Success for your God-given assignment begins with proper alignment. You will never experience the inner peace and assurance you long for until you align your life up with God’s plan and purpose. His plan for you began before you were even born. The psalmist declared, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139: 13,16).
Proper alignment is essential for living out the purposes God created you for. Yet, life has a way of knocking you out of alignment. Each day presents new struggles, distractions and obstacles that must be overcome. Our world is fallen and daily we are bombarded by the painful and negative consequences of it. Bad things happen to good people and sometimes it is hard to make sense of it. On top of that, the poor choices of others often affect you. Then add to all these your own personal sins and you have the perfect storm of pain and disillusionment. Therefore, it is vital to understand the steps one must take to invite God’s presence into the situation and receive strength and guidance to navigate through.
The first step toward relianment is…
A Decision of Desperation.
Let me give you an example from Scripture.
Matthew 20: 28-34, As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd demanded that they keep quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want me to do for you? 33 “Lord,” they said to him, “open our eyes.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed him.
What made the difference that day was that these men were desperate for a touch from God! Because of their physical disability, they were considered outcasts by their society. I’m so thankful our God doesn’t consider anyone an outcast! They were pushed to the side and forced to beg for their survival.
When they heard that Jesus was passing by. Something began to rise up inside of them. They knew what the social norms were and they didn’t care anymore. Faith began to rise up and they screamed out…”LORD, have mercy on us!”
The crowd tried to hush them, but they would not hear of it. They screamed out even louder! This is key for you to understand. If you are tired of being out of alignment with God’s purpose for you, or perhaps your marriage, your family, or just simply your soul, you have to get sick and tired of being in pain, slowed down and frustrated and cry out to Jesus! Nothing happens until you make the decision out of desperation that enough is enough and you are willing to give it over 100% to Jesus. 99% won’t do it.
Notice how Jesus responded, He had compassion on the men.
But not only must you make a decision, the second step requires…
Now, this is where I fear many fail and never receive their breakthrough. You see, we like quick fixes, but when you are out of alignment, it often takes time to get everything back in order.
Let’s be honest, many people deal with being out of alignment for years and then expect God to fix everything in an instance. The greatest preacher and missionary besides Jesus was likely the Apostle Paul. When you read the New Testament, 2/3rds of the books are his writings. However, Paul wasn’t always known as Paul, for much of his life, he was known as Saul, the Pharisee, a well trained leader in Judaism with a passion to stomp out Christianity.
On his way to Damascus, where he was going to arrest and bring to trial jews who had converted to Christ, he had an encounter with the resurrected Jesus.
Acts 9: 19-20, And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some time. 20 Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.”
Now, notice the wording in Acts 9. With just a quick read it appears that Saul had a conversion experience with Jesus on the road and immediately started preaching the message of Christ after Anainais prayed over him. However, that’s not the full story. Acts is the history book of the New Testament and covers 30 years of early church history. Here you see a broad overview of the events, yet when you look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians you see more details.
Galatians 1: 15-18, But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas.
Consider the phrase, “for some time.” That was actually 3 years! Paul spent 3 years being taught by the Holy Spirit and the church in Damascus before he went to Jerusalem and met Peter and the other Apostles.
Sometimes in your rush…you don’t allow God to finish the work He started in order for you to be aligned for your assignment. It’s imperative that you don’t rush God. Instead, .devote yourself to Him and be patient.
A Decision…A Devotion…third….
You might think that your past will keep you from coming back into alignment. You may fear that you will make the wrong choices or that you have already sinned away your opportunities. If you struggle with those feelings, please heed to this advice, have more faith in the Father to lead you, then in the devil to deceive you.
The Apostle Peter understood the doubts that can creep into one’s mind after they had failed the LORD. The night of Jesus’ betrayal, Peter denied knowing Christ on 3 separate occasions. When the rooster crowed the next morning, the guilt Peter felt drove him to run away. One week after the crucifixion of Jesus, you find Peter on a boat fishing. Early one morning after Peter had been fishing all night, the resurrected Christ stood on the beach and welcomed Peter to breakfast. One can only imagine the fears and confusion Peter wrestled with in his mind as he approached Jesus. After enjoying the meal, the two went for a walk along the shore. Jesus asked Peter the same question three times, “Simon, do you love Me?” Look at how John recorded the remainder of the conversation.
John 21: 17-19, Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep,” Jesus said. 18 “Truly I tell you, when you were younger, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. After saying this, he told him, “Follow me.”
You need to realize something here. After this encounter, Peter was never the same again. Before this moment, Peter was known for being brash, prideful and one who often allowed his emotions to get the best of him. Yet, after this experience on the beach, Peter was never the same. He had a new determination. He was never again going to allow himself to get out of alignment like he did before. Peter wasn’t perfect. He would make other mistakes in the future. We know that on one occasion, even Paul had to correct Peter for some poor behavior, however, when it came to denying Christ, he never denied Him again. Instead, tradition tells us that Peter would eventually give his life for Christ on a cross. He was executed upside down for refusing to deny the resurrection of Jesus.