is relationship that is not self-serving but is based out of a desire to be with God just for the sake of being with God. Is it any different in the natural, do you have friendships or even a spouse that you only spend time with just to get something tangible out of it? Did you marry that person to impress their parents enough to hire you (this applies to business and at times even more so in the church!), or do you use friendships to advance your career (even if you’re not even qualified for that promotion)? We take these ideas and try and use them against God but He can see through our façade and that is why we never seem to get what we want out of a relationship with Him.

We could also picture our relationship as a great key and upon that key of are ridges of faithfulness, obedience, hope and love which are used to unlock our purpose in life. Now we begin to understand the heart of David and why he was chosen by God to become king. Simply because David as a boy was not trying to become a king but was rather focused on pleasing and following after God. As David loved and followed God he found himself in the place where God elevated him to the place of being a king. We need to keep the order correct, serving and loving God results in destiny being unlocked, and we do not chase after our destiny in the hopes that it will lead us to serve and love God.

Hebrews 11:6 “… for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (NKJV)

Even with me personally my biggest “advancements” in ministry didn’t come because I was advertising myself or trying to outwork or out maneuver others around me. Rather those opportunities came because someone else in prayer heard God say to give me an opportunity, or to help them out in what they were doing. While on the other hand whenever I have tried to “play the game” so to speak it never resulted in anything beneficial and usually brought me to places of burden, frustration and hopelessness.

I can’t base my prayer and devotion time around trying to impress God or other people. Those times are for me and God and what I’ve found is from those times of relationship is that ideas, books, concepts, and articles just naturally flow out of those times. To a much higher degree than when I “set aside time to get a word to talk about.”

Ministry is supposed to be an overflow of your relationship with God. Your relationship with God is not supposed to be a by-product of your ministry.

Ministry is supposed to be an overflow of your relationship with God, and your relationship with God is not supposed to be a by-product of your ministry. I am not just talking about full-time ministry here I am talking about whatever place or opportunity God has placed you in to either spread the gospel or to strengthen/support existing believers. This also applies to every arena outside of the church as well along with your job/career, everything you do should be an extension of your relationship with God and God is looking to use you in a variety of different ways beyond just preaching about the great commission.

David’s heart made him a king in God’s eyes and we must never forget that being a king didn’t make David’s heart like God’s. This is the beginning, David’s life, devotion and relationship with God paved the way for everything that happened in his life afterwards. It propelled him into a life of twists and turns and when David backed away from that relationship or he silenced his heart that is when trouble arose in his life. It is that heart of devotion, worship and closeness to God that set him apart and when he drifted away from that is when things went wrong.

Now David has gone from a live of sheltered devotion to receiving a grand promise from God and next week we will learn how David started to live a life that would cultivate the promise into a reality.

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

Creative Commons LicenseThe Key To Receiving A Promise From God Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.