Josh Hamilton, star outfielder for the Texas Rangers, survived a career-threatening drug addiction; Len Bias, a star forward for the Maryland Terrapins, was not as fortunate. Michael Jordan survived a gambling scandal; Pete Rose was not as fortunate. George Foreman left boxing with no side effects; Muhammad Ali did not. Bill Clinton worked through an extra-marital affair; Governor Mark Sanford may not.
Ever wondered why some people survive situations that consume others? If you rewind the highlight reel of your life, you probably benefited from circumstances that baffled others. Why? Why did you make it out of a neighborhood where the life expectancy was so low? Why did you graduate from college with pocket change in your savings account? Why have you excelled on a job that has other people pulling their hair out? Why are you a star and not a statistic?
Just like Moses, you survived for a reason. Moses should have died in the Nile River or from the strenuous labor conditions in Egypt, but he didn’t. God spared Him to set other people free. Your survival is bigger than you – God kept you alive to give other people hope! So, complete your assignment: help someone find freedom from the “Pharaoh” you overcame!
David wrote, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet'” (Psalm 110:1, New Living Translation). I love this verse, for in essence, it shows us that God will lift us above our enemies. The more I meditate on this verse, the more I’m inclined to rejoice when people work my nerves, run their mouths, or let the devil use them. They think they’re impeding my progress, but they’re actually fast-forwarding it! If they’re not careful, they’ll be eye-witnesses of a modern-day Psalm 23:5 experience: “You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies …”
Every destined person had a hater, or two, just before fulfilling her or his purpose. Jesus had Judas, David had Saul, and Joseph had his brothers. The more Joseph dreamed and understood his purpose, the more they envied him. They even threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery to stop him. But they didn’t know the pit had a trampoline in it! Joseph rose to prominence and declared, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good …” (Genesis 50:20, New Living Translation).
Jesus, David, Joseph, and Moses went higher through their haters, and so will you. Don’t let the critics abort your assignment! Rather, appreciate them for helping you blast off to your destiny!
I’ve used the example of a pregnant woman before, but again, it is an appropriate segue into today’s recharge. At conception, the woman seldom shows outward signs of the change inside. During the next nine months, however, her body undergoes significant changes. The closer she gets to her delivery date, the worse the pain becomes. If she’s not careful, she can mistakenly think her contractions are a sign that she made a bad choice. But they’re not. The most painful contractions are confirmation that the baby is on the way.
Ironically, Jesus was on the verge of birthing His public ministry in this text. He had been declared the chosen One, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and provided instructions for His first assignment. And, look who showed up – the devil. If you keep reading Matthew 4, you’ll notice that Jesus did not get upset, irritated, anxious, or troubled. Instead, He remained calmed and aced the assignment. Why? Jesus understood that this attack was just confirmation of His assignment.
Paul told his spiritual son Timothy, “… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12, New Living Translation). That is, whenever we’re on an assignment from God, we can expect trouble. So, if you’re listening to God, and in the storm of your life, hang in there. That trial is simply confirmation that you’re headed in the right direction!