The Most Obvious Reason You’re Suffering: You’re out of the Will of God (I.e., You.Don’t.Listen)

Life would be a lot easier for everyone if people listened to what God says via the Bible, a pastor, or another person he’s opted to use. Sometimes, I just want to throttle people. God undoubtedly felt the same way about me during my buttercream frosting phase this summer, but as I shared with my church recently, I’ve learned that if you do what the Bible tells you to do, you can have what it says you can have. For example, one Sunday in August, I tried to watch T.D. Jakes’ service in Dallas a few hours after it ended. Although my Wi-Fi connection had played everything else I’d watched just fine, it kept buffering and buffering and buffering until I gave up. Before I clicked the X in the upper right corner of my screen, however, I did hear one sentence: you can’t go to the next dimension until you get baptized.

Lo and behold, my pastor offered a baptism service August 19. By that point, I’d been a Christian for over four years and, having become homeless a month earlier, needed to go to the next level.

Devil Wears Prada-esque atmosphere at work

September 17, I graduated from minimum-wage jobs to a position that paid $39,000 per year … but it had a lot of downsides:

  • the person I worked for was even more difficult to work for than she’d confessed to being during my interview;
  • the job was a job I had gone to college to stop doing;
  • I would only be paid once a month;
  • I wouldn’t get any vacation or sick time during my first year;
  • I would only get five days off during my second year; and the clincher:
  • I would have to work mandatory overtime between January and April, and I would have to give two months’ (not weeks’, months’) notice if I wanted to quit between January and April. Otherwise, the firm would cut my salary to minimum wage.

September 30, I tithed 10 percent of my first paycheck, knowing that was something I was supposed to do.

Saturday, October 6, I was given a job where I will be making $42,000 per year and working with people who didn’t go through 15 assistants in four years.

If that isn’t enough impetus to get you to do what God instructed, here’s a Darrell Scott sermon that Radio 1000 played Monday, October 15.

How It Feels When You’re Out of the Will of God

what the bible says about unbelievers having a hard heart toward god

The time is always long when one is out of the will of God. Say, “Amen.” Israel, without the presence of the lord … [was] left to trust in the arm of their flesh, to lean to their own understanding because how many of you know that without the presence of the lord in your life, amen, you’re no different than the unbeliever. Without the presence of the lord in your life, you’re not distinguished from anybody else. You’re not a chosen generation without the presence of the lord in your life. You’re not of a royal priesthood without the presence of the lord in your life. You’re just another average Joe or Jane, whatever.

You are never to allow the lamp of the holy spirit, the light of God, to go out in your life

During this time — during their 20 years out of God’s will — Israel was in bondage — in servitude to the Philistines, having been defeated in the battle that we read about in the fourth chapter 20 years earlier. And because of that lamp of God in the tabernacle, which represented the Word of God and the illumination of the holy spirit and had been commanded by the lord to burn continually without ever being extinguished — the lamp of God in the tabernacle — the lamp was commanded by God to never be allowed to go out. And it represented, once again, the holy spirit indwelling the believer. You are never to allow the lamp of the holy spirit, the light of God, to go out in your life. But they had been allowed to go out.

The Bible says the Word of the lord was [rare] in those days. There was no open vision, there was no revelation, there was no word from God … because Eli’s sons — they were commissioned and consecrated to attend to the sacred duties of the tabernacle — attend to the functions of the tabernacle — keep lit the lamp of God in the house of God — they had lapsed into sin, amen. They were stealing and extorting the offerings from the people of God. They were laying with women in the temple. It wasn’t enough to just lay with them; they were laying with them in the temple, too. … And the insinuation was that of just continuous lasciviousness and debauchery. In so much so that when you read the first book of Samuel, … Samuel’s mother Hannah came broken into the tabernacle to pray. Eli saw her and supposed her to be drunk. He looked at her and thought she was drunk because he was used to seeing drunken women hanging around the tabernacle. He thought this was just another one of his sons’ skeezers. …

How People Feign Oneness with God

In their backslidden state, Eli’s sons take the ark [of the covenant] into battle with them, believing it to be a source of victory. But without the consecration and the sanctification that is to accompany one’s relationship with the lord, the symbol of his presence avails not. If Israel had [gone] before the lord in humility, requesting his presence to go before them in battle, the result could have been quite possibly or would have been different. [Instead] they [endeavored] to use the ark of God like a magic charm or religious symbol. You see unsaved people with a cross around their neck, thinking it’s going to protect them from Satan. [parishioners laugh] They wanted to use the ark like a magic charm, thinking that the ark contained the power necessary for them to be victorious, not realizing that the ark possessed no power in its material makeup. Its power lay in the presence of the lord as long as the lord manifested it through the ark.

The ark was simply an instrument that the lord would use in the tabernacle in manifesting his presence. But no gold container, which the ark was, no matter how elaborate it is, could actually contain the infinite, eternal presence of God. And without the manifestation of his presence, all the ark was was just an empty box. Just an empty gold box. An empty container. A useless ornament.

enemies took all of their income

And so much so that what they thought would be the source of their victory — what they thought was God — they came into battle with what they thought was the presence of God, but it was in actuality empty inside. They came in with what they thought was God, amen — they came in saying, this is God. They were shouting and they were dancing and they were making noise. The Bible says they shouted with a great shout, not realizing that they were so out of touch with God that they could not even sense that God was not even with them. … They thought that spiritual-looking activity and a whole lot of noise would enable them to walk in victory, but it was no help to them at all because, at that time, they were all out of the will of the lord.

How Faking Oneness with God Can Affect Your Finances

[B]ecause they were out of the will of the lord, they found themselves in bondage and in servitude to their enemies, having been disarmed … they took all of their weapons from them, and then they took all of their increase. They took their income, their finances. It was taken by the Philistines and as a result of their bondage, they were allowed only enough of their increase, enough of their income, enough of their harvest, being an agricultural nation — they were only allowed enough to live off of. The Philistines — the enemy — allowed them to retain the bare minimum. Everything over and above the bare minimum was taken by the enemy, along with their sons and their daughters. Their sons and their daughters were taken from them and made into servants and slaves.

Now, here they were — saints of God, you’ve got to get this in your mind: they are the supposed people of God. They were the children of the most high God. These were the ones that had been miraculously delivered … [and] miraculously sustained in the wilderness and into the promised land. And here they are, having been made servants and slaves to the system of the Philistines, system of their enemies, laboring and toiling but only enjoying enough to just get by, possessing only the bare essentials. The ones who should be the most blessed people on the face of the planet Earth found themselves in a bad way, under the control and bondage of the enemy.

How the Israelites Changed Their Ways

lamented after the lord

It says once again in the second verse that as a result of their bondage, the people lamented after the lord. After half a generation of bondage, it says they lamented after the lord, which means that they began to yearn for the presence of God in their lives once more. They were longing to experience the activity of the lord among them once again. …

They looked back after the lord, remembering how he manifested his power on their behalf in the past, remembering how he moved, and remembering how he delivered, and remembering how he blessed them in the past, and remembering his marvelous works of old. And the Bible says it caused them to lament after the lord. Because how many of you know that there’s nothing worse than being in bad shape now and remembering how God blessed you back then? There’s nothing like being in decrease today, remembering how God had blessed you with increase yesterday. Especially when you know that your desires and your proclivities and your inclinations and that the actions that you engaged in, the decisions you made, the choices you took, irrespective of the will of God, are the reason you are in the shape that you are now in, that there’s a reason for your distress, and you also know that if you had been directed by God in your endeavors, you would not be in the position that you are currently in. Come on, be honest with me. Be honest.

don't expect god to do for you what you don't do to others.jpg

It says they lamented after the lord. [One translation] says they sought rest from their troubles in following the lord. They sought to change their situation by seeking the lord. At least they had enough sense to do that. … There’s some people in a bad situation, [and] they still don’t want to seek the lord, but they want the lord to do something for them.

change equals change

They began to make an internal change in order to effect an external change. They determined that in order for their situation to change externally, they first had to be changed internally. You see, some of you will never experience a change unless you first allow yourself to be changed. Talk to me somebody… How many of you know change is the result of change? External change is always the result of internal change because you have to understand, saints, you will not obtain relief from your problems until you stop leaning to your own understanding and you trust in the lord with all of your heart, acknowledge God in all of your ways, and allow him to order the steps that you take along the path that he directs for you. You will not gain relief from your struggle until you stop scheming and stop delaying and looking for ways out of your situation in the natural. You will never receive the change that you desire until you stop allowing your externals to stop dictating to your internals. …

You will never receive the change that you desire until you stop making spiritual decisions based upon natural circumstances. You should never let the things in the natural dictate and determine how you act spiritually. You will not receive the change you desire until you stop allowing what you’re going through to influence and determine the courses that you take and the choices that you make.

You will not get a breakthrough until you stop wandering from person to person, looking for a man, looking for a woman, looking for a remedy, looking for a relief. It reminds me of what Jesus said to the man at the well. He said, “Will you be made whole? Do you want your life to be made whole?” … You’ve got to arrive at the point in your life where you say not my will but your will be done. It’s when you seek the lord with your whole heart and open yourself up to receive his direction and say to yourself and let that devil know, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him, for I know that my redeemer lives. In all the days of my appointed time, I will wait until my change comes.” …

And that’s when you can expect your situation to change because your way will change. When you change your way — look at somebody and say, “When you change your way — change your way of thinking, change your way of doing — when you change your way of being, your way of talking — you have to change if you desire a change. You will not get a change unless you allow yourself to be changed.” …

How Life Changed for the Israelites After They Returned to God

After 20 years had passed in verse 3 of chapter 7 of 1 Samuel, it was 20 years since the last mention of Samuel, which was in the fourth chapter, first verse, Samuel then appears on the scene in the form of prophet, priest, and king. And all the words that he spoke to them [were] in answer to the profession of repentance or lamenting on the part of Israel. In other words, when they were in bondage for those 20 years, they didn’t hear from Samuel. God didn’t speak to him to speak through him to them. But once they began to lament, the holy spirit impressed upon Samuel: now I can give them a word. Now I can get ’em out. Now I can give them a breakthrough because they’ve turned their heart back toward me. So what he did [is] he came to them and said, “I need a tangible proof of your inner activity, [and that] is the putting away of all your false gods.”

e allowed his man to rise up, observe the condition that the people were in, and deliver to them a word

And it’s significant to notice that in the midst of their decline, God allowed his man to rise up. … He allowed his man to rise up, observe the condition that the people were in, and deliver to them a word, deliver to them a message that could turn their lives around. He rose up in the midst of their trouble, he assessed their situation, and he gave them a word that could get them a breakthrough.

He said, here’s what you have to do: put away your false idols. Because how many of you know that God will always have you discard, God will always have you abandon, God will always charge you to put away the things that interfere with your relationship with him. God wants you to put away that thing that interferes with your prayer time, that thing that interferes with your study habits — whatever it is that interferes with your church attendance, your consecration, your sanctification, God said, “Put it away.” The man of God said, “Put it away.” … And as I said, in the church today, people desire a change without desiring to be changed. And people erect idols in their lives that are causing them to be in a state of decrease, and it takes away from their relationship with God, and those things have to be put away before their deliverance can come. Look at somebody and say, “I know that’s right.” …

The man of God said, “Return.” He said, “Put away the foreign idols. Prepare your heart unto the lord and serve him only.” If you do that, he will deliver you out of the hands of the Philistines. … [I]f they trusted in the lord with all of their hearts and gave God the reverence that he was due, they would get the victory over their enemy and would be freed from the bondage they were in. And they would enter into and enjoy a season of unparalleled prosperity.

And the Bible says in the fourth verse that they obeyed the man of God.

Look at somebody and say, “Take heed to the word of God.”

It says they put away their idols, they turned to the lord, and it says now they were primed for deliverance. Now, they were primed for a turnaround.

I am the cause of most of my problems

Elbow that person next to you … and say, “I’m priming for a breakthrough. I’m priming myself for a deliverance. I’m priming myself for a turnaround.” Look at somebody and say, “Don’t look at me funny because I don’t roll the way I used to roll. Don’t start acting crazy because I’m allowing God to clean up my mess and clean up my act. Don’t get twisted because I’m honest enough to admit that I am the reason that I am in the shape that I’m in. I am the cause of most of my problems. … And I’m gonna take heed.”

I don't need friends like that

Look at somebody and say, “I’m tired of the way I’ve been. I’m going to take heed to the word of God, and I’m going to put away the habits, I’m going to put away the activities, I’m going to put away the obstacles that stand between God and myself so I can get out of this situation that I’m in right now … and I can go into a season of unparalleled prosperity. I can start receiving what I’ve been believing God for. I can start possessing what I’ve been confessing out of my mouth. And I need some folks around me — look at somebody and say, “I need some people around me that are in agreement with my breakthrough. I need some people around me that want me to be blessed. I don’t need anybody around me that co-signs my mess, that’s in agreement with my backsliding, that cooperates with my rebellion, that co-signs and indulges me when they know I’m out of God’s will. The devil is a liar. I don’t need people like that. I don’t need friends like that. I don’t need Christians like that. I don’t need church members like that who know I’m out of God’s will and have no problem with me being out of God’s will. I need somebody that says, “Man, you’d better stop. You need to cut it out. You’d better get back in with the lord. You’d better get back with God. You’d better start praying again, you’d better start believing again, you’d better get your butt back in church, you’d better get your butt back in ministry. You’d better get back right.”

I need people around me, and I’ve tried to keep people around me that complement my Christianity because touch somebody and say, “I don’t know about you, but as for me, I’m going to take all of the steps that are necessary for a breakthrough. Whatever I’ve got to do, that’s what I’m going to do because I recognize the fact that God can’t get me together on the outside unless I allow him to get me together on the inside. So I’ve got to step up.”

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