By: Richard Gazowsky
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When an enemy is in a conflict involving multiple engagements in battle, he realizes that one of the most debilitating weapons that can be used against an opponent is the weapon of distracting from a vital objective at a critical moment. Each one of us have personal emotional buttons, that if pushed at just the right moment, can totally destabilize our ability to act righteously, and bring us into a state of defeat just moments from our victory.
In the Bible there are many clear examples of this tactic being used against the people of God, in ways that caused gross encroachments upon their victories ~ if not total defeat. For example, the children of Israel had just won two incredible battles in Jericho and Ai. The victories had given them an incredible sense of faith. But in their position of relishing their easy wins, they afterwards experienced a worse defeat than they could’ve imagined; one that left them with hundreds of years of pain, anguish and trouble.
The Gibeonites lived only a short distance away and knew that they were going to be in Israel’s future conquest. So, they put on old clothes, worn-out shoes, carried with them stale crusty bread, and trudged into Israel’s camp. They lied and said they had traveled from their home a great distance away to make peace with Israel. They hurriedly asked Israel to sign a peace treaty with them and make a lasting covenant of peace. But the Scripture says that on this matter Joshua and the elders of Israel did not ask the Lord.
In other places the Bible calls this type of action the sin of presumption, for Israel presumed that what the Gibeonites were saying to them was true, and never asked God for His opinion. Eventually Israel gave away a huge swath of land, that was intended by God to be theirs and their children’s future. Not only that, the Gibeonites ended up being a thorn in Israel’s side ~ one that wasn’t completely removed until the time of David.
What satan wants more than anything, is for you and I to be hung up in distractions instead of focusing on the real objective of what God sent us to do. The reason the Lord uses prophecy is to warn us what the enemy is planning to do so we won’t let anything deter us. The Lord doesn’t want us to spend all our time on the distractions and never get to our true objectives. I recently had a number of wonderful words from God, accurately spoken to me about my future. But immediately distractions started happening all around me ~ that were more prevalent, more right at hand, and more urgent. Don’t ever let the urgency of the present keep you from the destiny of your future. Many times I’ve found myself having to completely shut my mind off and totally ignore distracting phone calls, letters, and emails ~ in order to concentrate on the objective that God spoke to me about weeks (and sometimes months) before.
Even in the face of illness and debilitating conditions, men of God throughout history have deemed it necessary to press ahead with the plan of God, despite their unfortunate circumstances. This is the line that separates the men from the boys. You must realize that God controls every single element around you, especially your personal medical history. It’s important to understand that sometimes you must radically ignore even your own health condition to complete the task that God has sent you on. Don’t think what I’m saying is anyway unique. Every person who has sought for true greatness has had to make this type of decision.
Many of you remember the young Olympic gymnastic champion who found she had fractured her ankle, yet decided to compete in her last vault anyway ~ a decision that might shatter her ankle and end her career. But then, in front of millions of viewers around the world, she jumped with that injured ankle, executed a perfect landing, stayed there for a few dramatic seconds (while she flinched in unbearable pain) and won the gold medal! Her ankle would end up healing in about six months, but her reputation would go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic sacrifices ever.
We need to understand what is really at stake. Obedience to God’s objective will yield unfathomable riches in God, even if one is facing the worst-case scenario. It’s not only worth the sacrifice, but it’s the degree of sacrifice that actually determines the level of God’s response to your obedience. Some Christians are distracted by mere inconveniences. But to those who seek higher goals, the distractions become even more severe. It’s those of you who climb into the rarified air of incalculable distractions, while maintaining the most childlike obedience, who are going to receive the crown of true glory in God’s righteousness.
And yet, the act of obedience may be a simply keeping the instructions God gave you at the beginning, or being honest about your own weaknesses and failures. It might even be just showing up somewhere after you were initially rejected. Whatever it is, the Father in heaven is searching the thoughts and intents of your heart, looking for every way possible to move you to that prosperous level you will enjoy for the next forty years.
Yes, it’s truly exciting to know how important the next three years of decisions can be to the rest of our lives!
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”