This is the prophetic word that, if I’m honest, most of us would never want to hear…
What many of us are currently facing and walking through is the catalyst for what it is that you want to see formed in you.
Allow me to explain.
All of the pressure, all of the hardships, all of the diﬃculties… they are not being caused by you, they aren’t being caused by the devil… they are being permitted by God.
We cannot expect to pray prayers that voice our desire to be more like Jesus without opening the door to the very things that may be the very answer to our very petitions.
I remember Graham Cooke saying that God allows in His wisdom what He could easily prevent with His power. That couldn’t be more true regarding the season we are in right now.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-12, we read about Paul’s sincere desire to experience the removal of what has been aﬄicting him. In fact, he prayed three times for this ‘thorn in the ﬂesh’ to leave him!
But because of the temptation to exalt himself through the intense revelations he was receiving from the Lord, Paul was given ‘a messenger of Satan.’
In other words, something was permitted in Paul’s life to both instruct him and protect him.
Paul was in the crosshairs of the temptation of pride and in an eﬀort to hinder its formation in his heart and to teach him the blessedness of humility, God allowed Paul to face all kinds of persecution and suﬀering.
The temptation of pride walks in tandem with favor.
The greater God moves through us, the greater the temptation to think more highly of ourselves than we should.
Promotion invites temptation.
Through this school of hard knocks, Paul discovered an incredibly powerful truth: God’s grace is suﬃcient and that power is perfected in weakness.
Not only that, Paul learned to be content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions and diﬃculties.
He didn’t simply make peace with such things. He began to glory in them and boast about them.
The truth is that we will never experience the perfection of God’s power in our lives, nor learn the valuable lesson that His grace is suﬃcient for us until we delight in what humiliates us.
My weakness is the main ingredient in a recipe called His power.
My weakness invites His breakthrough. It grants Him permission to be strong.
Instead of running from and praying to get out of what causes us to cling to Him more, surrender more, and depend upon Him more, we must learn to welcome such things with open arms.
We must learn to take pleasure in the very thing we tried to pray away.
The greatest thing I believe God is doing in this time is this: He is waging war against all matters of pride within His people in an eﬀort to see the attitude of His son both sought after and cherished.
There are things being allowed in our lives to rid us of pride and to deepen humility within us.
Pride is an insidious thing to God and it is something that He hates.
We must embrace whatever strips pride away… whatever kills concern over self-image, whatever destroys self-eﬀort, whatever vanquishes self-reliance, and whatever murders self-promotion and self-exaltation.
We learn more through humiliation than we do through promotion… and I believe that before any of us will adequately steward and walk in what God has for us, we must learn that we are nothing and that He is all.
Just the other day I told my wife and best friend that I feel humiliated that my calendar isn’t as full as I’d like it to be. But the truth is that if a full calendar of traveling would give way to an unconscious pride and would cause me to ﬁnd something in those dates that can only be found in Jesus, then I will embrace both the humiliation and the waiting.
I will enroll in the same school Paul graduated from if it means having purity and lowliness of heart.
There are times when we may not always understand what we are facing, let alone why we are facing it. But if what we are facing brings us lower before Him so that He may be strong in us and through us, it’s worth it.
Alongside of 2 Corinthians 12:7-12 is another scripture that I also believe God is highlighting at this time: Proverbs 3:5-6.
God is teaching us to wait… to trust… to acknowledge Him
That’s what Paul did, didn’t he?
He may not have fully understood what was happening and why, but He prayed.
He acknowledged Him and didn’t rely on his own understanding…
When the answer was given, he embraced it. He no longer sought relief from what was forming humility within him. He now bragged about it.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries