As I walked into the cardio room at the gym this morning, I was greeted with the overwhelming stench of someone’s sweat! I realize it is a cardio room and people do go there to sweat, but the room is equipped with an enormous air filtering system that usually keeps the odor at a minimum. But not today! As I climbed on my machine, I was able to quickly identify the culprit- a man probably in his mid-fifties, sweating from head to toe and stinking to high heaven. The smell was so pungent and putrid I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. I was consumed with wanting him to go and take his stinky sweat with him. I know it sounds petty, but I actually prayed for him to leave. It took everything in me to resist gagging from the smell. Thankfully to my great relief he made his move within a few minutes after my arrival exiting the cardio room. However, it took an additional fifteen minutes before the smell finally cleared and I am pretty sure there were a few people who walked in afterward looking my direction and thinking I was the culprit.
Now there are many who come into that room, work out hard, and get soaked in their own sweat, but it is rare that their smell becomes that offensive and overwhelming. What was different about this guy? Though I can’t be certain my guess is that he probably came in carrying a stench from the previous day. Old sweat is much fouler than new sweat. Maybe he worked hard the day before and decided to wait for a shower until after his morning workout. Bad idea! An in-between shower could have made a world of difference.
I happened to be reading through Matthew 10 while all this was transpiring, and it made me think twice about Jesus’ words in verse 4.
“ And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.”
Though I understand the significance of “shaking the dust from your feet” as an open warning, I also think it carries an even greater significance for our own sake and the sake of those to whom we are called to serve in the future.
If I allow the dust from a bad experience today to settle on me and travel with me into tomorrow, it can potentially taint my future ministry to others with the stench of yesterday.
I’ve discovered that when I carry the dirt of an offense, disappointment, frustration, or wound from yesterday into today, it has the power to spoil and corrupt the present work of Christ through me. I wind up believing for less and complaining more. Instead of the sweet fragrance of Christ, there’s the foul smell of flesh.
So what is the remedy? A good spiritual bath-DAILY!
Come into the presence of God with all the garbage of your day, so He can wash you clean with His living water. Don’t allow your wounds and disappointments to fester but instead choose to let His love cleanse, heal, and restore you. Take time to pour out your heart before Him then allow Him to pour out the water of His word over you. If you need to shed some tears, then shed some tears but then allow him to dust off your feet so you can walk into tomorrow smelling fresh and clean.
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:2-3
Have you ever wished the Holy Spirit would “tell” somebody of “importance” about the special purpose God has for you?
Honestly, I must confess I spent many years longing for the Lord to “tell” somebody, in a position of “authority,” that He had indeed set me apart for a unique work to which He had called me. In fact, I asked (at times even begged) the Lord to have a leader lay hands on me, and prophecy over me, to confirm His calling on my life. Believing that if I could just have that kind of confirmation, I would then gain the necessary confidence and courage to fulfill the calling. Though I think this kind of affirmation can be helpful and maybe if I were a man it would have been more likely, the truth is I already possessed all the confirmation I needed. God had already written His desires on my heart. Whether or not I had the approval of men I already had God’s stamp of approval on my heart. It was my own insecurities that had kept me blind to what was right in front of me.
I think it’s noteworthy that when God called Joseph through a dream found in Genesis chapter thirty-seven nobody confirmed or affirmed it. Nobody “called out Joseph’s destiny,” but God. Nobody laid hands on him and declared that he had indeed been set apart for a unique and special purpose. Nobody commissioned him and sent him forth. Though we might argue that they should have, the fact remains nobody did! God alone revealed Joseph’s destiny through a dream and Joseph decided to trust God making the most of his opportunities. Ultimately the proof was in the pudding. God’s choosing became evident through the fruitfulness of Joseph’s life.
A word of prophecy or the approval of a respected leader can be a tremendous blessing and help, but they are not necessary! The only person God needs on board to fulfill your destiny is you. And the only person you need to fulfill God’s plan for your life is God. Many of us will never get a unique word of prophecy or the seal of approval from a respected leader. Rather than allowing it to hinder or discourage us we can choose to let our roots grow deep into the soil of God’s affirming love. That soil will provide all the nutrients you and I need to become all that God intends!
PS. My desire is to help draw out and affirm God’s destiny for His daughters. I would love to know what assignments God has written on your heart so I can believe with you and for you. Also “You are a Woman of Destiny” was written to help women find and fulfill their special assignments from God.
I have wasted more time than I care to recount at the crossroad of indecision. Deliberating on whether I should go left or right. Give my yes or no. Invest my time or money here or there. Early on in my Christian walk, I was so bound by indecision that I could barely make any decisions without lengthy times of “thinking it through,” and “weighing all my options” carefully. In hindsight, indecision was usually an unwillingness to act in faith, and it often left me feeling paralyzed and stuck. It robbed me of confidence more times than I can count.
Do you ever find yourself stuck at the crossroad of indecision? Concerned that if you make the “wrong” decision, you may miss a better opportunity? Or maybe your fear of making a wrong decision keeps you from making any decision at all.
If this is, you- I understand. I have walked a mile or two in your shoes, and I can attest that it is a way of life that often is filled with regrets. Many times, not making a decision is substantially worse than making a “wrong” decision. I have discovered that whenever I act in faith, God is for me and if God is for me, no matter how things turn out, I have not lost. When we are in faith, His grace always abounds toward us but as soon as we move out of faith into fear that supply gets shut down. Therefore, action taken in faith is always better than non-action without faith.
The word of God has numerous promises that give us the courage we need to face difficult decisions with confidence. Here are a few that have helped me to go from recoiling from decisions to embracing them with confidence.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid,
nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double- minded man, unstable in all his ways.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is
that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
So, when I am faced with a challenging or somewhat daunting decision my process will usually go something like this…
First, I acknowledge in faith the Lord is with me, has promised to faithfully direct my steps, and lead me in a way that is for my best and highest good.
Next, I ask the Lord to grant me wisdom for the decision I need to make. In the process I will place everything on the altar before Him, yielding my own agenda, and self-will. This will position me to receive a relatively quick understanding of God’s heart regarding the choices before me.
Then with His peace acting like a governor, I consider each option to see which way yields the fruit of peace in my soul.
If I am still uncertain, I will then put out a fleece. However, a fleece, open and closed doors, etc., should only be used as a confirmation when something vital is at stake. Not as a substitute for relationship.
Finally, the key to this process is coming to Him in faith- relying more on His ability to communicate than your ability to hear.
Resting in the assurance of His desire to lead positions us to be directed!
Indecision does not need to stall us out and hold us captive. The Lord God Almighty has promised to guide us so we can be confident of His leading for every decision we make.
I LOVE the rendering the Amplified version gives us for John 14:16
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever-
I pray this will help you face future decisions with courage and confidence!