by Marc Dupont, November 2007
If you have ever watched a poker tournament you know how it works on the final round of betting, especially if the betting is big. Despite the fact that the players absolutely know in their heads exactly what their hidden cards are they always sneak another look at them again before making that final big bet.
The tendency to double check and reconsider when the bet is big is simply human nature. We can know that we know, but still we need to see what we see before we take the big plunge. I know that there will be many who preach on faith who might read these words and then say “uhnt uh, not me, I know the truth and I’m standing on it, I don’t need a second look”. That may be true when the faith step we are about to make is at a level we are comfortable with due to similar steps in the past. That old measure of faith step will feel okay because we processing the decision through the grid of our past experiences, our Bible knowledge, and what the Lord has spoken to us. But what about when God ups the ante in a new season of breakthrough in our lives and ministries? It’s at that time that, as with Joshua, God says, “You have not passed this way before.”
In this season of God bringing many into the broad place of 2nd Samuel 22.20 & Psalm 18.19, He will be calling us into substantial faith steps compared to where we have been, and what we have been doing. And like that tournament poker player who will have to throw all into the pot to stay in the game we will need a second, and even, possibly, a third glance at the cards.
Is this Biblical you might ask. Well, maybe not playing poker. But, needing a second glance? Yes, absolutely. John the Baptist had the singular honor of being the first to publicly point out Jesus’ true identity. “Behold, the Lamb of God” John proclaimed to his disciples. Yet, some time later when John realized he was going to be a martyr he realized he needed encouragement. So, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He (Jesus) truly was the Messiah, or should he (John) look for another.
Jesus, Himself, the author and perfector of our faith, at least on one occasion needed reassurance from the Father. He prayed intently those three times in the Garden, each time asking if there was another way, other than the cross. As well, He quite candidly stated to His disciples “Now My soul has become troubled” (John 12.27). When he said that the Father thundered an encouraging word of response to Him. That encouragement might not have come, however, if He had not shared the emotional turmoil He was experiencing due to going a way He had never been before.
Many of you are about to come into a season of greatly increased fruitfulness in your lives and ministries, no matter what sphere of influence you may operate in. And like the stewards and the talents in the parable found in Matthew 25, God is wanting to double our level of success in serving Him. That means, however, we might just have to, by faith, risk, what He has given us so far, just as Jesus did.
What are the cards that God gives us to glance at? First of all, the timeless promises of God in the Bible. Secondly, what is the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us to do. Thirdly, taking inventory of the past adventures we have experienced in being obedient the Lord, no matter what the outward circumstances looked like. Fourthly, seeking out wise counsel by those who both know us and may have been down similar roads. Last, and not least, is there agreement with our spouses and those close to us who will be affected by our decisions?
What I would like to focus on briefly, though, is the first three cards. David wrote that God desires truth in our “innermost being”. In order to step out of whatever boat you are currently in and begin to walk on whatever water your heart is speaking to you about there most likely be the need for deeper belief, understanding, and revelation of God’s great and eternal promises for you. One that I personally have been looking at and reconsidering and praying into several times a week for the last few months is Psalm 34, verses 9 & 10, which read: “O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.” Psalm 34 has been a favorite of mine for years. I have meditated on it, studied it, and prayed it dozens and dozens of times. But now, in order to step into a new level of fruitfulness I know that I must grow in my heart in two areas; First a deeper appreciation of the wonder, majesty, and holiness of God. And secondly, believing more in the love of the Father and the fact that He will meet my every need as I step out to meet Him in a new level of the miraculous, as Peter stepped out of the boat to meet the Lord Jesus. In short, I am in need of deeper heart knowledge of God’s goodness in order to grow more fully in the destiny He has ordained for me.
With a well-built skyscraper the depth of a building’s foundation is in direct proportion to the height of the building. The higher the building the deeper the foundation must be. With a skyscraper, the foundations must be very deep in order to provide strength and stability against the more powerful winds that blow at higher altitudes.
In this season of the Lord speaking to many to “stretch forth the tent pegs and take in more ground” He is calling us to take our ministries to both new heights and cover more ground. This means our foundations need to be greatly expanded. They are going to need to grow both outward and deeper, and that will entail underground labor.
In ministry what is usually visible is the up front stuff- the teaching, preaching, counseling, and strategizing. What’s not always visible, however, is the redoing of the foundations of deeper prayer and a broader knowledge of the truth in the depths of our heats. In David’s song of repentance he prayed “make me know truth in my innermost being…then I will teach transgressors your ways” While you and I may, or may not, have sins as big as David repented of, there is still a very applicable point for us as we prepare to go upwards and onwards in seeking first the Kingdom of God. We will need to grab even tighter to the timeless promises of God, and we will need to spend more time communing with God while praying and meditating over the current leading of God’s Holy Spirit, who Jesus told us would lead us and guide us into all truth. When Isaiah gazed on the glory of God and heard the invite to go forth on behalf of God, his reaction was to go deeper in worship of God and humility of self!
I love the maxim that is often referred to as the Post Modern Definition of Insanity. It’s often credited to Einstein, the great mind of the last century. It goes like this: “it is the height of stupidity to think you will somehow get different results, by doing the same thing you’ve always done, the same way you’ve always done it”
God’s compassions, mercies, blessings, challenges, breakthroughs, and glory are fresh for us this season. We will not overcome the adventures before us, however, without taking the time to go back to the basics and allow our foundations of God’s nature and promises to sink deeper into our souls. And as we pray into these plans and invites of God, we can take in more of the height, the width, the breadth, and the depth of God’s love in our hearts, minds, and souls.
Let’s prayerfully and meditatively reconsider the specific words, visions, and dreams God has given us. And just as importantly let’s take another look at the timeless promises God and take into account our past experiences of stepping out of the boat. The alternative is to allow yesterday’s peak, to become today’s plateau, which in turn, becomes tomorrows gutter. What’s at stake is the increase of God’s Kingdom first to us and then through us to a world of hurting broken people.
The bottom line is that God loves us too thoroughly to allow us to spend tomorrow’s energy on yesterday’s dreams. It’s time to press on to the higher call in Christ Jesus over each of our lives. Let’s reconsider, re-pray, and become re-energized by the great fundamental truths regarding the wonder of God and His awesome love for each of us. In the Kingdom of God it’s now always so much what you know, but rather WHOM you know. Take another look at your cards. You’ve got a full royal flush in Christ Jesus!