Have You Been in Seasons of Barrenness?
Have you ever been in a season when everything seems to go wrong? In fact, as a Believer, sometimes it seems as if everything just gets worse! Yep! And then we start running! We run to our best friend. Then we run to our next best friend. And then we run to the pastor or counselor. We cry out (loudly!) for help, but we are finding no solutions.
The problem (and the void) that we are experiencing is not something we can put our finger on. It's bigger than what man can fix. The difficulty is not a natural issue; it's a season of barrenness which connects with unfruitfulness. I know it feels desolate and bare, but it is a season where our faith can actually become more solid in knowing God's ability (and desire) to intervene.
Some that read this may be thinking or even confessing, "I have prayed, fasted, cried, and used every spiritual method that I know and God still isn't doing anything."
It's frustrating, isn't it? I know. I've been there also!
But if we try to get God to move a little faster, we turn our focus into performing for God, thinking that He is going to see our religious exercises and have pity on us. A season of barrenness is a season of unproductiveness and emptiness. This is not the season to perform, but a season to let God handle what we can't. It is highly possible that we are not doing anything wrong in particular, but let's face it: If we could have pulled this off, we wouldn't be crying out to God for help. It is then, during our most frustrated seasons, that we soon find out that being submitted to God and being completely in submission to God are entirely different.
Reader, keep reading. You're going to really embrace this revelation.
A Spiritual Disconnect?
We can be submitted to what is referred to as a "religious belief system" and yet not be submitted to God.
How can these things be? Think about this a minute.
It's possible that even though our hearts long for His truth and presence, we still could be led astray by a false religious system. Yes! Even in what is often deemed "Christianity"! We see it on the news and read it in the papers almost on a consistent basis. A minister changes the Scripture from "the" truth to "a truth" and suddenly there is a spiritual disconnect.
Jesus was very clear when He said that "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," (John 14:6). Not being submitted to the Word is not being submitted to Christ. Jesus never said that I am "a" way. He never spoke of "a" life. And, definitely not just any father, but "the Father." When we are in full agreement with the Word of God, our marching orders are consistent and effective.
Let me clarify my statement a bit further. Many who minister the Gospel, regardless of their positional authority (meaning someone in oversight), could experience a barrenness of spiritual disconnect, although barrenness is not solely confined to those in ministry. I believe that anyone who ministers the Gospel to others is considered to be a minister. Isn't it amazing that Jesus picked business people to start His ministry? So, a spiritual disconnect producing barrenness can affect ministers in the marketplace as well.
Your Marching Orders
Romans 8:28 says that we "know" that "everything" will work together for good to them that love God and those who are the called according to His purpose. Notice that we are "the called" for "His purpose." Notice that it is not that "we think we know" that all things will work together for our good, but it is based upon relationship with God through faith that we know for sure that our future will work the way the Father has it planned. Even though we are sure to make mistakes, Jesus' plan is still very much in existence and many of our marching orders have yet to be fulfilled.
Listen, if you are in a season that is preventing you from marching forward, then please give yourself some grace. In my recent book, Between Spiritual Seasons, I write about being empowered to shift from one spiritual season to another. For now, please know this: Just because you are not marching does not mean that you do not have an assignment to fulfill.
Sometimes we think that we accepted Christ so that we could become a better person when, in all actuality, it was He who chose us. He is waiting for us to be properly aligned with His plan so that we can begin to march forward! Some think that we get to choose our own mission, when in reality God already had the mission – He was just waiting for us to line up.
You Were Chosen Before the Foundation of the World
Since we were chosen before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:4), according to His purpose, we have a specific role to establish Heaven on Earth. Everything with which we are challenged while on earth is to prepare us for what He has in store for us. And, yes, I'm referring to your marching orders, which include your purpose and destiny even when nothing seems to be moving forward.
Be encouraged, Dear Ones, and know that you are called and appointed to run with your assignment during this season. Before the foundations of the world, God placed this passion within you. It's your passion. Not someone else's.
I am not talking about being unsubmitted during this season. Catch this! One of the things that help a person through frustrated seasons of feeling dry and lonely is accountability. It's always the enemy's plan to separate and divide. The enemy knows the strength of two or more. So, especially during times of barrenness, stay connected.
When we are weak, He is strong. Remember, it is not by our power or strength, but by His Spirit. Anytime the enemy is fighting hard against us, we must read his mail backwards. Which reminds me of my wife's book,"Silencing the Accuser" by Dr. Sandie Freed. She exposes the eight lies that the enemy uses to take away our marching orders. This is a season to stay focused, not distracted by the enemy.
At This Level of Ministry
As I began to write this article, I sensed the Lord said that at this level of ministry the Body of Christ will have to recognize that this is not about being devoted to religion, but being devoted to our individual assignment of Christ. Even though we function as a Body, "as one," we have individual assignments. He knows that if we allow our past to predict our future, we will continue to come short of His glory. But remember this! We are not tested according to our experiences. We are tested according to our "potential" that the Lord has placed in us. It is the potential that is within that is the big threat to the wicked one. As we march forward with our assignments, it will take us all working together even though we are all at different spiritual levels.
It takes all the pieces of the puzzle to complete the puzzle. If there is one piece that is missing, it becomes an incomplete puzzle. No matter how beautiful the puzzle may be designed to be, if there is one piece missing, it stays unfinished. If we stay separated and individualized, even though we are teaching the same Christ Jesus, we become separated because we have left out others that don't traditionally function the way we were taught.
I believe that we have come a long way from pure traditionalism, but we have such a long way to go towards unity. Our marching orders during this season and at this level of ministry have nothing to do with comparing denominations or the number of years in Bible college. It has absolutely nothing to do with being religious, but has everything to do with representing (re-pre-senting) Christ on earth as it is in Heaven. I know that some will contend and say that we just haven't been taught to do it that way. We shouldn't allow a doctrinal mindset to stop us from joining with the whole Body of Christ for a common purpose. It's about the Kingdom and not you and I. (Photo via Pixabay)
You and I both know that Jesus can be taught from the same Bible many different ways based upon the numerous ways to demonstrate the goodness and mercy of God. For example, it is like in kindergarten, when those of us of my generation were all taught to color within the lines of our coloring books. Our minds were submitted to our teacher so that we could get a passing grade on our coloring, but God placed huge standards and dreams in our anointed minds. I also have to ask, why is it that we who learned to color in the lines successfully often spend the rest of our lives being told to get out of the box if we want to be successful?
Now, let me transfer this simple concept to the Church as we know it today. It is like the disciples when they were out ministering and they came upon some that they could not heal. They came back to Jesus and asked a very good question. "Master! It worked on everyone else, but on this one it didn't. WHY?" Jesus had to tell them to get outside the lines because this type of sickness requires prayer and fasting on your part instead of actions on their part. It was a new level of ministry.
Don't Stop Now!
Let me bring in a final point that can affect our focus on our marching orders. A hurt or spiritual wound can sometimes cause a Believer to take a side street. When we are in a "quitting season," we want to give up regardless of the cost. Don't stop marching! I promise that God will come through for you. Your marching orders have not been cancelled. Many Believers lose vision during times of desperation. I have taught on regaining vision for years, and if you have lost vision, I believe this book can empower you.
Let me say again that when we are challenged the greatest, that is when we grow spiritually the most. Marching uphill is always harder than marching downhill. In my book, Regaining Vision, I discuss the tragic effects of those who lose hope and vision, which causes us all to stop marching.
Proverbs 29:18 says that we simply cannot go forward successfully without a vision. Anytime that there is loss of vision, there is doubt and unbelief. Anytime there is rejection, there is shame. Anytime an opportunity does not spiritually line up with the peace of God, it is possible that it is not you but that there is something wrong with the opportunity. Many times we want to quit or stop because we can't fix something that needs to be fixed. Don't stop marching. You may only need to change your method. Your new level of ministry is upon you. Your marching orders will take you through to the other side.
May the Lord richly bless you and keep you. Be encouraged!
Let me pray for you:
Father, I pray a blessing over every reader. I speak hope and success to Your children of faith. Lord, it is You whom we serve with our gifts and talents. Lord, bless Your servants and give them strength to fulfill purpose and commission. I speak NO MORE DELAY over them concerning their breakthrough. Whatever concerns Your sons and daughters concerns You. Holy Spirit, I ask that You bring comfort to those who are in turmoil and are burned out and those that have lost vision. You are truly the Comforter. I pray that this season of barrenness stops immediately and their vision is revitalized and refreshed going into this new level. We thank You and trust You. Amen.
Apostle Mickey Freed is Senior Pastor of Lifegate Church International and has been an ordained minister with Christian International for over twenty-six years. Mickey and his wife Dr. Sandie Freed have just recently planted Lifegate Church International in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. They also were successful in the marketplace as a custom home builder for over thirty years. Mickey presently serves on Dr. Bill Hamon's Board of Governors. Mickey has traveled nationally and internationally ministering the Word of God. He brings stability to an environment of change, and works with pastors and leaders to establish a solid foundation for Church growth. Apostle Mickey's teaching on "Church growth," along with his new teaching manual, is equipping Church leaders to build their Church in the 21st century.
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Lifegate Church International (LCI)
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