Recently, I had two similar encounters that demonstrate God’s desire to pour out increased discernment on his Church to discern between premature, man-made satisfaction and true godly solutions in this current season of global transformation. As the global church experiences a large scale season of refinement, we face high cost decisions. Both individuals and organizations must allow God to continue refining them instead of taking the easy way. God is calling his people to remain in a place of testing, prefer his ways, and not take disastrous shortcuts.
In Failing to Act, and/or Choosing what is Comfortable
I saw two separate water slide tunnels from on the shore. From where I was standing, on the left was a highly dangerous tunnel with larger waves, sharper ascents and descents, and less protective water volume. On the right was a lit tunnel that had a moderate slope, comfortable water volume, and reasonably sized waves.
As individuals entered the stream, they had to steer to decide which tunnel they would pass through. I watched in the third person as a character steered themself and their siblings through the safer tunnel. Then, another group of characters entered the stream. While they tried to steer towards they safer tunnel, they ultimately lost control because they were confused about which tunnel was which.
Once individuals entered the stream, they realized that the safe and scary tunnels were on opposite sides as the people expected. If individuals carried the same expectations for safety and risk as they had while on the shore, they would end up steering towards danger. There was a specific pivoting motion that needed to happen directly before the intersection of the two tunnels in order to pass into the safer tunnel. By not performing this pivoting motion, the individuals who did not know how to reach safety would ultimately have to learn about safety firsthand as they passed through the more dangerous tunnel.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.Proverbs 14:12
The majority of individuals who are closely following the Lord right now are going through some kind of furnace. God is changing the rules for what counts as safety as he develops greater trustworthiness in his people. God will reward individuals who have obeyed specific instructions he has given them to leave a place of safety and enter with him into the unknown. If individuals prefer comfort instead of obeying specific instructions he has given them for action, God will not abandon them. However, they will extend the amount of time they remain in the furnace and have to experientially learn what trust looks like through a more intense formation experience. To cling to what feels comfortable and fail to respond to God’s specific instructions will ultimately come at a cost.
In Financial Investments
Across the globe, Jesus is in a season of judging the excesses and hidden poverty mindset of capitalism. Jesus is judging the imbalances of this financial structure in order to re-humanize businesses and financial policy-making, and restore the weak.
I saw a group of pigs in a stable. Initially, the pigs were extremely clean. However, someone introduced mud into the stable. Over time, the pigs forgot the sensation of cleanliness as a subtle layer of dirt became ingrained into their skin. Like the part of the movie Spirited Away where the humans forgot their identities and began to live as animals, these pigs became desensitized to the difference between clean and dirty. There was a great amount of sorrow over the people’s decision to give up their reason.
Jesus’ response was to present the people with a set of small unripe grapes, as a choice. In choosing to eat the grapes, some individuals would invariably pucker at their bitter, pithy aftertaste. The grainy sour barrenness of the grapes made the people long for a fresher taste. The people began to long for ripe fruit as satisfaction and water for cleansing.
Some individuals will eat the bitter fruit, while others crush it beneath their feet. The people will need to be discerning in order to detect the bitterness in the fruit before they consume it. They will not be able to distinguish between sweet and bitter without having his words in their mouths.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!Psalm 119:103
In this this time of inflation and economic pressure, each individual will be held responsible for their own financial decisions.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.Isaiah 55:1
For those who make God’s word their satisfaction, God will give each one financial strategy through highlight specific verses in the bible. Individuals who shape their personal and professional investments around the strategies that God gives them in hiding will not taste bitterness, but will experience favor in their investments as long as they continue to model Christ’s character towards the weak. They will carry Christlike wisdom and generosity, from the value that they place on Christ’s words and his people.
In decisions to obey God at a cost and allow financial strategies to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, individuals and organizations must rely on God’s wisdom instead of man’s. The Church must position herself to receive and act in an increase of discernment, to judge between what is overly simple and leads to death and what costs but leads to life. We must ask God to remove any deception and broken lenses that hinder us from perceiving and acting in his perfect will.
For Obedience: Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you with courage and faith to enter or remain in a place of costly worship. Give God permission to keep you in a place of formation until God’s purpose has been fully accomplished.
For Finances: Ask God to reveal any ways you have partnered with deception or fear in your financial choices in this season. Ask God for forgiveness, and position yourself to receive fresh insight from his word.