Getting Out of the Wilderness

 

A couple of years ago I was complaining in my heart about the obstacles that we had encountered in several areas of our ministry that were slowing down our progress.  As I was sitting in my chair thinking about what I could do to get these things moving faster, the phone rang.  It was my prophetic friend, Bob Jones, and he started talking as if he had been listening to my thoughts.

Bob began with, “You’re sitting there impatient, wondering what you can do to get things going, but the Lord is the One who slowed you down.”  He went on to encourage me that we are on time, and we will accomplish what He has called us to do.  He also said that we still did not have the complete plan, or God’s timing on everything, so we needed to keep seeking Him.

Almost ten years ago Bob had given me a word that we were to assemble a certain number of people in Charlotte.  When these were assembled, the Lord would add a zero to our number, quickly multiplying our number by ten.  He also said that the key word here was “assembled,” which means much more than just gathering people for meetings.  It means to be put together, like one would assemble a puzzle.

Presently we have several times the number of people meeting in Charlotte than the original number we were given, but probably less than half of that number even know their place in the body, and even less than that have actually begun to function in their place.  Though progress is being made, we still do not have the required number “assembled.”

I was also told that another reason why the Lord had slowed us down was because there was grumbling and complaining in the camp.  What shocked me was that I was one of the guilty ones, as I was actually complaining in my heart when Bob called.  We are told in the Book of Hebrews that grumbling and complaining was a primary reason why the first generation of Israel was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.  Complaining will keep us from the promises of God.  This is also one of the reasons why many have not yet been released into their callings.

In whatever we are complaining about, we are really complaining about the Lord.  If we complain about the leadership over us at our jobs, we are complaining about the Lord’s leadership in our lives, because He obviously put them there (see Romans 13).  If we are complaining about our spouse, parents, children, or any other circumstances, we are complaining about the way that the Lord is ordering our lives.  It takes faith to please God, and to move Him, but complaining is the opposite of faith.  Complaining does not start things moving — it stops them.  Complaining can be one of the most powerful enemies keeping us from walking in His purpose for our lives.

I was also told that during this time of being put in the Lord’s holding pattern, we were going to be tried by depression.  For someone like me to wait is one of the most depressing things there is.  I also know that many in our congregation have already spent years waiting on God, and just the mention of having to wait longer will be understandably difficult.  Even so, if we give into depression or doubt it will cause us to stay in the wilderness even longer.  Depression is sin because whatever is not of faith is sin, and depression does not embrace faith.  It takes faith to inherit the promises of God.

There are some chemical and biological problems that can cause depression, but most of the depression that we suffer has a spiritual root.  A victory over every spiritual stronghold was gained for us at the cross.  We must not be satisfied with anything less than a complete victory over depression, and determine that we are going to view every situation with faith, not doubt.  If we are getting tired of the wilderness it is time to review the promises of God, and encourage ourselves in His faithfulness.

Depression basically comes from seeing our situation from the dark side.  This happens whenever we stop looking through the eyes of faith.  It was depression that caused ten of the twelve spies who were sent to look over the Promised Land to come back with an “evil report” (see Numbers 13:32 KJV).  It is interesting that their report of the land was true, and was basically the same report given by the two faithful spies, Joshua and Caleb.  However, the ten saw the obstacles as being too great for them to overcome, while Joshua and Caleb believed they could be overcome since God was on their side.  In both cases it was not what they saw that differed, but how they saw it.

Like the first generation of Israel to come out of Egypt, many Christians never walk in the promises of God to which they are called because they fall into grumbling and complaining.  Sadly, many succumb to this just before they are about to be released from the wilderness. Having been there so long, the temptation to doubt was the greatest then.  The fastest way out of the wilderness is to be thankful, even for the wilderness.  We enter the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise.  Let’s determine that we are going to abide in Him in every area of our lives, and we can do that by being thankful for everything.

I was told by the word that came through Bob that our unbelief and complaining had put us in a holding pattern for one year.  This was a couple of years ago, and now it seems that everything is moving at a pace that is hard to keep up with.  It is now hard for me to not long for the time we were in the holding pattern!  The Apostle Paul said that he learned the secret of being content regardless of whether he was abased or abounding.  We must do the same.  Let’s determine to grow in faith, not doubt.  The demonstration of faith is faithfulness.  Let’s war against any tendency to complain about anyone or anything, but rather in all things give thanks.

Let’s enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, and stay there.

 

~ Pastor Rick Joyner


Rick JoynerPastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.

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