by Gina Lynnes
Do you remember that old saying about having “a tiger by the tail?” Spiritually speaking, that’s what I have as I write you today.
I have a spiritual tiger by the tail. I’m catching hold of a revelation from God that has such power and energy that if I can wrestle it to the ground and make it mine, I’ll walk in a whole new level of dominion and victory.
Did you know you have to wrestle for some things in God? It’s true. There are some aspects of your divine heritance you have to lay hold of with the same fierceness and determination it would take to pin a tiger to the mat. You’re not going to possess them by sitting around sweetly calling, “Here, kitty…Here kitty.”
No, you’ll have to use your spiritual muscles to obtain them. You’ll have to fight through all the devils that have been sent to stop you from receiving them. You’ll have to press through the hindrances of your flesh.
You’ll have to be like Eleazar, son of Dodo. You remember him, don’t you? He was one of David’s mighty men who “arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary…and stuck to the sword” (2 Samuel 23:10).
There are some things that belong to you in Jesus that the devil will work so hard to steal that the only way you’ll gain possession of them is by swinging the sword of the spirit at him again…and again…and again…until that Word is so stuck to you, you become one with it.
Whose Battle Is It, Anyway?
Most of us don’t want to fight that kind of battle. We’d rather just sit on the couch, flip on the tv and say, “Oh well, I guess the Lord will give the victory to me when He’s ready. After all, the battle is not ours but the Lord’s!”
Interestingly enough, in Eleazar’s case the battle was both his AND the Lord’s. Look at verse 10 in its entirety and you’ll see what I mean. It says:
He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder.
Eleazar couldn’t have won that battle by himself. And God wouldn’t have won that battle by Himself. It had to be a team effort. Eleazar slashing away at every Philistine in sight, sweating and straining to use every ounce of strength God had given him; and God upholding him every step of the way, bringing the victory in the end.
The same is true for us today. God has guaranteed our victory and He’ll see us through the battle, but He won’t fight it for us. On the contrary, He has commanded us to “Fight the good fight of faith [and] lay hold of eternal life…” (1 Tim. 6:12). He has called us to wrestle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
He instructed us to engage in “earnest wrestling…prayer to God” (Rom 15:30) in order to be delivered from our foes and walk in the fullness of His divine plan.
Fed Up with Vague Land
One revelation I can absolutely assure you that you’ll have to wrestle over is the revelation of God’s specific plan for you. The devil will fight you tooth and toenail over that one. There is nothing more dangerous to him in the world than a believer who knows not only who he is in Christ Jesus but exactly what he is called to do (and where and how he is called to do it).
Believers like that absolutely turn the world upside down for Jesus.
That’s why the devil is vehemently committed to keeping you in Vague Land when it comes to understanding God’s plan for your life. Have you ever been in Vague Land? I certainly have and I can tell you, it’s a miserable place to be.
In Vague Land, you desperately want to fulfill God’s plan for your life—you want to go to the specific church, work the specific job, live in the particular city, and do the specific good works that He has uniquely called you to do. You surrender yourself wholeheartedly to Him again and again. You get on your knees and say, “Lord, I’ll do anything You want me to do.”
But there’s one huge problem. You’re not sure exactly what His will is. Although you may have a general sense of it, when it comes to specifics, you have only a vague idea about them.
I don’t mind telling you, I hate vague ideas. I’m fed up with vague. Especially when it comes to knowing the will of God, when it comes to understanding exactly what He wants me to do and how He wants me to do it in this particular season of life—vague stinks!
Look in the dictionary and you can see why. It says something that’s vague is not clearly expressed or outlined. It’s inexplicit, lacking definite shape, form or character. It’s indistinctly felt, perceived, understood or recalled.
That’s the Tail of My Tiger!
Tell me, how on earth am I ever going to be sure I’m pleasing God and fulfilling His particular plan for my life if that plan is not clearly expressed or outlined to me? How can I follow a plan that’s inexplicit, lacking in definite shape and indistinctly perceived?
I can’t! Neither can you! Neither can any other believer!
“Well, that’s obvious,” you might say. “I can see that. But why all the exclamation points? Why get so riled up about such a simple truth?”
Because it is the tail that’s attached to my tiger! That truth positively proves God never wants us to be uncertain about His plan for our lives. He never intended for us to wander around week after week, month after month, even year after year with no clear direction or focus. It was never His will for us to spend seasons of our lives in Vague Land just waiting around for Him to reveal to us exactly what to do and how to do it.
No, God hates Vague Land even more than we do. That’s why He said, “…do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17, The Amplified Bible).
Think about something for a moment. What do you think would happen in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ if we all suddenly discovered God’s exact plan for our lives and began to pursue it with everything in us? What would happen if you could walk up to any born again person, ask them what they’re called to do and they could answer with absolute clarity telling you not only God’s overall purpose for their lives but the specific directions He’s given them for the season they are in right now?
Little, Lying Devils
You know as well as I do what would happen. The church would rise up like a giant overnight. She would begin to work exactly like God designed her to work—each member in the right place at the right time giving exactly the supply of the Spirit they were ordained by God to give.
The gates of hell itself could not prevail against a church like that.
Now do you understand why the devil would fight so hard to keep you from laying hold of the revelation of God’s specific will for you? Now do you understand why there have been times when you have prayed and prayed, asking God to show you what to do and where to go, practically begging Him for direction and clear instructions…and it seemed you received no answer?
Religion told us it was because God wanted us to stumble on in the darkness so we could learn to “walk by faith.” Little, lying devils convinced us it was because the Lord just wasn’t ready to reveal His plan to us. They led us to believe we had to fold our hands and wait like good little Christians until God saw fit to drop a few crumbs of revelation on our darkened paths.
Recently, I’ve begun to realize now how many times in my life I was waiting in frustration for God to reveal His specific will to me about something when all the while God was waiting on me to pick up my sword like Eleazar son of Dodo and fight my way through to that revelation!
He was waiting for me to take up the battle so that He could give me the victory!
Not Just Servants But Sons and Friends
“Well, I just don’t believe we can make God tell us anything we want to know,” somebody might say. “There are some things that must just remain a mystery to us.”
That may be so, but God’s specific will and direction for our lives is not one of them. If it were, He wouldn’t have inspired the Apostle Paul to pray for the Colossians to be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9-10).
Although it’s true that the Lord usually gives us information on a need-to-know basis, the fact is we need to know His specific will and plan for our lives as a whole, and we need to know exactly what we are supposed to be doing to fulfill that plan right now.
At times, I’ve tried to struggle along knowing just one of those things and not the other. I’ve tried to tell myself, for example, that all I need to know is what God wants me to do today. I don’t have to see the big picture. I don’t have to understand God’s overall purpose and plan for me.
I can just get up in the morning, have my prayer time and then put my hand to whatever He has set before me. Do my job. Minister to the folks He puts in my path. Walk in love. Eat dinner. Go to bed and get up and do it again tomorrow.
Granted, that in itself is a better way of life than many people ever experience but it is not God’s best for us. It causes us to live like servants of God rather than like His sons and His friends.
Read John 15:15 and you’ll see why I say that. There, Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
We’re Jesus’ friends and He wants to tell us some stuff! He wants to give us a greater revelation of the gifts He has put within us. He wants to show us what they are, why they’re there and what He intends us to accomplish with them. He wants us know where we’re going in life and precisely what steps we should be taking today to get there.
He doesn’t want us to be like the common servant who is just mindlessly, obediently laying one brick upon another with no idea what he is building. He wants us to live like sons of the Master Builder. He wants to put our Father’s blueprints in our hands. He wants us to have the zeal and dedication that arises in the hearts of men who know they are not just laying bricks but building a temple!
Press Toward What…Where?
If you want to see how that kind of person lives, look at the Apostle Paul. From the time of his conversion, he knew what he was called to do. He understood God’s purpose for his life on earth. He knew he was a chosen vessel of God to bear the Name of Jesus before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel and he knew what he would have to suffer to do that (Acts 9:15-16).
What’s more, we see that throughout Paul’s life he received very specific instructions and direction from the Lord as to how to fulfill that purpose.
As a result, Paul was never complacent. He was never lukewarm about the work of God. He was one of the most passionate, productive, self-sacrificing saints this earth has ever seen. Day after day, he pressed on to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus had laid hold of him.
“Brethren,” he wrote, “I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).
No doubt, your heart like mine longs to follow Paul’s example. You want to press to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of you. But how can we press toward something if we don’t know exactly what it is?
How can we press toward something that is vague and undefined? How can we be passionate about something that is formless and indistinct?
We can’t! Therefore, we must go after the knowledge of God’s will with fervor and ferocity. We must determine that we will ask Him and ask Him and ask Him until we receive it. We will seek and seek and seek until we find it. We will knock and knock and knock until the door to the knowledge of our destiny finally opens.
We must decide we will not be satisfied with a little understanding. We will not be satisfied with vague and general direction. We will not be satisfied with anything less than the full and clear understanding of God’s will for our lives!
Three Kinds of Prayer
Notice I said, as Jesus did in Matthew 7:7, that we must ask…seek…and knock. All three of those things are included in believing prayer but they differ in intensity. At times, when there is little demonic resistance to something, all we have to do to receive from God is make a simple petition. We just ask and receive.
At other times, however, asking doesn’t fully get the job done. We also have to seek. That requires more energy and focus. We have to spend time in prayer, praying with our understanding and in other tongues, searching our hearts for the answer. We have to wait before the Lord in worship and the Word, all the while keeping our spiritual eyes open (or our spiritual antennae up) so that we can see what God is revealing to us.
Sometimes, even that isn’t quite enough. If we encounter spiritual resistance because the devil is trying to stop us from receiving our answer, we may have to knock for a while. We may have to apply some spiritual force or pressure until we break through that resistance.
Over the years, I’ve found that each of these kinds of prayer require different degrees of spiritual strength. Seeking takes more strength than simply asking, and knocking takes even more strength than seeking. That’s why so many times we drop out of prayer before we get what we need. We run out of energy. Unlike Eleazar, we get tired and walk off the battlefield before the Philistines have been fully conquered. We put down our sword before it is joined to our hand.
Strengthen Your Heart and Sharpen Your Sword
How do we keep that from happening? By nourishing ourselves on “words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6). By meditating, confessing and praying over God’s Word on the matter until the devil himself cannot get that Word away from us.
When it comes to knowing God’s will for our lives, we settle down on verses like Proverbs 29:18 so that when the devil tries to tell us that God is never going to give us a vision for our lives, we can rebuke him and say, “It is written that where there is no vision, the people perish! God doesn’t want me to perish so He will reveal that vision to me!”
…Or 1 Corinthians 2:12 so that when the devil tries to tell us that we’re too spiritually dense to grasp God’s will we can say, “I have received, not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God that I might know the things that have been freely given to me by God. I have the mind of Christ!
…Or Proverbs 25:2 so that when the devil says God has hidden His plan from us and we should let it stay that way, we can tell him, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to search it out. I’m a king and a priest before God and it’s His will for me to search out His perfect will!”
…Or Proverbs 4:9 and 16:16 so that when the devil tries to convince us we don’t have time to spend praying in tongues for hours searching out God’s plan for our lives because we have other more important things to do, we can remind him God has said that “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. How much better to get wisdom than gold! And understanding rather than silver!”
…Or John 14:26 so that when we feel like we’re alone in our search for God’s will, we can remember that Jesus promised that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…”
If You’re Sure, You Won’t Quit
The more these truths become real to us, the more willing and able we will be to stay in the battle until we see the victory. The more willing we will be to ask until we receive, seek until we find, and knock until the door opens. The more certain we will be that God will give this good gift of knowing His specific will and plan to those who ask Him.
Such certainty is absolutely vital to persevering prayer. If you have any degree of uncertainty, you may stay with it for a while but if the answer is delayed, eventually you’ll do exactly what Jesus said not to do. You’ll faint, lose heart, and give up (Luke 18:1, Amp. Bible).
Some time ago, the Lord gave me a natural illustration that helped me see why this is true. He reminded me of times when I was a teenager at school and somebody lost a contact lens. A whole herd of us would get down on our knees, put our faces an inch or two from the ground and start searching for it. If we didn’t find it right away, we’d look up at the person who lost the lens and say, “Are you sure you lost it here?”
If they said they were sure, we’d all put out faces back to the ground and keep searching. We’d look…and look…and look with great faith, expecting at any moment to find the contact lens that we had been assured was there somewhere.
But if the person who lost the lens began to express doubt, the hunters would quickly get discouraged. If that person said, “Well…maybe I didn’t lose it here. Maybe I lost it on my way to school. Maybe I lost it at home…” before long we’d all give up and go on our way. After all, who wants to spend all day looking for something that might not even be there?
Nobody, that’s who!
The same is true spiritually, if we are not certain if God is going to reveal His will to us about a particular matter, we may pray about it for a while; we may search for a season; we may even knock on the door a few times—but if nothing seems to happen, we’ll just get on with our lives the best we can. We’ll just keep stumbling along in the spiritual twilight of Vague Land, hoping that by some anointed accident we’ll just happen to fulfill God’s perfect will.
Get the Big Picture
I know not only from the Word but from personal experience just how dramatically clear and specific God’s will can be to me. There have been times, that Kelly and I were able to walk by faith through circumstances that normally would have frightened us—simply because we knew that we knew exactly what God wanted us to do.
We knew what…we knew where…we knew when…and we knew how. And, as a result, our path was so paved with the grace and provision of God, we felt like we were living out the book of Acts.
That was wonderful. But now I know that was only a taste of what God wants to do for us. It was only a glimpse of a much bigger and more detailed picture He wants to reveal to us. And I am setting my heart on seeing that picture.
If I do, I won’t have to spend the final days of my life wondering whether or not I accomplished my divine mission. I won’t have to ask, “Did I fight a good fight? Did I finish my course?” I’ll be able to confidently declare as Paul did:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me. (2 Tim. 4:7-8)