The circumstances in which you receive vision, calling, and assignment will not be ideal. God won’t wait for everyone else in your life to be fully obedient, functional, mature, and submitted before He speaks. When the vision arrives, you may long for a father to help you understand and implement the vision only to discover that the father God had prepared for you isn’t functioning or even obedient. Your present leader may, in fact, attack you as King Saul did David! When the vision arrives, you may not be situated in comfort, security, and familiarity, as John writing The Revelation on the island of his exile. When the vision arrives, you may be as far from where you should be as Moses was forty years and many miles removed from Egypt where he was born and miraculously spared death. When the vision arrives, you may be running from Jezebel into a place of deep despair, dryness, and near-death as Elijah was when he heard God’s still small voice tell him what to do with the rest of his life.
When the vision came to me, I longed for a leader in my life who could understand the vision with me, but the leaders in my life at that time were hostile to the vision and distrusting of my intentions. I was both shocked and wounded, frankly, by the hostility. It wasn’t my vision. I was surprised by the vision on nearly every level. The opportunity for the vision to be part of a greater apostolic blueprint was evident, but the fathering spirit was immature and dysfunctional. The leaders in my life said, “If you want to do that, get out and do it on your own.” At the same time, they were talking the talk of kingdom cooperation and strategic alliance they were avoiding the function of this paradigm with all they had! Immediately I had vision, I was a threat. I didn’t want their money or some aspect of their ministry (of course, it wasn’t really their’s, right?) but I did want to be part of a greater international move of God. Unfortunately, their agenda didn’t match God’s, and I was “released.” The definition of “release” was basically, “separated from” not “separated to.”
What God was asking me to do was consistent with their vision on paper, their strategy was inconsistent with the very premise of their apostolic assumptions. Such dysfunction divides and deters the kingdom today! The spirit of leadership was more like Saul’s than David’s. As they continued to pursue their leadership in this way, their vision disintegrated and disappeared altogether.
My point in sharing is that the circumstances of your vision may not be ideal. In fact, they will probably come in the midst of tremendous trial. If you find yourself in a valid Antioch setting as Paul and Barnabas did, you should understand the historic significance of that overwhelming blessing! But, if your vision arrives while you are in exile, the circumstances do nothing to alter your commitment to faithfully doing what God has assigned you.
In any case, the vision arrives on time, on top, on you in the midst of whatever circumstances exist. They may be very poor circumstances. So few fathers who can see how to lead you in the vision are functioning. So few! So few leaders understand their roles and how to produce inheritors who can receive increase and produce even greater increase.
Perfect Vision, Imperfect People
We tend to think that God’s perfect visions should arrive at a convenient time, in perfect circumstances. Nothing could be further from the reality! Just ask Mary! God says she will be pregnant with Messiah when she isn’t married. Talk about inconvenient! Circumstances less than ideal for the greatest moments of human history!
Then, people mistakenly assume Mary is perfect and consider it appropriate to elevate her status to be equal with God in some way. They wrongly assume that the vision and assignment of God arrives to perfect people in perfected circumstances. It seldom, if ever, does.
People oversimplify: “If God is in it, He’ll make it work out fine.” And, it may work out that your family hates you, your friends, distrust and attack you, and your leaders appear unprepared for what God is asking you to do. The father who should be helping is AWOL, imperfect, selfish, abusive, yet the vision still arrives! While the vision may be perfectly clear to you (I doubt it) and God (I’m certain), it may be a muddle to others in your life because they are in rebellion, disobedience, and dysfunction.
The people God gives vision aren’t perfect people! Moses certainly overreacted to the point that he thought he had blown his chances for success forever. And, we stand amazed at Father’s choice for the disciples of Jesus! We almost want to say out loud, “That is the best You can do! One of them is a devil.”
The truth is that at the time you receive the vision, not only will others be unprepared and even hostile, you may be years from the full preparation you require. Many do not make it through the first steps of vision reception and never experience the seasons of vision preparation.
You are not perfected when the oil hits the top of your head because the preparation for the fullness will occur in the really poor circumstances in which you receive it. You will be greatly amazed in your pride that God doesn’t lift you out of the place in which your are poorly appreciated, under valued, misunderstood, and rejected! You will say, “God, You need to start doing a better job of being God.”
Oh, take care that you do not ignore the vision or use it to become a muddle yourself! Allow God to open the way for your vision while you remain honorable and respectful. Allow God to explain Himself through years of walking toward the fullness of that vision.
Consider Joseph. Vision comes and Joseph is rejected, enslaved, left for dead, betrayed and falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten. His worst days positioned him for the fulfilled of his purpose.
Don’t demand that God make the circumstances ideal, the leaders perfect, the preparation short and inexpensive so fulfilling your assignment will be easy. He won’t! Remember Paul was blind for three days just receiving the vision! Then, his prophetic word was, “Tell him all the things he will suffer for My Name’s sake.” No one was prepared to believe in Paul’s vision when it first arrived, even Paul. Yet, the vision arrived anyway! Right on time! Saul was about as far from the perfect person to be the greatest apostle of his day that we could imagine.
Among Many Adversaries
The greatest revelations may come in the most difficult circumstances. The birthing is painful, inconvenient, and stressful. The timing isn’t what fits our DayTimer. Inevitably, we must lay down some other priority in order to see and hear, or we find ourselves rushed away from the familiar so we can be more focused on the startling news God has to give us.
The greatest days always seem be filled with both unusual revelations of God and the enemy. In fact, it is the revelation of the enemy that accompanies the revelation that makes the day great. David doesn’t become a recognizable champion marked for leadership by smashing a grasshopper with his sandal. Moses doesn’t earn the authority to lead a nation by taking Pharaoh to lunch! Joseph doesn’t get a free ride to world-class leadership without a pit, Potiphar, and prison. Elijah doesn’t see the fire without a day of listening to Baal’s bedlam. Jesus doesn’t gain Resurrection without Gethsemane and Golgotha.
No good to whine and groan in pride. “I deserve better,” your pride cries out. “I shouldn’t have to receive greatness in these circumstances.” Laugh out loud. The vision is revealing more than God’s purpose! It is revealing your greatest hindrance to its fulfillment at the very moment it arrives to take complete control of you!
Consider that the very enemy that is revealed is the very enemy you will face as the obstacle to your obedience. Consider that your rejection is the very enemy that will distract you from speaking as a prophet. Consider that your infirmity is the limitation you will overcome to be expanded into fullness. Consider that your broken relationships will strengthen you to love again when it hurts even more. Consider that your dysfunctional leaders will build a deep desire in you to never treat others as you have been treated. Consider that the poor circumstances may be the circumstances you must face so that you won’t be overwhelmed by such circumstances when you are in full function of your earned authority.
Adversaries are not of your own choosing. Adversaries are there because they are God’s enemies, not yours. This battle is never between God and the devil else there wouldn’t be a battle at all. This battle is about God’s ultimate desire that men rule His Creation with Him, that man have dominion of the circumstances. So, the battle is always between the devil and God’s chosen leaders. Being targeted by God will always result in you being targeted by adversaries. God already knows that, so you won’t need to waste any more time telling Him about it.
Of course it isn’t fair! Of course it isn’t just! Of course it isn’t right! It is the devil! He doesn’t play fair, just, or right! Stop demanding that God change the devil and the circumstances when that is exactly what God is facing you toward when He gives you the vision!
Tell your pride to shut up when it demands that God makes things fair, just, and right for you when God is empowering you to establish fairness, justice, and righteousness by putting them into you so He can release them through you! Stop waiting for better circumstances! Become God agent of transformation in the circumstances around you by allowing Him to transform you!
The adversaries are not the telltale signs that there something wrong with you. Job’s story clarifies this worldview principle. Good people may have bad things happen. The bad things are done by the devil while God watches over the end goal and prepares a greater outcome. God isn’t facing the devil. Job is facing the devil. God isn’t overcoming the devil. Job is overcoming the devil.
For Job, certain of his friends and family attempt to prove to him that he must be wrong if he is suffering. This form of false doctrine is as ancient as Eden because this is satan’s little way of inserting doubt into the mind of those he wishes to destroy. He began with this smidgeon of doubt insert method with Eve and it worked wonders. What God intended to produce in Eve and Adam through their living in obedience, hell sought to short circuit with a magic wand of instant success. The enemy will tell you that you deserve better than what you are getting when he is the one making your life miserable.
Your pride will tell you that God would never ask you to… Yes, He would! Yes, He will! Yes, He has! And, it always feels different when it is your child, body, or ministry.
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