In The Beginning
In the many years of traveling in ministry, I have seen a key between success and failure, of staying on the cutting edge or of falling behind into complacency. It’s a simple key; not one that is always easy because of human reasoning, pressure and stress—but it assures us of peace and victory if we practice it.
The key begins in the first verse of the Bible. Genesis 1:1 is the measuring rod of all divine purpose:
IN THE BEGINNING GOD……
In everything we attempt, believers and leaders alike, God must be at the beginning of it. Not in the middle. We can’t try a work from heaven, then look up and say, “God will You bless this?” or “See this God? I’m doing this for You.”
Sometimes, because of the fast-paced generation we live in, we are pressured to “be the best” or to be so “success-oriented” we leave God far behind us.
When we begin with God, every work we attempt is completed with the accuracy of Heaven. If we begin with ourselves, then we are motivated by “good ideas” and we fall prey to suggestions and opinions. Soon, our lives become marked by ambition instead of the strength of God.
Ambition is a killer to the moves of God. Simon, a sorcerer who became born-again, wanted to pray for the power to perform miracles (Acts 8:18-23). Peter told him he would be judged for the bitterness in his heart of he did not repent. He went on to tell him that the power of God could not be bought. In other words, there is a price to pay; but it is paid in the heart of man, not in the motives of ambitious thinking or ambitious goals to get ahead or be seen.
Bitterness breeds ambition. When we are filled with bitterness, we are determined to make an impact on a situation just to prove we are worth something or that we can make it. That motivation always ends in disaster, no matter how successful it seems at the moment.
For example, in Genesis 11, we can read a very interesting story. The people had come together as one, but they were not in the Spirit. They were one in their minds. They had decided to build a tower that would reach to Heaven. They had the imagination, the skill and the unity to do it. But verse 4 gives us the key of why it failed.
And they said, Go to, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; AND LET US MAKE A NAME……
Their plans did not begin with God. They used their own intellect to attempt a spiritual goal. As a result, God intervened and confused the entire project and it failed. Because they did not begin with God, He came in during the last of it, and destroyed it.
Goals not inspired by Heaven are foolish. Every work we attempt will either be by the spirit or by the flesh. Understand this; God WILL come into your plans. But the choice is yours whether you allow Him to begin it, or force Him to end it.
David was one of many who taught us the success of beginning all endeavors with God. When challenged by the greatest feat of his young life, he responded to the enemy in front of him.
…for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands ( 1 Samuel 17:47)
The next verse says David then “ran” toward his enemy, with total confidence of victory. The more he talked about God in the face of his foe, the more strength and faith he produced inside of himself to finish the ordeal. He didn’t try to conquer the giant on his past victories alone, to make a name for himself. He didn’t go out to meet Goliath in Saul’s armor; or in other words, in the strength of another man’s suggestion or opinion. He chose to begin his feat with God: and the more he talked about Him, the more he became equipped to do the job in front of him. And he conquered the enemy that all of Israel feared and hid from. In doing so, he did make a name for himself. , but his heart remained totally subjected to God.
How do you begin with God? In every goal you envision, stop and wait to hear from Heaven. David envisioned the fall of his enemy several times before he moved out to secure it. He stirred himself with the faith of God until he had the strength to begin it.
Years ago, I was told this valuable one-sentence parable: The higher the building, the deeper the foundation. If your goals are high, then your foundation in God must be deep and strong. The higher the vision goes, the stronger the winds are felt.
YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO BEGIN ANYTHING WITHOUT GOD, OR IT WILL CRUMBLE.
God may tell you of His plan years before you are ready to begin it. When you receive a plan, check with Heaven and search out your surroundings to find the correct timing. If you are to wait, then spend this time nurturing yourself in the Word of God. Spend time in prayer, establishing a strong relationship with Him. Let Him show you the factors of how you must position yourself and train the people around you. Allow time to be your friend, and use it to develop yourself. Surround yourself with the right associations, those that have good godly character and love the presence of God. Be with those that have paid the price and are seasoned and well-balanced by the Word and the Spirit. If you do these things, your vision can be intensified by the fire of Heaven. Strength will come and you will be aware of the proper timing to begin.
We all have our place in the Body of Christ. Some are called to lead; others must hear from God to be anointed in following. Whatever your position, whatever your goal, remember these four life-giving words that will always keep you on the edge of the Spirit:
In the beginning God……
As you begin with God be blessed in your divine commission for this year.