The Training Ground Series – Small battles now prepare us for bigger battles later.
If God has declared a promise for you over your life, or given you a dream and vision of where you want to be one day… how are you preparing for that gift to be given?
When God declares a promise over our life, or gives a vision of where we want to be one day, we get excited. God has given us purpose and a direction. We know where we are headed and we are excited for the journey and to one day get there.
However, our excitement wears down as the days wear on. “I thought it would be moving much faster than this.” “Surely God didn’t want it to take this long.” “Why do I feel like nothing is happening? I’m not moving anywhere closer to the dreams God has for me.”
We begin to question if God really ever wanted us to have/be XYZ in the future. We begin to question and doubt His goodness, and we start faltering.
What once were leaps and bounds towards something good, now turn into sluggish dragging feet. We aren’t quite sure where to go or what to do anymore. We think God has stopped speaking, and we question “Am I ever going to get there?”
It’s like the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years – God had declared the promise, yet why were they not there yet?
Because He had much training to do yet. They were not prepared for the promise to be fulfilled yet. They were not ready.
The Israelites disobeyed and rebelled against the Lord often. And it’s easy to read those passages and think “Stop doing that! He has given you the Promised Land… and you keep messing it up! Stop that!”
And yet are we not also the Israelites? Children of the Lord, eager to have the promises fulfilled but quick to disobey when times are tough?
That is why the training ground is so important. He is testing our faith and obedience. He knows we love Him… but how deep does our loving trust go? Are we willing to be stretched? Molded? Grown so that we can inhabit all He has promised us? We we willing to fight for the life He desires for us to live in abundance with Him?
[1 Peter 1:6-7]
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
If the Lord has declared a promise in your life, and you have tested the Spirit and know it to be true…
[1 John 4:1]
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
…then fight for it.
We are warriors in the army of the Lord. We bring God’s glory to this earth as He uses us and we obey. Warriors must train for the battles ahead. The enemy longs to trip us up and take us off the path the Lord has for us.
One of the promises the Lord has laid on my heart for my life, is my marriage one day. You know how when asked “What’s something you’ve always wanted [to be]?”, some women answer “A mother” immediately? Well my answer has always been: A wife.
I want to be a wife. I think the covenant of marriage is an incredibly beautiful depiction of the gospel, and I know I cannot know my Lord in certain intimate ways without understanding the covenant of marriage. I’ve also always wanted the Lord to use my marriage for His Kingdom, I want my husband and I to be a powerful force for the gospel through our marriage.
A year or two ago the Lord gave me a vision about that promise, letting me know that:
- I was idolizing the gift of marriage
- That journey was not going to be easy
He showed me a bright hallway with black doors on either side. Each black door was the enemy’s trick or enticement to get me to stray off the path. But if I kept my eyes ahead and on Jesus, and didn’t look to the left or to the right – I would be brought to the Lord and all His glorious gifts for me.
At the time I was convinced I’d never stray into a black door the devil presented me into my life.
[1 Corinthians 10:12]
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
And fallen I have. Distraction, disobedience, and straying from the path are part of my story. I am human and sinful.
But the good news is that Our God delights in bringing us back from faraway places.
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.
So when He brings us back, the training must begin. The path we try and take away from the Lord is always filled with thorns and pain. Whether masked in cotton balls or not, the devil’s path is never going to equal the Lord’s plan and path.
So how do we do all we can to stay on the Lord’s path as much as possible? How do we prepare ourselves for the enemy’s attacks to get us to stray off the path?
We train, and we fight in the small battles which lead up to the bigger battles.
Going back to my original question: If God has declared a promise for you over your life, or given you a dream and vision of where you want to be one day… how are you preparing for that gift to be given?
For me, it’s lots and lots of prayer. I’ve created a prayer wall in my room, and very specific things I pray for over very specific timelines. Right now I have a “Jericho Prayer,” which includes the dreams and promises and accomplishments I hope to live in one day by being a speaker of the gospel. I circle this one [literally] every day and will continue to do so until they are fulfilled.
I have specific people and things I pray for on sticky-notes, and for the next three months I’ll also be praying over the attributes and characteristics of my husband. Fighting for him in prayer before I even know him. Because after all – I am a warrior and I am in the training grounds.
We shouldn’t start to pray and train for the things we desire, the promises in our life only as they get closer.
We should be praying and training now so that when they get closer, we, and they, are ready.