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How to Fulfil Your Divine Destiny
by Segun Olumide
11/04/2014 / Christian Living
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in this book are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Key to other scriptures used by permission
AMP - The Amplified Bible
NIV New International Version
NCV - New Century Version
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1. UNDERSTANDING FULFILMENT
CHAPTER 2. KNOW YOUR DESTINY
CHAPTER 3. GET ADEQUATELY PREPARED FOR YOUR DESTINY
CHAPTER 4. GET YOUR DESTINY ACTIVATED
CHAPTER 5. BE RELEASED TO EXECUTE YOUR GOD-GIVEN DESTINY WITH ALL DILIGENCE
CHAPTER 6. MAGNIFY YOUR DESTINY
CHAPTER 7. ENDURE HARDSHIP BECAUSE THE GREATER YOUR DESTINY THE GREATER YOUR HARDSHIP
CHAPTER 8. MAKE SURE YOU FULFIL YOUR DESTINY BEFORE YOU FULFIL YOUR DAYS ON EARTH
Paul warned his son, Timothy, "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, MAKE FULL PROOF OF THY MINISTRY" (2 Tim. 4:5).
The expression 'to make full proof of' according to Dr. W.E. Vine Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, means 'to carry out fully (in evidence), i.e. completely assure (or convince), entirely accomplish.' It continued, 'This word (proof) mean "to bring in full measure, to fulfill." '
In essence, Paul was saying, "entirely accomplish your ministry" or "fulfil your ministry."
The Gideons Bible put 2 Tim. 4:5b as, " Do the work of an evangelist, FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY."
Paul did not only urge Timo to fulfill his ministry, he also sent a similar message to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that THOU FULFIL IT" (Col. 14:17).
More than that, in his valedictory meeting with the Ephesian elders, he said, "THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT I COMPLETE MY MISSION, THE WORK THAT THE LORD JESUS GAVE ME" (Acts 20:24, NCV).
Even Jesus said, "My meat (my satisfaction) is to do the will of him that sent me, and to FINISH HIS WORK" (John 4:34).
THE CRY FOR FULFILMENT
There is a yearning for fulfillment in the heart of every believer. Some satisfy it by obeying God daily. Others suppress it by disobeying God from time to time. As we are longing for fulfillment, God also is longing for it in us.
Have you ever wondered why, at times, in spite of all what one is doing for the sake of God's Kingdom, one's inner most being is restless and unsatisfied? This may be a warning signal that you are not fulfilling your ministry or divine assignment on earth. It's like you are taking your bath with your clothes on or having your hair cut with your hat on! No inner joy and peace,
Yes, there could be artificial happiness and outward calmness but the human spirit continues to groan and cry because of lack of fulfillment.
Some time ago, I had a striking dream in which I was weeping or crying that I was not fulfilling my ministry or divine purpose. I woke up unhappy. Before long, I had to adjust my life and ministry to please God, and not man.
I know that part of my fulfillment is to help others fulfil their ministries or missions!
Solomon understood the need for fulfillment when he wrote, "A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink AND FIND SATISFACTION (FULFILMENT) IN HIS WORK. This too, I see, is from the HAND OF GOD, for without him, who can eat or FIND ENJOYMENT (INNER JOY OF SATISFACTION OR FULFILLMENT)?" (Eccl 2:2425, NIV).
(Please read Ro 14:17, Is 55:10-12).
TWO SIDES OF FULFILMENT
There are two sides to fulfillment, namely: divine side and human side. Without God, you can't fulfill your ministry. Eccl 2:24-25 above says that fulfillment comes from God's hand. No wonder the psalmist wrote, "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also is him: and HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain" (Ps 37:5, KJV, Ps 127:1a, NIV).
Also, John said, "A man can receive nothing (including inner satisfaction or fulfillment) except it be given him from heaven "(John 3:7).
On the human side, God intends to bring his purpose for your ministry to pass through you since you are a co-worker or co-laborer with him (1 Cor 3:9). We can't play God's part and he will not play our role.
Jesus summarized the two sides like this, "I am the vine (the stem that supports and holds the branches together); you are the branches (that produce the fruits). If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing (John15:5, NIV).
WHAT FULFILMENT IS NOT
It is to be greatly regretted that this generation of believers have some wrong definitions of fulfillment. Some of them are discussed here.
i. FULFILLMENT IS NOT SUPPOSEDLY 'FINISHING' YOUR DIVINE COURSE ACCORDING TO HUMAN PATTERN
Heb 8:5 (NIV) says, "They serve at a sanctuary that is copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle "See to it that you make everything according to the PATTERN shown you on the mountain."
Some believers are trying to fulfill their destiny or ministry according to human pattern (idea, opinion, design or plan). They are too busy to receive God's pattern for their ministries as Moses did.
It took Moses several days of waiting upon God in fasting and prayer to receive God's pattern. If you can't pay the price for it, then forget it (Exo. 24:18, Exo. 25:8, 40).
There is no way you can fulfill your God-given ministry if you don't follow God's pattern.
Of course, you may achieve great feats in God's name without following His pattern for your life and ministry, but there will be no fulfillment!
ii. IT IS NOT ACHIEVEMENT
God testified of David, "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which SHALL FULFILL ALL MY WILL" (Acts 13:22b).
Some of us think fulfillment is the same as achievement. I used to believe that until God opened my eyes. You can have achievements without fulfillment, but you can't have fulfillment without achievements (little or great).
God found a man after his own heart in David to fulfil all his will. Men and women after God's heart pursue his will to fulfill it, but those after their own selfish hearts strive for mere achievements born out of carnal ambition - to write the highest number of books, to have one of the biggest church auditoria, to become the most famous pastor or prophet in town, to become the richest preacher around, to be the minister with the greatest title, and so on.
Can the Lord say about you, "I have found a man or woman after my own heart, who will fulfil all (not some, but all) my will or desire"?
Iii. IT IS NOT LIVING A LIFE OF SACRIFICE IN DISOBEDIENCE
Samuel told Saul "Hath the LORD a great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" (1 Sam. 15:22-23).
Some folks are sacrificing their time, money, energy, talents, gifts and so on for God's work yet they know no fulfillment at all because they are living in disobedience.
Saul had a similar problem. He wanted to impress God with sacrifices but God wanted someone who would obey him and fulfill their divine mission because obedience is better than sacrifice, and fulfillment is not living a life of sacrifice in disobedience.
Saul learnt it in a hard way that with God, partial obedience equals disobedience. You see, 90 per cent obedience is still considered as disobedience before God.
That's why the Scripture says, "If you FULLY OBEY the Lord your God and carefully follow ALL HIS COMMANDS.. ALL these blessings will come upon you"(Deut 28:1-2, NIV).
iv. IT IS NOT WEALTH
Jesus said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possession" (Luke 12:15).
After he had told them a parable about the destruction of the rich fool, he concluded, "This is how it will be with anyone who STORES UP THINGS FOR HIMSELF but is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21, NIV).
We can be tempted to think that the wealthiest minister is the most fulfilled minister because financial and material prosperity has been wrongly equated to fulfillment.
God's gives you wealth to help you fulfill your destiny. But if care is not taken, it will hinder you from fulfilling it.
Your life's success and ministerial fulfillment are not measured or determined by your wealth as implied by Jesus (Luke 12:15).
How much did Paul have for himself when he died? Apostle Ayo Babalola had 23 pounds when he died. I hope to have less than that for myself but much more for others when I die (Luk 12:21).
God is not against a preacher or believer acquiring wealth but he is against his acquiring it for himself.
The Scripture warned that the leader of the people or king "SHALL NOT MULTIPLY HORSES TO HIMSELF NEITHER SHALL HE GREATLY MULTIPLY TO HIMSELF SILVER AND GOLD" (DEUT 17:16-17). Please read Mat 6:19-20, Lk 18:18-30, Rev 3:17-18.
v. IT IS NEITHER FAME NOR POPULARITY
Early in the morning, Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has SET UP A MONUMENT IN HIS OWN HONOUR" (1 Sam. 15:12, NIV).
A monument, according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, is 'a building or other large structure that is built to remind people of an important event or famous person.'
To be famous is to be well-known while to be popular is to be well-liked. Surprisingly, one can have both fame and popularity without fulfillment. Saul sought honour, fame or popularity for himself but missed fulfillment.
Some ministers today, in the course of seeking honour from men for themselves have exchanged fulfilment for monument! How sad!
If I become the most travelled, the most sought-after or busiest minister preaching to more people than anyone alive, touring all the continents of the world without fulfilling my ministry, then I am a failure before God!
vi. IT IS NOT ATTAINING TO THE HIGHEST POSITION OF AUTHORITY IN A HIERARCHY
While speaking with Saul, Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel (1 Sam. 15:17, NIV).
Saul became a leader of leaders but he never fulfilled his divine mission. So, you may become the head of a local church, ministry, network of fellowships, of churches or of ministries but that does not translate into fulfilment.
Someone may say, "If only I could just be a 'Christian' leader, I would be fulfilled." Remember that Judas was an apostolic leader occupying a rare seat of authority and honour, but he did not fulfil his apostolic ministry. Yes, he fulfilled only his diabolic ministry.
Dear minister, attaining to the highest position of authority does not mean you have automatically fulfilled your ministry.
Vii. IT IS NOT WHAT PEOPLE THINK AND SAY ABOUT YOU
After God had rejected Saul as king finally, he said to Samuel,
"I have sinned. I violated the LORD'S command and your instructions. I WAS AFRAID OF THE PEOPLE AND SO I GAVE IN TO THEMI have sinned. But please HONOUR ME BEFORE THE ELDERS OF MY PEOPLE AND BEFORE ISRAEL" (1 Sam. 15:24, 30, NIV).
What people think and say about us is not what determines whether we are fulfilling our ministries or not. Rather, in some cases, if not many, it is what prevents one from fulfilling one's ministry.
Saul was a good example. He had a weakness for people's opinion of himself. He thought that being in the good book of the people and being honoured before the people and by the people would automatically put his name in 'God's book of honour' for those who fulfilled their ministry or assignment on earth.
Unfortunately, he found out late that he was damn wrong. Friend, do you want your name in the good book of the people or in 'God's book of honour' for those who fulfill their ministries or missions?
Jesus said, "I receive not honour from menHow can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" (John 5:41,44).
KNOW YOUR DESTINY
Dear friend, to fulfil your destiny or ministry, then follow these vital steps:
1. KNOW YOUR DESTINY
God said, "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, and in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.
THEREFORE MY PEOPLE ARE GONE INTO CAPTIVITY, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst" (Isaiah 5:11-13).
Every saint and every minister must give it what it takes to know their ministry beyond any shadow of doubt.
Lack of this knowledge will only bring one into bondage of captivity. It's unfortunate that some saints are imprisoned spiritually in some denominational cages because they don't know their ministry, and they don't even know that they don't know. That is a miserable condition!
For a number of years after I got born again, I just knew I had a call to the five-fold ministry but I didn't know my specific primary ministry. I knew I had the teaching ministry as my secondary work.
In 2004, after about 11 years of waiting, I began to have a clue. In fact, it was a young prophet the Lord first used to point me in the direction of my primary ministry. I will tell more about it in volume 2 of this series.
We must be careful with prophecies because some can confuse rather than convince one. I wasn't scouting for it when the Lord sent the prophetic minister to me!
Now, God invites us, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV).
My advice is that if you are not yet sure of your specific destiny or ministry, then create time to seek the Lord, probably with fasting; keep calling upon him till he answers you and tells you great and unsearchable things you neither know nor can find (search) out on your own! You need to pray with the spirit and with the understanding (pray in unknown and known languages or tongues).
The Scripture says, "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men but God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries" (1 Cor 14:2).
So praying in an unknown tongue is praying out mysteries or divine secrets - God's hidden plan and purpose for you.
Dr. W.E. Vine explained the Greek word translated mystery as 'that whichcan be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit'(see 1 Cor. 2:12).
YOU CAN'T FULFILL WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW
Actually, every believer has a ministry. In a sense, your destiny is your ministry.
Lives and ministries are frustrated and destroyed sometimes because God's people don't know their calling (Hosea 4:6). It's foolishness to try to fulfill a destiny or ministry you don't know.
It's sad to realize that one can be in ministry for 10, 15, 20 or even more years without actually beginning one's true ministry.
I remember the story of Pa. S.G. Elton, whom the Lord sent to Ilesa, Nigeria from England. He was a young man when God instructed him to leave his native land for a foreign one. So he had a dog which he named after Ilesa, the town he was sent to.
In a certain meeting in the late 1980's, he said, "The Lord told me that the first 25 years I spent in Nigeria (after leaving England) was a waste because I did not do what he sent me here to do" (paraphrased).
So he repented and found out and did what God wanted him to do specifically. Eventually, God restored his wasted years and before he passed on to glory, he had influenced many great ministers like Archbishop Benson Idahosa, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, Pastor E.A. Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo, Rev. Emeka Nwankpa, and so on (see Joel 2:25-27).
He became an umbrella of evangelism in Nigeria (according to someone), a mentor of mentors and a missionary statesman.
DON'T RUN ANOTHER MAN'S RACE
Paul wrote, "Let us run with patience THE PARTICULAR RACE THAT GOD HAS SET BEFORE US" (Heb. 12:1, Living Bible).
So there is a particular race that God has set before you as an individual. The Oxford Senior Dictionary defines "particular" as "relating to one person or thing as distinct from others"
That means the particular race God has set before you makes you distinct or different from others.
You must find out your specific, distinct or particular divinely assigned race lest you should run another's race. Then run it with patience or perseverance!
GET ADEQUATELY PREPARED FOR YOUR DESTINY
The second vital step is this:
2. GET ADEQUATELY PREPARED FOR YOUR DESTINY
"Ephraim mixes with the nations; Ephraim is a flat cake not turned over"(Hosea 7: 8, NIV).
This verse above gives us the picture of a half- baked cake. Only one side is fully baked. The other side, which is not turned over, makes it half- raw and half- baked.
If such is eaten, it may cause more harm than good. It may appear to be a blessing at first, but in the end, it proves to be a problem, leaving no blessing behind.
Doesn't that describe some of God's ministers today? Haven't some inadequately trained or ill-prepared ministers wreaked havoc on God's work more than some unbelievers have done?
Knowing one's ministry without getting adequately trained for it is a sure key to failure. That was why Jesus spent close to 30 years to prepare himself for a ministry that lasted just three and a half years! (But it continues today through members of His Body - the Church).
You see, he spent about 90 per cent of his time preparing for a great ministry that took about 10 per cent of his life time.
The question today must change from how long your ministry has started or spanned to how well or thorough your preparation for ministry is.
In his marvelous book, 'The Assignment,' Mike Murdock wrote, "The average young minister wants to prepare three and a half years for thirty years of public ministry. But Jesus did the opposite."
Similarly, Moses spent two thirds of his life time preparing for a ministry that absorbed one third of his life time. Look at that: he used 80 years to prepare for 40 years of ministry.
I think many of us are in a hurry. We have become a microwave generation. We want almost everything in an instant as somebody said. Instant food, instant coffee, instant marriage, instant ministry, instant money, instant house, and so on.
Some folks could even prefer that the Lord calls them into the ministry in the morning, separates them into their ministry office in the afternoon so that they could fulfil that ministry in the evening of the same day!
And that's why some ministers and ministries can't stand the test of time. But thank God, our Lord does not train us in a hurry.
A famous prophet said some time ago that the only tree in the Bible that grew up (to maturity) in one day died in the same day (see Jonah 4).
HAVE YOU HEARD OF A MACADAMIA TREE OR CHINESE BAMBOO?
This tree produces nuts (or fruits) only after about 20 years of its existence or growth, and its harvest continues seasonally for the next 100 years or so!
What of Chinese bamboo? For the first 4 or 5 years after it has been planted, its roots keep on penetrating deeply into the soil, but with very little upward growth of the shoot beyond the ground level.
Then after a long while, when the roots are firmly established, it grows upwards and very tall within a very short time!
A writer figured it out that it takes God only a day or more to grow a mushroom (which has a very short life span) but it takes him several years to grow an oak tree (which has a very long life span). Are you a mushroom minister or oak minister?
Some years ago, I was planning to leave Nigeria for the USA to seek fortune. My fiance (now my wife) and I waited upon the Lord for seven days. We fasted five days out of those seven.
The word I received from the Lord during that period was, "Go and prepare for ministry." It was simple and clear. I didn't doubt it was God.
You see, I was to drop my carnal ambition of travelling abroad and, to go and prepare myself for ministry because thorough preparation guarantees thorough performance.
As many as are directed and controlled by God's Spirit are still the children of God (Romans 8.14). Thank God I obeyed, or else, perhaps my ministry would have been buried abroad!
The point I am driving at in this section is not just to prepare for ministry. No, not at all. Rather, it's to prepare adequately for it such that one is not lacking in one area or the other. That's God's will for each of us.
James captures it with these words, "Consider it pure joy, brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4, NIV).
The Living Bible puts this Scripture in an interesting way,
"Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems. For when you patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete."
So we don't have to squirm out of adversities without learning the lessons the Lord wants us to grasp. Build your ministry on the word of God, not on anointing, fasting, prayer, people, experience, prophecies, miracles, visions, voices, and so on, so that it can stand the test of time (1 Peter 1:23-25). Exalt His Word above all these needed things!
HOW ADEQUATELY PREPARED ARE YOU?
I believe the depth of our preparation determines the height of our effectiveness.
Billy Graham was reported to have said that if he were to live his life again, he would give two thirds of it to preparation for ministry and one third to executing his ministry.
Paul also knew the importance of adequate preparation. Writing about when he received his apostolic call, he pointed out, "When all this happened to me I didn't go at once and talk it over with anyone else; I didn't go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. No, I went away into the DESERTS OF ARABIA" (Gal. 1:16-17, Living Bible).
Some Bible scholars believe that the Lord trained Paul in the Deserts of Arabia. You see, every saint, especially five-fold minister who wants to go far with God must pass through God's school of training successfully, as some will not make it through it.
That school is the wilderness of training - the desert of preparation. It is quite important to enroll in this school (which is unavoidably compulsory for all).
If you are a successful candidate, you will keep on graduating from one class to another, moving higher from glory to glory, faith to faith throughout your lifetime on earth (place read Deut. 8:1-20).
Sadly, the unsuccessful candidates will be overthrown there (1 Cor. 10:1-5). Moses passed through it (Exo. 3:1). John the Baptist was a product of it (Mat. 3:1-5). Even Jesus did not boycott it.
In conclusion, the height of a building determines its depth. The foundation of a bungalow is usually not deep. That of a 3-storey building is a bit deeper while that of a 100-storey structure is extremely deep (requiring heavy equipment or machinery to lay).
So how high or far do you want to go in life and assignment?
I humbly say with Abraham Lincoln, "I will prepare myself; and when my time comes, then I will be ready."
GET YOUR DESTINY ACTIVATED
The third vital step is this:
3. GET YOUR DESTINY ACTIVATED
Your ministry can be activated in about two ways:
i. Through divine contact with some other ministry gifts or specifically gifted believers.
ii. Through fasting prayer
THROUGH DIVINE CONTACT WITH SOME OTHER MINISTRY GIFTS OR SPECIFICALLY GIFTED BELIEVERS
Paul wrote, "For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established" (Romans 1:11).
"Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him saying, 'Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance?'
"As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying.
"The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them: and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do for God is with you
"As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.
"When they arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying.
"When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, 'What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?'" (1 Samuel 10:1, 5b-7, 9-11, NIV).
Similarly, through his sovereign act, God took part of the Spirit on Moses and put IT on the 70 elders. As a result, they prophesied ceaselessly.
God chose to impart those elders through divine contact with Moses, a prophet (see Numbers 11:16-17, 24-30). Joshua also received the spirit of wisdom through Moses (Deut. 34:9).
The great apostles in Barnabas and Paul were never activated until God's Spirit commanded some ministry gifts (prophets and teachers) in Antioch to separate or release them into their calling which they have had for a number of years. Why didn't God do it otherwise?
Jesus himself could have appeared to them and separated or activated them into their apostolic offices without those prophets and teachers. But he chose not to (see Acts 13:1-4).
The prophet in Elisha was 'passive' or 'dormant,' as it were, until God imparted him through Elijah.
Jesus was activated into his ministry office as John the Baptist baptized him. John was great, Jesus was greater. But God who was the greatest imparted Jesus through a human vessel - John.
It wasn't John at work. It was far beyond him. He declined at first, however, once he realized it was God doing it through him, he yielded (see Matthew 3:13-17).
As a matter of caution, we needn't run from place to place seeking someone to activate our ministry because unless God builds the house the labourers are just wasting their efforts (Ps 127:1).
In the same way, unless God activates a man's ministry, the activating ministers are just labouring in vain.
I don't care how heavily anointed they are! They may lay hands on you until all the hair on your head falls off without your receiving any spiritual impartation (Ps 37:5).
If God wants you ministered to this way, he will work it out just ensure that he leads you in all your ways because as many as are led by God's Spirit are his sons (Romans 8:14).
THROUGH FASTING PRAYER
In a way, Jesus activated his ministry through fasting prayer as well. He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before he started ministering to the people (Mat 4:1-2,17, 23-25).
Even Paul and Barnabas fasted and ministered to the Lord before they began their first missionary journey. The Lord used that season of fasting prayer to activate their ministry (Acts 13:1-30).
The 12 apostles got their ministry activated through prayer and probably fasting. Jesus had already said that they would fast when he would have been taken away from them.
Actually, when Jesus was asked why John's disciples and the Pharisees' disciples often fasted and prayed, but his own went on eating and drinking, he answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; IN THOSE DAYS THEY WILL FAST" (Luke 5:34-35, NIV).
You see, Jesus didn't say, "In those days, they may fast." That would have indicated probability. Rather, he said, "IN THOSE DAY THEY WILL FAST." The word 'will' here speaks of certainty, what is definite or sure to happen.
After the Lord had ascended, the Scripture says, "They all joined together constantly in prayer " (Acts 1:14). They probably fasted often in those days to fulfill the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 5:35 above.
Why do you think they were sitting down when the Holy Spirit fell upon them on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4)? Maybe they were exhausted or tired due to an ongoing fast. We don't know. But it is certain that the Lord expected them to fast often and pray always, especially at a time like that! Whichever way, those prayers helped to activate their ministry.
Similarly, Joseph Ayo Babalola, the founder of Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C), was separated unto the gospel in 1928 by a voice from heaven. Then the voice instructed him to begin a three day fast. But on the third day of the fast, he was ordered to continue till the seventh day.
History has it that he did not start preaching immediately, but was seeking God in the mountains and hills in fasting prayer day and night. I believe that activated his ministry.
Likewise, David Oyedepo was sent by the Lord through an 18- hour long vision to go and deliver mankind from oppression by preaching the word of faith. That was in 1981.
Then for the next 26 months (over 2 years), he gave himself to fasting prayer alongside some other brethren. No doubt, that helped to activate his ministry, which eventually kicked off in 1983.
In like manner, Tunde Bakare was separated unto the gospel in 1988. He started the Latter Rain Assembly in 1989. But he spent 6 months in fasting prayer seeking God's face. That gave activation to his ministry.
You see, personally, I have fasted for weeks and I know this activation to an extent. But we must be led by the Spirit in fasting prayer because as many as are led by the Spirit are the sons of God.
He led Jesus to do it for 40 days and 40 nights, but I don't think he led Peter or Paul that way (see Ro 8:14, Luke 4:1-2).
LET YOUR PRAYER BE WITH THE SPIRIT AND THE MIND
Paul wrote, "For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding]
For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive [it bears no fruit and helps nobody].
Then what am I to do? I will pray with my spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] , but I will also pray [intelligently] with my mind and understanding " [Cor 14:2, 14-15, AMP].
BE RELEASED TO EXECUTE YOUR GOD-GIVEN DESTINY WITH ALL DILIGENCE
The fourth step is:
4. BE RELEASED TO EXECUTE YOUR GOD-GIVEN DESTINY WITH ALL DILIGENCE.
God sent a strong prophetic message to King Pharaoh who was holding God's people in bondage, "Let my people go that they may serve me" (see Exo 7:16).
Sad to say, the spirit of Pharaoh has invaded the church world and has successfully kept hundreds of thousands, if not millions of believers in houses of bondage.
The Lord wants us to prepare his people and release them for the work of the ministry because as long as they are caged in Pentecostal or Charismatic prisons, they will never fulfill their ministry.
SHOULD YOU SUBMIT YOURSELF OR SURRENDER YOUR DESTINY TO CHURCH LEADERSHIP?
Hebrews 13:17 reads, "Obey your leaders and SUBMIT TO THEIR AUTHORITY. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of advantage to you" (NIV).
A person who has not learnt to submit to authority cannot be trusted with God's authority. He will always abuse and misuse it, and in the end, he will destroy himself.
The degree to which we submit to authority affects the extent to which people or even demons will submit to our God-given authority. So if you will fulfill your ministry, learn to submit yourself to church leader's authority (2 Cor 10:3-6, James 4:7).
Paul submitted to the leadership of the church in Antioch (see Acts 11:25-26, 29-30; Acts 13:1-3, Acts 15:2).
Paul, however, never surrendered his destiny to anybody. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines 'surrender' as 'to give up something that is important or necessary, often because you feel forced to; to allow yourself to be controlled or influenced by something.'
You are not to drop your ministry in the lap of any pastor, throw up your hands in hopeless surrender, and adjust yourself to charismatic prison while your destiny wastes away!
That was why Paul wrote, "But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not CONSULT ANY MAN But let every man prove his own work (or ministry), and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
For every man shall bear (carry) his own burden (of work, service or task) (Gal 1:16 NIV; Gal 6:4-5).
That Paul did not consult any man after he had received his apostolic call in the Scripture above means he did not surrender his ministry to any man to determine the course of his life.
He further explained that every man should prove his own work of ministry. No one should do that for you. Also he wrote that every man shall bear his own burden. The Greek word translated 'burden' here implies service or task. Don't neglect your gifts, talents and ministry (1 Tim 4:14, Matt 25:24-30).
You see, the Lord wants us to cast our burdens of cares, worries, concerns or anxieties upon Him, but He wants each of us to shoulder our divinely assigned burdens of ministry, work, service or task (1Peter 5:7,Ps 55:22,Matt 11:28-30).
So, we are to cast our worries upon the Lord, but we are to cast our responsibilities neither upon the Lord nor upon any human being.
We are to bear our responsibilities ourselves, though, there is room for delegating part of them to capable people. Anyone who does God's work negligently shall not be blessed but cursed (Jer 48:10).
If you surrender or abandon your destiny to leaders they will mislead and confuse you. That was why God said through Isaiah, "Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with himO my people, your leaders mislead you and confuse the course of your paths (Is 3:11a, 12bRSV).
He also said through Jeremiah, "Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness" (Jer 12:10). God's vineyard represents His people who have been destroyed or wasted by pastors (see Is 5:7).
LET MY PEOPLE GO
You must be released from all bondage. The cry from heaven has been: "Let my people go." Simply put, it is, 'Release my people to go from bondage to purpose.'
Now put your hand on your chest and say, "I command you spirit of bondage to loose your grips and holds upon my life and ministry in Jesus' name for it is written; For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear" (Ro. 8:15a).
"I break free and liberate my ministry from denominational prison where my ministry is being manipulated, oppressed, controlled, subdued or buried through Charismatic witchcraft or Pentecostal terrorism in Jesus' name.
"According to Galatians 5:1, 'I stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made me free, and I am not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.' Thank you Lord for liberating me in Jesus' name."
Friend, you don't necessarily need to leave the denomination you are working with or where you are serving God. But sometimes, you may have to escape for your life as quickly as possible only as the Lord leads you (see Rom. 8:14, Pro. 3:5-6).
EXECUTE YOUR DESTINY WITH ALL DILIGENCE
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure" (2 Pet. 1:10a).
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, "Someone who is diligent works hard and is careful and thorough."
In other words, diligence is a call to work hard and give careful attention to details.
Some ministers are too lazy, careless and superficial (shallow) to fulfill their ministry. Some others are too busy to study the word (to feed their own spirits and prepare spiritual food for others), to pray, to administer milk to the babes and meat to the adults, and so on.
Paul worked harder than all the other apostles (1 Cor. 15:10b; 2 Cor. 11:23).
Hebrews 6:11-12 (NIV) reads, "We want each of you to show this same DILIGENCE to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO BECOME LAZY, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
NEITHER CONSULT ANYONE FOR HUMAN APPROVAL NOR TRY TO PLEASE MEN
Paul wrote, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of ChristWe do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselvesBut, Let him who boasts boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends" (Gal. 1:10; 2 Cor. 10:12a, 17-18, NIV).
MAGNIFY YOUR DESTINY
The fifth step is:
5. MAGNIFY YOUR DESTINY
Paul wrote, "For I speak to you Gentiles, in as much as I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, I MAGNIFY MINE OFFICE" (Romans 11:13).
The NIV says, "I am talking to you Gentiles, Inasmuch as I AM THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES, I MAKE MUCH OF MY MINISTRY."
I want you to see that after Paul had identified himself as an apostle of the Gentiles, he added, "I magnify my office." How highly do you magnify your ministry? The NIV says, "I make much of my ministry." Do you make much or little of your ministry?
The Greek word translated 'magnify' here means 'to render or esteem glorious.' So Paul was saying, "I render my office glorious," or "I esteem my office glorious." Do you esteem your ministry at all?
To esteem means to think highly of, to respect, to honour, to value or to regard. To fulfill your ministry you have to think highly of it; you have to respect it; you have to honour it; you have to value it; you have to regard it.
It is disgraceful that some ministers think lowly of their ministry. By so doing, they dishonour their God-given honour. Do you know that it is a great honour to be a minister of God? Do you know that every minister has an honour from God?
Paul wrote, "And no man taketh this HONOUR unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron" (Hebrews 5:4).
The word 'honour' here literally means 'a value; esteem (especially of the highest degree) or the dignity itself,' in Greek.
You see, when God puts a call upon a man, he places a value, esteem of the highest degree, dignity on him. Every minister is called to a baptism of honour.
Sometimes, people dishonour their ministry the way they beg for money on the pulpit and also off the pulpit. They raise money unbiblically as if the God who called them (if he truly called them) can't supply their needs ( Phil. 4:19).
Some even collect honorarium without honour as somebody put it.
Don't discredit your destiny by your thoughts, words, looks and deeds. Do you know what it means to represent the King of kings and Lord of lords? People should honour you similar to the way they honour the one who sent you. That doesn't mean they should worship you.
Even Satan and his fallen angels should honour you and your words the way they would honour Jesus and his words. What a great honour to be a servant of God!
In essence, you must honour your destiny before you can fulfill it. Also you need to be careful of people (even church members, fellow ministers, relatives, and so on) who don't honour your destiny (Mark 6:1-6).
When a person is no longer magnifying his or her destiny, then a vessel of honour becomes one of dishonour. That is the situation of some ministers, especially Christian leaders in our nation today.
That was why Paul warned, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use and prepared unto every good work" (2 Timothy 2:19-21).
The word 'dishonour' in Greek means 'to lower down from a place of honour; disgrace, shame, indignity, infamy.' If you belittle your destiny by lowering yourself down from the place of honour God has put you, then you will bring shame or disgrace to your life and destiny.
For example, since ministry is no longer a thing of honour among some ministers today, verse 21 above implies that such people are not sanctified, not meet for the master's use and not prepared unto every good work because they are not purged from their iniquities.
Such ministers might achieve some great feats in the name of God but they can't fulfil their ministry. There is a difference between achievement and fulfilment as already discussed.
Let's learn to magnify our destiny when things are easy or tough. We can't magnify it without appreciating and celebrating it.
About less than three years after I became born-again, I went to a prayer mountain with some other people. Then the Spirit of Lord moved one of them and began to prophesy to me saying, "Thus says the Lord, 'Don't follow the calling of anybody in your life. Remove from your heart all such seeking of ministry gifts or the appreciation of other people's ministries at the expense of appreciating your own calling and ministry, and hence losing the power (anointing) of God.' "
You either appreciate or depreciate your destiny. Also you either celebrate or tolerate your destiny. See and value your calling just as God sees and values it or else you will lose the anointing and authority required to successfully fulfil it!
PROPHETIC WARNING TO DISCREDITED BELIEVERS
Paul wrote, "Dear brothers pattern your lives after mine and notice who else lives up to my example.
For I have told you often before and I say it again now with tears in my eyes there are many who walk along the Christian road who are really enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their future is eternal loss for their god is their appetite: they are proud of what they should be ashamed of; and all they think about is this life here on earth.
But our homeland is in heaven, with our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ and we are looking forward to His return from there.
When He comes back, He will take these dying bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same mighty power that He will use to conquer all else everywhere" (Philippians 3:17-21, Living Bible).
TWO EXTREMES TO AVOID
The first extreme is magnifying yourself while despising others. The scripture says Jesus spoke a parable to those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others" (Luke 18:9).
The Amplified Bible renders 'and despised others' above as 'and scorned and made nothing of all the rest of men.'
This parable teaches us never to magnify ourselves while we despise others (see Luke 18:10-14). I love how the Lord concluded it; "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:14b, AMP).
You see, the Scripture teaches that we should magnify our ministry, not ourselves. Unfortunately, some have magnified or exalted themselves because of their knowledge of God's word, the power of God, spiritual gifts or natural talents manifesting in their lives.
Some time ago, my wife and I were attending a meeting. Then one of ministers there came to my wife and me at the different places we were during his sermon. He magnified himself that he had passed all our levels and despised us publicly using the challenge we were going through to belittle us. He tried to make nobody out of us but somebody out of himself.
Yes, the guy knew some Scriptures but his knowledge had puffed him up! The Scripture says, "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Cor 8:1, NIV).
If it was a time in my life, I would have reacted trying to defend my ego. Though he was full of himself, yet the Lord helped me to overlook and walk in love towards him. My wife and I even took time to pray for him on our own (1 Pet 4:8, Mat 5:44).
Philippians 2:3-5 (AMP) says, "Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance.
Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than, superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].
Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.
Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility :])."
The second extreme is: despising yourself while magnifying others. Paul wrote Timo, "Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth " (1 Tim 4: 12, AMP).
The NIV says, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young"
Isn't it saddening today that there are some ministers whose tutelage you can't serve under unless and until you despise yourself and magnify them?
They pressurize and manipulate you to surrender and dump your divine assignment in the dust bin of history while you embrace their own so-called divine assignment.
You see, some people will always want to despise you because of your age, colour, sex, marital status, financial status, lower measure or degree of anointing, and so on. But don't ever despise yourself (please read Numbers 13:31-33).
That was what Paul was telling Timo. In essence, he was saying, "People will try to despise you but don't allow yourself to be despised by anyone. Never grant them the permission to make you less than what God has made you."
Some ministers will always want you to see yourself as a dwarf of God but to see them as giants of God. This is a spirit of pride.
I wrote some of the leading ministers in this country for prayer cover when our ministry began. We did that because of our publication about God's purpose for our dear nation.
I felt we needed the prayer cover of the fathers. Perhaps, I was wrong. We also sent them some of our publications free of charge.
One of them replied humbly encouraging us and assuring us of his continuous intercession for us.
Another one whose ministry is spreading like wildfire replied through one of his staff members. They totally despised us and our ministry while they magnified theirs (see 3 John 9-11).
No word of encouragement; rather they advised us to key in to their ministry. They directed us to watch their T.V. programme so that we could grow. Though I was not happy, yet I followed their advice and continued watching their inspiring T.V. programme.
What an anointed man of God! I believe in his ministry but he did not display the spirit of a father in that situation. May God help him and all the people magnifying him unnecessarily.
We were shocked lately when one of his pastors said on T.V., " There is none like him."
But Paul cautioned some saints, "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? ONLY SERVANTS, through whom you came to believe - as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
So then, no more boasting about men!..." (I Cor. 3:4, KJV; 5,21,NIV).
The Amplified Bible puts verse 21 above as, "So let no one exult proudly concerning men [boasting of having this or that man as a leader]..." (Please read 1 Cor. 4:6-7, too).
ENDURE HARDSHIP BECAUSE THE GREATER YOUR DESTINY THE GREATER YOUR HARDSHIP
The sixth step is:
6. ENDURE HARDSHIP BECAUSE THE GREATER YOUR DESTINY THE GREATER YOUR HARDSHIP
Paul wrote Timo, "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2Tim 2:3, 4:5, Gideons).
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines 'endure' as 'to suffer something painful or deal with a very unpleasant situation for a long time with strength and patience.'
Unfortunately, some saints have been brainwashed that the Lord has called us only to enjoy things, but never to endure anything!
Paul, however, showed us that there is a time to enjoy, and there is a time to endure. He wrote, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:12-13, NIV).
THE GREATER YOUR DESTINY, THE GREATER YOUR HARDSHIP AND WARFARE
Now, having understood that the Lord has called us to enjoy good times he has planned for us but to endure the hard times he allows to come our way, we need to understand that the greater our destiny, the greater our hardship and warfare.
Jesus told Peter, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Mat. 16:17-19, see also Luke 22:31-32).
You see, Satan targeted Peter more than the rest of the Apostles of the Lamb because of his greater calling. He had the keys of the kingdom of heaven with which he unlocked and thereby opened the door of the kingdom to the Jews first on the day of Pentecost and later to the Gentiles at Cornelius house (see Acts 2, Acts 10, Gal. 1:18; 2:1-2,7-8).
How great is your calling? Your answer determines your level of hardship and warfare. The like of Joseph, David, Moses, Abraham, Paul, even Jesus, and so on endured greater hardship and fought greater warfare than their respective siblings or family members because of a greater calling!
God's generals will always emerge as a result of their series of victory in tough spiritual warfare!
REASONS WHY YOU MUST ENDURE HARDSHIP
Years ago, in the midst of a fierce mental conflict and emotional struggle, I confided in someone as if I could not bear it any more. But the Lord is precious. I remember it like yesterday.
At that time, a word came up strongly in my spirit, "ENDURE." It wasn't a voice but it was too clear to deny.
In the midst of that inner hardship, he wanted me to endure. Thank God I didn't give up. But I almost gave up if not for my Dearest Comforter - The Holy Spirit.
If I had not endured that long, do you think my life and ministry will be where they are today? No, a billion times, no!
There are many reasons why we must endure hardship as believers, especially as five-fold ministers. Some of them will be discussed here.
I. IT DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE
Paul wrote, "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that SUFFERING PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE" (Ro. 5:26-3, NIV).
Yes, suffering produces perseverance. The KJV puts it as 'tribulation worketh patience.' So, there is no easy way to make patience or perseverance manifest in your life.
You see, every believer has patience or longsuffering residing in their human spirit but only those who have learnt obedience through suffering can manifest it (see Galatians 5:22, Hebrews 5:8).
The only way to develop perseverance, patience, longsuffering or endurance is a hard way - the way of hardship (tribulation, suffering, trial or affliction).
James 1:2-3 teaches that the testing of our faith through different trials develops perseverance.
Without perseverance, we can't run the particular race the Lord has set before each of us to the finish line.
We need to look unto Jesus as our example of perseverance or endurance. We must endure our cross as he endured his (see Hebrews 12:1-2, 1 Peter 2:21).
ii. IT GIVES YOU BALANCED CHRISTIAN MATURITY BY LEARNING PRACTICAL OBEDIENCE IF YOU ALLOW PERSEVERANCE TO FINISH ITS WORK IN YOU
James revealed, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be MATURE and COMPLETE, NOT LACKING ANYTHING" (James 1:4, NIV).
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines 'perseverance' as 'determination to keep trying to achieve something in spite of difficulties.'
If we embrace perseverance by practising the Word of God and praying according to the same Word in spite of difficulties, then our perseverance will eventually bring us to balanced Christian maturity!
Paul put it like this, "We know that suffering produces perseverance; PERSEVERANCE, (PRODUCES) CHARACTER" (Ro. 5:4, NIV).
Character has been described as moral strength. When you are going through hardship, someone said that God is more interested in your character than in your comfort! How true that is (see Deut. 8)!
Let me illustrate it. If a tree in the forest wants to be made into a chair in the White House upon which the US president will sit, then it should be ready to undergo a tough process that will rob it of its comfort, but bring the best out of it.
First, the tree will have to be felled after which its branches are chopped off. Then it will be transported to where it will seasoned or dried by the sun (or air) or in a kiln (oven). After this, it is sliced into planks before cutting into specific sizes.
Friend, you need to understand that any tree or wood will feel some pain or discomfort and shed tears in form of sawdust whenever the saw is passing through it.
Finally, the carpenter will smooth the pieces of wood, chisel out some joints, glue some parts, nail some other parts and cover it with varnish to give a shiny surface.
Then the president will sit on it happily in his home. Everyone who sees it admires it saying: "Wow! What an elegant chair."
But if the chair could speak, it would reply, "If only you had seen the torture and pain and discomfort brought on me by the kiln, saw, jack plane, nails, hammer and chiselWhen I was going through those challenges - the greatest struggles of my life - it was like no one cared for me. But now that I have come through them all rather successfully, it appears everybody admires me. Thank God I went through those terrible experiences, otherwise I would not be here today, and I would not be what I am today - a masterpiece of honour and a centre of attraction."
So, always remember that God intends that those bad times produce good character in us. Do you know, however, that some ministers fail because of character flaw? They have sexual, financial, material or behavioural problems.
iii. IT GIVES YOU REAL QUALIFICATION OF AUTHORITY AND COMPASSION FOR MINISTRY
"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author (one who has an authority in a particular matter) of their salvation perfect through sufferingFor this reason he had to be made like his brothers (so that he could identify with their sufferings as according to verse 18) in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God" (Heb. 2:10, 17, NIV; see also Heb. 5:7-8).
We see from this Scripture that Jesus' suffering for the salvation (including healing and deliverance) of mankind gave him the authority to give or bring salvation to mankind.
You see, Jesus is a compassionate (merciful) and faithful (trustworthy) high priest in his heavenly ministry today "because he himself suffered when he was tempted (while on earth), he is able to help those who are being tempted (today)" (Heb. 2:18, NIV).
Joyce Meyer has authority and compassion in ministering to people with emotional problems because she herself was once a victim of emotional disorder. Your mess becomes your message (if you follow God) as someone said. And that was what happened to her!
MAKE SURE YOU FULFIL YOUR DESTINY BEFORE YOU FULFIL YOUR DAYS ON EARTH
The seventh step is:
7. MAKE SURE YOU FULFIL YOUR DESTINY BEFORE YOU FULFIL YOUR DAYS ON EARTH
Paul told the Ephesians elders, "The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me" (Acts 20:24, NCV).
He passed a similar message across to Archippus when he wrote, "Tell Archippus, 'See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord" (Col. 4:17).
The King James Version puts it as, "And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it."
Dear friend, to this end, I admonish you that at all cost - give it all it takes (no matter what it takes) - ensure that you fulfill your destiny before you fulfill your days on earth!
How many thousand or even millions of believers have left this world with unfulfilleddestinies? What pains it brings to the Lord's heart despite all his spiritual, mental and physical investment in such people! Wasted lives? Maybe. Destinies squandered on irrelevant or less important issues? Certainly.
WILL THE LORD REGRET OR REJOICE OVER YOUR DESTINY?
When God saw that mankind had refused to fulfill the purpose for which he made them, he became sad. In other words, he was sorry.
The Scripture says, "The LORD was grieved that he has made man on earth, and his heart was filled with pain" (Gen. 6:6, NIV).
In essence, that verse is saying, "God regretted was (filled with sorrow and disappointment) that he had made man on earth, and his heart bled (or was bleeding) for his creatures refused to fulfill the purpose of their Creator."
If the Lord is regretting over your ministry right now, you might still correct things quickly and ride on to fulfill it. But if he regrets over it at the end of your life on earth or on the day of reckoning (Day of Judgment of the believer's works), then what excuse will he accept from you?
IS THERE AN APPOINTED TIME FOR A BELIEVER TO DIE?
In the early days on earth, God gave mankind the grace to live for hundreds of years (see Gen. 5) but as sin increased he cut it down to 120 years (see Gen. 6:3).
When sin further increased it became 70 or 80 (for the Israelites in the wilderness), though some could live longer for some reasons (Ps. 90:10). Even Moses who wrote this Psalm 90 lived to be 120 years.
Job caught a revelation that there is an appointed time for every one of us when said, "If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come" (Job 14:14).
If you will obey God, he says, "I will fulfill the number of your days" (Ex. 23:26, RSV, see also verses 20-25).
That suggests to me that each day of our lives is numbered by God just as each strand of hair on our heads is numbered by him (see Mt. 10:30). That was why Moses prayed in that same Psalm 90 but verse 12, "Teach us to NUMBER our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (NIV).
Sad to say, while Satan is wise enough to know that his time is short and to number his days, some believers don't realize that our time on earth is short and they don't number their days correctly to walk in wisdom (Rev 12:12, Job 14:1,Gen 47:9).
If I say that the pages of this book are numbered but those of that other book are not numbered, you should understand the difference!
The central revelation in the Scripture is that once you have finished your assignment on earth, then get ready to go home to be with the Lord. Some believers can leave this world and go home to be with Jesus before they finish their assignments because of sickness, disobedience, and so on. That is not God's perfect will!
After Paul, the great apostle had fulfilled his ministry, he was finally ready to go home to Jesus. He wrote, "For I am now ready to be offered, the time of my departure (from this world) is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I have kept the faith: (2 Tim. 4:6-7).
The Lord revealed to Peter towards the end of his life that he would soon come home because his ministry would soon be fulfilled or was virtually fulfilled (2 Pet. 1:13-15).
Jesus fulfilled his ministry at the tender age of thirty three and a half, and left the earth for heaven to be with his Father.
Once Moses' and Aaron's ministries were terminated, God had to take them home (Numb. 20:2-12, 23-29, Deut. 34:4-8). Also Elijah was taken away shortly after his mandate was transferred to Elisha. He had nothing again to live for (1 Kgs 19:16b, 2 Kgs 2:1).
A minister of God once wrote that the Lord would have taken us to heaven immediately after we got born-again, but he didn't because he has a work for us (each) to do on earth.
That was why Paul summed it up this way, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labour, yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
NEVERTHELESS TO REMAIN IN THE FLESH IS MORE NEEDFUL FOR YOU" (Phil. 1:21-24, Gideons).
TRAGEDY: SOME DIE WITHOUT STARTING THEIR MINISTRY LET ALONE FINISHING IT
Kenneth E. Hagin had been in the ministry for 15 years when the Lord told him that he had just entered the first phase of his ministry few weeks earlier.
He was shocked and surprised. But the Lord further told him that some ministers lived on earth and died without ever beginning their ministries.
I imagine some people who are called to the five-fold ministry but have refused to embrace God's call because they want to make money first in their profession or business. (Thank God for those graced to combine it with their profession or business).
I picture some whom the Lord called as missionaries, evangelists or pastors to some remote towns or villages perhaps in Africa, but who are living in luxury in America, London, Paris or elsewhere. Unless they repent, they will all die shamefully and probably pre-maturely.
PATHETIC COUPLE BECAME RICH AND FAMOUS TRYING TO FULFIL A SUBSTITUTE DESTINY BUT NEVER FULFILLED THEIR MISSIONARY CALL
Joan Hunter shared the story of a newlywed couple whom the Lord called to be missionaries in Africa. They raised the money necessary for the trip but as they were set to go they discovered the wife was pregnant.
Going by the counsel of thei
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