This question came from a, 'Professionals Standing in Faith' seminar. You walked away from a lot of earthly successes that many would never consider letting go of and they too can be viewed as remarkable blessings from God. How was walking away from successes of your past your key to freedom?
I am terrible at following directions. Not because I can't understand them, but because I'm too impatient to take the time to read them thoroughly and follow through. I am one of those people comedians make fun of, who when building a bookshelf will simply look at the picture on the front of the box and go from there. And yes, in the end I am left with pieces that should have gone somewhere, but I'm clueless as to where they belong, so they end up in the 'junk' drawer in my kitchen. Now, to my credit, it looks good and it's even useable, but for how long, before it begins to sag or fall apart?
As the architect of my life, I am equally as bad of a builder. Things can look good on the outside and even be usable, but if it is improperly built it will eventually cease to serve you well. As professionals, God has called us to a position to best illuminate his power and authority over all things. We become valuable instruments in his plan. The key is to remain usable, free from the pollution of the world, and pliable if called upon to shift. Throughout the book I'm revealing, not the danger of great success (there's danger in everything), but the shabbiness of my building ability. Whether you're building a career, a family, a ministry - it comes down to how well you've built. Are you standing on a solid foundation. The foundation stabilizer is in our truly KNOWING God. Dwelling in relationship with him. Not with church and not even with his people although both are important.
What I discovered along this journey is that Satan's test is in our 'doing'. The struggle to get to the pinnacle of your career does not compare to the battle it takes to solidly remain there. Satan will test you in the 'doing' of it. In studying Daniel chapter 11 we see the wickedness of two kings rewarding those who turned against the covenant of God. They openly praised and encouraged them to do so and vilified those who did not. Flattery became their chosen tool. With great success comes great flattery, but it goes on to say that those who know God resists.
Daniel 11: 32
With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
My decision to altar the direction of my career came from my knowing God. Being in tune and listening to the voice that 'I' know. These types of questions are always a little difficult to answer because we are often looking for a one size fits all response to a question in which one size does not fit all. Do you know God? Knowing is being settled in relationship with. Many love the idea of God, but not the reality of God. So in essence most of us know church much better than we know God.
Psalm 103: 7, "Unto Moses He made known his ways, unto Israel he revealed his deeds ."
What we see is that God made His ways known to and revealed His character to Moses. In other words, Moses got to actually know God Himself. On the other hand, the people of Israel only saw His acts and deeds- what He did. Israel saw His works, but Moses saw God.
What does that have to do with 'a faith entangled'? At the height of my career I found myself losing sight of the God I once knew and relying on the acts and deeds of a God I was now acquainted with. Today I'm going to take us through an examination I call, the 3 tests of faith that Satan uses to entangle us all. As with everything, Jesus went through it first. Guided to Luke 4 this is what helped me to see myself clear. When Satan leads Jesus away to tempt him , I believe he shows us something quite powerful - life's ultimate tests for us all and possible the order in which they come: Performance, Possessions and Popularity.
v. 3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
... if thou be the son of God. Satan was trying to get Jesus to question the very being of who he was by challenging what he could or couldn't DO. We see the insertion of a performance based faith that we are still entangled in today. If thy be, than do. Making his being predicated on the doing. Many of us are stuck in a performance based faith, exhausting ourselves like a hamster on a wheel, trying to run fast enough and/or far enough to show ourselves worthy. Knowing God is the antivenom for a performance based faith. Who does God say I am! The enemy knows that when we grab on to performance we let go of promise. Satan tries to stop you in the being because when you figure out who you are, you're open to doing something radical. What are you grabbing on to?
v. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
Here enters the test of a possession based faith or prosperity faith. I am what I have. It was about comparing your being, your placement with God, with what you possess. It's the 'I must be great because of all that God has given me' mentality, but validation that comes from stuff is not from God. We live in a time in which people are drunk with a possession based faith. We buy and wear designer items, trying to keep up with the Jones, even if we can't pay rent or afford insurance. We know brand names by a mere symbol, but we are clueless as to who we are in Christ, leaving us as vulnerable as Esau to selling our soul for a bowl of soup.
v.9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.
Satan led him to Jerusalem to challenge him. Why was Jerusalem important? He was challenging Jesus to show off in front of those who had rejected him. Offering popularity. The lure to be liked and accepted, especially by those who have previously disapproved, is enormous. The entanglement of our faith with 'If enough people like me, than I am'. It's a popularity based identity that snuffs the very life out of us because it robs us of our authentic purpose . Here is where you find yourself doing, but empty inside.
They are the 3 tests of faith that often entangles. I examined, I prayed, I listened and God called for me to pivot. I had served my purpose in the place I once stood and now was being led into a new arena. Another set of uncharted waters where I would again learn to maneuvered through faith unpolluted. My road may not be yours, that's why it starts with you knowing God, but I can guarantee that the tests will be the same.
To go full circle, Dan. 11: 33-35 ends by saying,
“Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
In other words, it won't be easy. You may get hurt, burned, deceived, taken advantage of, some will even die along the way, but it all serves a purpose in the end. Resist the urge to give in to the flattery and turn against the covenant of God. Repel the pull to follow the crowd. God's placed you in your position of influence to stand.
Now stand unentangled!