Last October, God spoke to me that in the month of February, He was going to swing wide the doors of opportunity. He specifically wanted His people to pass through January and the process of consecration and purification. I have been anticipating what is going to happen. I am already hearing reports that indeed doors are flinging wide everywhere! People are saying God is moving so much, and so many amazing things are happening.
In Joshua 3:5b, Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform wondrous deeds among you."
Many have been faithful, and God is going to do amazing things. However, I do believe there is something to consider as we embark on the opportunities He is bringing in February: We must be aware to put Him first. Him first.
God does not want us to worship the idols of advancement, financial increase or amazing opportunities that are coming as a result of Him choosing to open the doors of heaven and pour out a blessing upon us.
One of the ways we can curtail our flesh in the midst of God's many blessings is not to forget Him in the area of giving ourselves over to Him. Often God will bless us. but then we make idols out of the blessing and forget all about Him. We must stay in a place of repentance and purity of heart. We must not become workaholics trying to steward all He has given us or ruminate so much on the blessing that we fail to take time to spend with Him. One of the ways we can prevent this is to do as Deuteronomy 8:16-20 says:
[God] fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might prove you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, "My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth." But you must remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to get wealth, so that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is today.
If you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, then I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Just like the nations which the Lord will destroy before you, so shall you perish because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God.
The word "remember" in this passage is the Hebrew word zakar; it means "to mark, remember or be recognized."
If we want to keep our flesh in control during a blessing, we must learn to zakar the Lord or mark by bringing Him a firstfruit offering. This principle is often missed by people, but not by those who have tasted success and seen how it messes with the focus of the mind. It is easy to get caught up in the doing of life, work, family and ministry and all the fast-paced excitement of being used by God to expand the kingdom of God. But underneath every minister's heart—and we are all ministers of the gospel as we are called ambassadors of reconciliation (see 2 Cor. 5:20)—there should be a desire to run away with the King and not be bothered, but just to sit in His presence and soak in His beauty.
If this is not the true desire of our hearts, something may be wrong. I speak from my own chastisements from the Lord. When things begin to move rapidly for me, I must bring myself and my finances as an offering to keep my own heart in check. This is why the first of the year is so important is that it reveals where we get off- track, and we begin to serve what He has given us instead of bringing Him the offering He really wants, and that is our hearts.
This was the lesson He was teaching the Israelites in the desert. It was as though He said (and I paraphrase), "I can give you everything, but I want you to want Me first, and I know the heart of man is deceitful and prideful, and if it is not trained to be aware of its pitfalls, it will walk away from what is best, which is Me, God, to go after all the other things."
One of the ways I personally keep my heart straight is to remember I cannot operate in the ministry without doing it in the overflow. I need to be so connected to Him that who He is overflows into my entire soul. That is only accomplished through first honoring Him with my substance.
What is substance? In the Hebrew, it means "wealth," but it is a word that means "all of you," as in "enough." It comes from a root word which means ability, power, wealth, force, goods, might and strength.
Proverbs 3:9 tells us, "Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your presses will burst out with new wine."
We as His people are called to honor Him. This word "honor" comes from the Hebrew "to glorify or make weighty." Why does He ask this? So that we will put Him first from the totality of our being, as in all of our time, talent, treasure and testimony. In doing this, we will mark Him first in our actions. He then asks us to even bless Him with the firstfruits of all the increase He brings us, just so we won't get focused on it. If we do this, He says we will operate in fullness in our spirit, soul and body, and we will break forth in new wine or new opportunities.
He is training us for reigning with Him, and it is not about looking to the outward but the inward first to give us all we need as we rest in Him and who He is. This will keep any person in a state of humility when they realize they must rely on God for everything, even when they fall into the riches of heaven. We will always need to be focused on Him, and even more so in our successes or victories.
He has developed the system so the more He blesses us, the more we find we need Him. And if we choose to connect ourselves more to the blessing, He will discipline us and bring us back to what is important, which is Him and Him alone.
Yes, the doors of opportunity are swinging wide open in February, but take heed, as this only means God is calling you to more of Him and even less of the opportunity He is blessing you with. Learn to steward the blessing well and remember Him with a firstfruit of yourself and all He has given you. This is surely the true way to bring Him honor and thanksgiving, and also to remain humble in this season of blessing.
Dr. Candice Smithyman is the founder of Dream Mentors International, a biblical life counseling and coaching educational organization that teaches and trains educators and coaches in the specialty of life coaching. She is also founder of the Glory Road TV show, where she hosts weekly interviews that are seen on internet TV, Faith USA, Facebook and her YouTube channel. She is also the host of the Spirit Fuel TV show at spiritfuel.tv or spiritfuel.me. Her ministry website is available at candicesmithyman.com and dreammentors.org,where people can grow prophetically and receive biblical and transformational life coaching for every area of their life. She is also co-founder of Freedom Destiny Church in Orange Park, Florida.
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