Expecting a trouble-free life. Double-mindedness was only one thing that tempted me to resign from the call of God. Another was that I was not seeing the obstacles I was facing as opportunities for growth.
My Christian background had led me to believe that serving Jesus would be free from trouble and difficulties. If I had enough faith, life would be a "bed of roses." What I was experiencing was definitely not a bed of roses. Thorns, maybe, but not roses!
Through the years, I have met many people who were taught the same thing I was. I have prayed with women who were told their child died because they lacked faith. Some people were told their sickness was the result of sin or bitterness in their hearts.
Many were accused of being out of the will of God since they were having difficulties. I remember those years of facing obstacles and questioning whether I was in God's will.
Years later, while pastoring a local church, my husband, Dale, and I discovered many people with the same wrong theological thinking. During a time of intense warfare, a couple from our church sat down to meet with us. They wanted to express their concern about some of the difficulties we were experiencing.
"There must be sin in your lives," they remarked. "We have been looking but have not been able to find it. It must be there, though. Otherwise, why would all this be happening to you?"
Dale and I sat there amazed at what we had just heard. Although we did not view ourselves as perfect, our lives had been an open book. Why did they believe there was some hidden sin in our lives? Why did they believe that if a person is in the will of God, there are no hard places?
Apparently the questions asked us that day were not new. Gideon wondered the same thing.
"Gideon said to Him, 'O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, "Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?" But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites'" (Judg. 6:13).
The couple in our office was using the same logic as Gideon. It was the same logic I had used years before. But it is faulty.
As we move forward in God's plan for our lives, we will meet with resistance. The enemy does not want us to reach our destinies.
To be victorious in warfare, we must allow the Lord to change some of our old mind-sets. I had to force myself not to listen to my thoughts or give credibility to my feelings.
The enemy comes to hinder God's call and keep us from fulfilling the destiny of the Lord. In the Bible the apostle Paul referred to a time when he was hindered from carrying out the Lord's call on his life. "Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us" (1 Thess. 2:18).
Another time Paul wrote, "For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you" (Rom. 15:22). If Paul was hindered by the enemy, you and I will experience the same type of opposition.
Fear. One of the main fiery darts of the enemy is fear. Fear, doubt and worry are designed to keep us from our destinies.
Fear had always been my enemy, but I did not recognize it while growing up. I simply thought some people were born fearful and shy, and others were naturally outgoing and confident. I was not part of the latter group.
For years, I let fear prevent me from fulfilling God's purpose for my life. When asked to speak at a meeting, I told people I was not a speaker and willingly gave them a list of names of other women they could call.
I did not want to speak because of my fear of failing. What if I did it wrong? What if I forgot what I was going to say in the middle of speaking? Other people sounded so much better than I did.
I kept waiting for the feelings of fear to disappear before accepting speaking invitations. Not only did the feelings not disappear, they became stronger.
Finally I realized I had to face the fear rather than run from it. During that season in my life, I heard a speaker say something that changed my life: "You will never walk in the fear of the Lord until you lose the fear of man."
It felt as if arrows were penetrating my heart when she spoke those words. Wow! The fear of man. Was that what I was dealing with? I had never thought about that.