Breakthrough is an act of overcoming or penetrating an obstacle or restriction, and ready to be at the offensive in penetrating what has held us bound. The word sounds like something sudden or quick despite the obstruction, yet advancing. The good thing about it is, when achieved it permits further progress.
In seeking God’s face, the Spirit of God asked me questions when I was demanding answers to my problems. The first question was, “When problems refuse to go and obstacles prevent you from achieving success, how do you respond?” My responses are: Sometimes I turn back and sometimes I wait or stop. Long waiting without action or not knowing what to do may result in frustration, which may end up in defeat. In rare times, I allowed the obstacle to change my course, which reduced the chances of success. My final response was that I sometimes summon courage and confront to overcome.
Then the Spirit of God began to deal with me further, and I understood that the same sun that hardens the clay melts wax. We may all be subject to the same opportunities, but while some fail others succeed; some have breakthroughs while others break down. Moses sent twelve spies to the Promised Land. They all were given the same instruction (Num. 13:17–20). They all returned from the search after forty days and came back with the fruit of the land. Caleb was excited to go up and take the land along with Joshua, but others were not willing because they counted themselves “not able.” They broke down while Joshua and Caleb were ready to break through despite the giants in the land. Same opportunity, same exposure, but not the same outcome.
Jacob and Esau were born of the same parents, and can be regarded as twins. They were raised up together, but Jacob had his breakthrough of blessing while Esau had a breakdown (Gen. 25:24–26).
When Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt along with the chief butler and chief baker of Pharaoh, they both had dreams that they shared with Joseph for interpretation (Gen. 40). They both served Pharaoh and were imprisoned together, yet one had a breakthrough while the other broke down. So we see people of the same background and the same carrier opportunities and exposure; while some fail others succeed. The difference between those who have breakthroughs and those who break down is that while those who break down fear that they may fail, those who break through fear rather that they might never succeed if they do not dare to try. Those who break down fear that someone may laugh at their mistakes while breakthrough people see laughter as an envious attack to be ignored. Those who break through discover their strength in the midst of adversity, but those who break down fear oppositions and accusations. Challenges may come, but maintaining a winner’s attitude while overcoming the most difficult circumstances is a way to break through. When you break down, it doesn’t mean life is over or you are a fool or inferior, rather it does mean you have to do something different and might have to learn some lessons to correct your ways.
Pass Through It or Take It Away
Everyone prays not to have problems, but this seems impracticable because it is part of life. And when we do have a problem, most people’s desire is for God to take it away. We seek for solutions, pray for answers, but oftentimes the problem persists. This keeps us wondering if God still loves us or still answers prayers. No one wants problems to last long without a way out or a solution to end the problem. We cannot ignore it, neither can we run away from it; it will pursue us wherever we go. Is there hope for us in the way we handle problems? I would like to be honest with you as you read on: you either go through the problem or it is taken away. If you try hard to get rid of it, and it is not going away, you might have to go through it. And if you have to go through it, be it known to you that you cannot jump steps. Also there might be lessons to learn; if you refuse to get the lesson and experience for each stage of the problem, repetition is guaranteed. This fortifies you well enough to confront any future problem.
Jesus, the Son of God made manifest in the flesh, was faced with two options when confronted with His greatest trial—abandon the cross or face it. He earnestly prayed to God because He never wanted to yield to the weakness of the flesh.
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” …Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” —Matthew 26:39, 42.
He desired that it could be taken away and He would not have to pass through it because the agony and torture of death were unbearable. As wonderful as God’s love was for Him, He made Jesus pass through it, never taking it away. David, the shepherd and king of Israel, said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). Even though it was a valley full of death traps, he fearlessly walked through it because God was with him. My understanding used to be that if God is with me, He will not let me walk through such a deadly valley. He will make another route. Yes, of course, He’s a way maker, but His will must be accomplished. I just have to trust Him. If He permits it, there must be reasons beyond my understanding. When David walked it through, he became a better man to lead the people of God.
Apostle Paul wrestled with a situation he referred to as a “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan” (2 Cor. 12:7, KJV). This was a great torment for him, and he sought the face of God three times to take it away from him; but the divine response was, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9, KJV). The reason God allowed it was to keep him from exalting self. Here was a man who loved God and was dedicated to His work, but God permitted him to go through it. Does God still love him? Absolutely! Will God still use him to help others? Yes, even mightily.
Job in the Bible can be considered a man who experienced breakthrough and also had a breakdown; his breakdown was but for a moment, and he broke through again. I have seen people rise and fall, and never rise again. I have also seen people who were down never rise, and those who rise no matter what comes their way. Job was a man noted for multiple afflictions, great loss, and repeated tragedies. He was a man who sought God in his deep trials; but as though God was afar, difficult to appease, and impossible to reach. He was mocked by friends and abandoned by relatives. He was a godly man who led his family in the way of the Lord, and a man whom God could boast of as being upright and perfect (Job 1:8). He likened his multiple afflictions to being stripped of God’s glory and his crown taken from his head (Job 19:9). The devil felt that if anyone is a victim of a series of trials, they will abandon faith; but this was not true with Job. Even today, the righteous are going through multiple trials; at such times God seems to be unreachable, and peace becomes the hardest thing to ever imagine.
The hardest part for Job was when his wife counselled him, “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). He was visited by friends whom he termed “miserable comforters” (Job 16:1–2). They were indeed troublesome in their approach, which was never helpful to Job. Eliphaz’s approach was based on human experience, while Bildad focused on human tradition, and Zophar on human merit. Elihu’s concern was different, and he charged Job with wickedness and folly. Human experience, however good, may not provide enough evidence to condemn anyone because God’s ways are not our ways. Beliefs and customs may not apply to every trial, while judging based on ability and achievements may be a wrong way to go. How was Job able to break through despite his breakdown? This is a great lesson for us who desire nothing but breakthrough. He began by acknowledging the greatness of his past, the humiliation of his present, and desiring God to answer him. When our past cannot help us and neither can our present, then it is time to turn it all to God who can make our future better. I learned from Job’s life how to handle breakdowns: never justify myself, rather justify God; do not speak rashly; and never rebel against sovereign justice. He overcame at last. He was restored to honor and dignity. However long affliction may last, we can surely outlast it with shouts of triumph. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken” (Ps. 34:19–20).
How we perceive a problem and the way we express it will determine the way out. I do ask myself some mind-probing questions about how I qualify problems. When I get into trouble, what do I relate it to? Some people will say, “I’m going through hell,” or, “It is like I‟m being imprisoned.” Others consider a problem to be a “mountain,” “valley,” “storm,” or “wind that passed away.” The psalmist considered problems to be “sink in deep mire,” “deep waters,” and “floods” (Ps. 69:2; 14–15).
Whatever way is classified, it is a need yearning for a solution. I like to consider a breakdown as a ditch in the valley. The valley can be deep enough, but the valley full of ditches is an indication of deep issues to be resolved. This was the prophetic order given by Prophet Elisha: “And he said, „Thus says the Lord: “Make this valley full of ditches”‟” (2 Kg. 3:16). Ditches in the valley? Yes it is a valley but not deep enough. Several years ago, the Lord spoke to me saying, “Make more room in your valley, for I will turn your valley state to victory ground.” This bothered me for a few days, saying how much room I could make in this valley state! I prayed about it and discovered that it is possible to need God and not have enough room for Him. When God occupies our valleys and fills it with His fullness, it will not be deep enough to contain His glory. Yours could be a void, a need, low self-image, or deep wounds; the prophetic fulfillment is: “For thus says the Lord: „You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink‟” (2 Kg. 3:17). However complicated the matter may be, it is “but a light thing in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kg. 3:18, KJV). There was no sign of rain, flood, or wind, but both valley and ditches were filled with water. Oh, for a generation that seeks for signs! There was no outward demonstration; the solution came quickly. Even though I personally enjoy seeing things shaking and stirred up, I have learned by experience that it may not always be by noise, shaking, jittering, or unnecessary quietness that bring miracles. Rather it is by God’s determinate will and purpose. His will and purpose are far different from ours. He chooses what pleases Him. The day brought sunlight shining upon the water and becoming red as blood in the sight of Moabites (2 Kg. 3:22). The water was to quench their thirst and meet their needs. God’s glory shone upon the water. The glory of God filled the valley and the ditches, and it became a trap to the enemies. What refreshes us when incubated in glory can bring the destruction of our adversaries. So, seek for God’s glory to fill your valley, and your needs shall be met while joy is restored.
I am grateful to God Almighty on how He has helped me to achieve breakthrough in various aspect of lives. The way breakthrough comes is not similar in each situation. Of course, it differs, but I am putting the sum of my experiences together on how I overcame in different areas of life. I pray the following will be of great help to you:
Holy Spirit conviction
This is a great way to start, as the Holy Spirit brings to our awareness areas we need to work on. If we allow Him, He encourages us not to lose hope. It all begins by asking, presenting the need, and asking Him to search out and reveal the way forward.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” —Romans 8:26–27
Whatever is hidden to us, it is not so with the Holy Spirit. He can reveal and strengthen to overcome.
Getting Rid of Wilderness Mentality
The children of Israel left Egypt, but they had to pass through the wilderness. It is so unfortunate that so many people perished in the wilderness and never made it to the Promised Land. To them, the wilderness was like a trap; they couldn’t return to Egypt, even though they attempted it, but it was impossible because there was the Red Sea to cross and any other way was a war zone, occupied by other nations. Neither could they move forward to the Promised Land because giants abounded in the land. So they were trapped in the wilderness. So are we also today; the world cannot absorb us, and we seem not to know the way forward. Therefore, the wilderness mentality is to always look back to our years of captivity and never have a vision of the Promised Land. Even though they witnessed God’s miracles, signs, and wonders, they were unappreciative and despised divine provision; so they wandered in the wilderness until they perished. Wilderness mentality makes us go through life in circles, never reaching our promised land.
How do I know I have wilderness mentality? I can tell based on experience that it is when I am becoming godless in thinking with vain imaginations; these are signs to watch out for. Also it is when I am fearful of the past, having no confidence about the future and discouraged about the present. Then I know I have to shake off the dust of the wilderness. I wouldn’t allow it to stick to me for too long, or else I am trapped.
How do we break free from wilderness mentality? I strongly believe that our knowledge of God is a mighty weapon. I carefully studied the “I know” of some individuals in the Bible and discovered that it was a key to their deliverances. What we know saves us from ignorance:
- “What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you” (Job 13:2). Hence, through knowledge he broke the bondage of inferiority.
- “See now, I have prepared my case, I know that I shall be vindicated” (Job 13. 18). Applying what he knew established justice.
- “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth” (Job 19:25). His knowledge about the Redeemer gave him the assurance of victory and recovery of lost heritage.
- “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2). Knowing God can do everything, however hard or difficult, refreshes the soul and breaks the wilderness mentality.
- “By this I know that You are well pleased with me, Because my enemy does not triumph over me” (Ps. 41:11). Satisfying divine pleasure is a key to victory.
- “When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me” (Ps. 56:9). Knowing that God is for you terrifies the enemies. Moreover, when you cry to Him, the wicked flee.
- “For I know that the Lord is great, And our Lord is above all gods” (Ps. 135:5). Knowing God’s greatness empowers your soul
- “Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going” (John 8:14). Jesus knew His purpose, and He could not be distracted, neither could He abandon it; but He pursued it with all His might.
- “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1:12). Knowing whom you believe takes away shame to establish unwavering faith of bringing to pass what you have trusted Him for.
- “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Ask yourself: Do I love God? Am I called according to His purpose, even the eternal purpose of salvation? Then all things will surely work for your good.
What we know of God makes us celebrate His goodness and greatness; we can live each moment of our lives with gratitude because “knowledge is power.” I counsel that you desire to know more about God and pursue His presence and He will reveal Himself to you. His knowledge destroys wilderness mentality.
Living By Faith
No one can break through without faith. It takes faith to confront your problem. Faith is needed to despise the shame of failure and to keep holding on to God with thanksgiving and praise. Faith assures success. It is both a defensive and an offensive weapon. We are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), and without it we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith in God is not the imagination or the wishing of things; rather it is the conviction of the reality. “Now faith means that we have full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see” (Heb. 11:1, Phillips).
Pressing Unto Completion
Breakthrough is having all that is needed to finish well. Contrary to this, so many people become wary and can’t hold to the end. “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride” (Ecc. 7:8, NLT). I also love this: “Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out” (Ecc.7:8, The Message). I am intrigued by nameless stories of those who started well and finished well. One of my favorites was Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, “The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you” (Zech. 4:9). Jesus came to do His Father’s will and completed it: “Jesus said to them, „My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work‟” (John 4:34). And surely He did. I have learned by experience never to despise days of new beginnings (Zech. 4:10), when things look rough as though there is no future in it. Be it known to you that the formative stage of a life, as crucial as it is, is always not impressive. As we rejoice seeing the beginning of a thing, we should not give up when challenges arise but rather be certain, pressing on until there is a flourishing finish. Move to each step having in mind your glorious ending. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Increasing number of people are becoming unhappy, losing hope and courage, not because of lack of food and shelter, but partly because of non-fulfillment of one’s expectations, resulting into anguish of mind. We are creature designed to be functional – useful and operating correctly. When this fails, we are stressful and troubled; becoming hard to deal with and hard to bear. Our sense organs are gates to our soul. What we see, hear or perceive can determine healthy or damaging emotions. Anything that makes us unhappy and plunges us to sadness, feeling upset, can produce bad effect to our soul. When we hurt, it takes deep roots into our soul. Expression of sorrow, pains, hurts and wounds spring up from the deep roots of abuse and inner conflicts.
“Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison”, (Heb. 12:15 (GNT)). Bitter parents will raise bitter children. Bitter children may develop crushed emotion and contaminate others with insidious character. Allowing bitter root to grow brings the harvest of pain. We can be bitter about anything such as painful memories…
What do you do when you are at a loss and every step of recovery fails, yet encompassed by battles? When skill and connecting with friends and helpers prove insufficient? Yet we are in the world that has no sympathy for losers, no apathy for the defeated and insensitive to people’s need. It’s hard to know how many people have become insecure and uncertain about the future because of the unpleasant past. Lamentably, the past makes mockery of the future. It becomes a big struggle to escape the failure of the past. Hurts and wounds if not healed, create regrettable past. The past, if unconquered, can cause wounded self image, low self esteem and weakened inner strength. It is time to break free from the cycle of rejection, betrayal and condemnation that have caused you traumatic impact. You can arise from your unawesome past and embrace a more fulfilling future. The good news is “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
“Hurts and wounds if not healed, create regrettable past. The past, if unconquered, can cause wounded self image, low self esteem and weakened inner strength.”
Resurrected Jesus remains continually unchanging and unfailing. He can heal your past, blessed your present and prosper your future. He is able to deliver your past from affliction, transform your present and give you a better tomorrow. His blood can cure the wounds of your past, reverse evil experiences and rescue you from the fears of tomorrow. He can ransom your tormenting past, open your heart to love again and make your future honorable. Don’t be trapped by the battle of the past and the fears of tomorrow; it is an ambushment to your soul. “And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets“ (2 Chr. 13:14).
The people of Judah were attacked at on both front and rear. What do you do when you’re confronted with battles before (future) and behind (past)? How you react to the conflicting situations around you will determine your way of escape. The people of Judah “cried unto the Lord”. It is unfortunate that many people today will murmur, complain and in bitterness, mock God. This wrong approach will only make the matter worse. Crying unto God with unshaken trust brings deliverance. “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses” (Psa. 107:13).
Squalus was a US Sargo-Class submarine known for her tour of duty in the Pacific war during World War II. Launched on September 14th, 1938 and commissioned on March 1st, 1939. Due to mechanical failure, Squalus sank during a test drive on May 23rd, 1939¹. On her first mission, her maiden voyage, she went 240ft to the bottom of the ocean and smashed. Twenty six people were killed and thirty-six others survived. Squalus test drove in water shallower than her crush depth. She was recovered, repaired, reconditioned, overhauled and re-commissioned on May 15th, 1940, after which she was renamed Sailfish on February 9th, 1940. Sailors generally consider re-naming a ship to be bad luck. “In an ironic turn of fate, Sailfish sank the Japanese aircraft Chuyo”². Made twelve patrols, sank seven Japanese ships. Brought down 22,000-tons aircraft carrier. “Made the most successful patrol by tonnage to date”³. It was de-commissioned on October 27th, 1945.
The same ship that had gone down in horrible defeat, rose again. No matter how badly damaged your past, you might have been smashed and horribly wounded, notwithstanding you can be recovered, repaired, renamed and re-commissioned. You can arise from your sinking past. Your life can be refurbished and become so glorious that the wounds and damages of your past will be a point of praise, after the order of Joseph – “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20). Just as Squalus was raised up again, re-conditioned and repaired, you also can be free from the hurts of your past. Re-condition your mind by not allowing negative imaginations and bitter thoughts to rule your mind. Damages caused by your past need repair, if you must build a glorious future; and the Word of God is the most active means of achieving the promising and fulfilling future. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.” (Psa. 119:9; 116). The submarine was renamed, from Squalus to Sailfish. The past had put a label of failure on you, but it can change. You can disconnect yourself from evil identity and move from failure to success, defeat to victory, and sadness to joy.
“… you might have been smashed and horribly wounded, notwithstanding you can be recovered, repaired, renamed and re-commissioned.”
Sailfish won many awards: Presidential Unit Citation formerly called “the Distinguished Unit Citation” – an award for extraordinary heroism. From a maiden failure to heroic honor. I can’t imagine the negative comments when the submarine smashed and failed. While many people considered it hopeless, she proved them wrong. When you also humble yourself as clay before God, Who is the Potter, He can refurbish you and re-launch you. Being renewed from your ruined past is an awesomeness of a determined mind ready for a better tomorrow. Abijah, the son of Rehoboam was the King of Judah who inherited failure, defeat and loss. His father lost the Kingdom to Jeroboam who had been the servant of King Solomon, his father. How frustrating to see the servant of your father who had served you while growing up, arise to take over your inheritance and war continuously with you. Rehoboam fought hard, but never recovered the lost cities. His son, Abijah brought under the oppression and prevailed, because he “relied upon the LORD GOD” (2 Chr. 13:18). Inherited failure should not be an excuse from attaining greatness. “So Jeroboam did not recover strength again in the days of Abijah; and the Lord struck him, and he died” (2 Chr. 13:20). Now is the time for you also to confront your past failures and bring down the strongman that limits your advancement. Your tomorrow can bring great joy rather than allowing the defeat, hurts, offenses and unforgiveness to ruin your better tomorrow. So, arise from your bitter past to a better today and brilliant tomorrow.
Blood of Jesus Correct my past, repair the damages and establish me in blessings.
Arise, is a command to get up, go up and become functional. It takes willingness and determination to do so. Even if the person cannot get up due to weakness, may cry out for help. Therefore, I challenge you to arise.
“Arise, flee” (Gen. 27:43) – Escape whatever has held you bound.
“Arise, go” (Gen. 28:2) – Advance purposefully in life.
“Arise, go up” (Gen. 35:1; 2 Kg. 1:3) – Mount up with strength beyond your limitation.
“Arise, go again” (Gen. 43:13) – Tried before but failed, make a fresh and purposeful search.
“Arise, go over” (Joshua 1:2) – Overcome the obstacles preventing your progress in life.
“Arise and pursue” (2 Sam. 17:1) – Your goals are worth pursuing.
“Arise, contend” (Micah 6:1) – Confront and conquer your difficult situations.
“Arise from falling” (Micah 7:8) – Falling is common to human, but arising out of your fall to fulfill your dream makes you a champion.
“Arise, and be not afraid” (Matt. 17:7) – Don’t be crippled with fear; push back what hinders you to enlarge your opportunities.
“Arise and walk” (Matt. 9:5) – Start taking steps towards achieving your dreams.
“Arise, and be” (Acts 22:16) – Discover your worth and soar with joy.
“Arise, take” (Gen. 19:15) – Lay hold on the blessings around you.
“I say to you, arise” (Lk. 7:14) – Arise, is a command that can bring you to your next level of fulfillment.
Declaration: “Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come, And the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Isa. 60:1 (AMP)).
Waking up every morning is a gracious act I appreciate. I feel rested, relaxed and alert. When I come out of deep sleep, I am more energized and set for the next activity. Unlike when asleep, though alive, I’m unaware of self and unconscious of my environment. Remaining permanently in sleeping state is to lose the benefits of living. Winston Churchill said, “some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.”[i] The outcome of an awaken person is reflected in his motives. Such a one is set to surmount difficulties and disconnect from failures and losses. The “Evening Primrose”, the beautiful flower, the name associated with evening because the flower blossoms only at night. The going down of the sun does not prevent the flower from blossoming. The amazing fact about this flower is that it can be found in habitat types such as dunes, roadsides and waste areas. “They germinate in a disturbed soils;”[ii] that is, “a temporary change in environmental conditions that causes a pronounced change in an ecosystem”,[iii] such as fire, flood and windstorms. The lesson I learnt from this flower is that the sun may be down and things muddle up; notwithstanding, I can arise from my “disturbed” past and yet blossom.
Awaken out of sleep can boost your strength and cause you to arise to fulfill your purpose in life. Deborah was a great instrument in bringing the twenty years of tyrant rule of Jabin the Canaanite to an end. In her victory song, she said, “Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away, O son of Abinoam!”, (Judges 5:12). She called herself to awake out of the oppressive rule. Then she could call out to Barak, the Army General to “Arise” and lead. Before you can lead others, you must first awake.
Awakening makes you come to being with the ability to do, experience or understand things much better. No wonder the words of the Psalmist echo thus in Psalm 57:8 –
“Awake, mine honor” (YLT)
“Awake, my shining-greatness” (NLV)
“Rouse yourself, my soul! Arise” (TLB)
DECLARATION: I call forth my shining-greatness to awake, arise and be enthroned, in Jesus’ name.
“Tis the voice of the sluggard; I heard him complain, you have waked me too soon; I must slumber again.”¹ – Isaac Watts. I watched a soccer team that fielded star players but still loses games against teams with relatively little obvious talent. The poor achievements despite sound talented players may be as a result of what their coach attributed to poor coordination, unharmonized skill and egocentric. But I see them as losing focus on the higher prize before them. Their ultimate concern should have been winning the tournament, however, they got distracted and became underachievers. When we lose consciousness of our worth, we develop a confused and diverged notions about life.
It is possible to be overly concerned about our problems to the point of ignoring some of our harmful traits and practices. How easy it is for good things to slip away from us through ignorance and slumber. When you fail to acknowledge or put to use the good things about you, it may cause you to languish in need. I recall the right sense of judgment that brought the ancient King of Israel to fame.
“Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him. And one woman said, “O my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. Then it happened, the third day after I had given birth, that this woman also gave birth. And we were together; no one was with us in the house, except the two of us in the house. And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead. But when I had examined him in the morning, indeed, he was not my son whom I had borne.”
Then the other woman said, “No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.”
And the first woman said, “No! But the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.”
Thus they spoke before the king.
And the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son, who lives, and your son is the dead one’; and the other says, ‘No! But your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.’” Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.”
Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!”
But the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.”
So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.”
And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” (1 Kg. 3:16-28)
These two women lived in the same house, both had their babies three days apart. One of the ladies rolled over her child and suffocated the child to death. This baby was a precious gift but suppressed to death. This may apply to many people who slumber to quash their gifts and envy those who put theirs to use. “She rose at midnight”. Midnight hour is always a dark and lonely period of life. She got out of her sleep to see she has killed her own baby. She exchanged her dead baby with the living baby also at midnight, while the other lady slept. During this interchange, she slept off until daylight. She slumbered so deep that she could not sense the dead baby.
When we are not cognizant of how exemplary and meritorious we are, we act unworthy and become contemptible. The nobility in you is desirous of a much fruitful life, treat it venerably lest you’ll be remodeled as vile in your approach to life.
Don’t become so stereotyped that you see yourself common and become irrelevant.
Hold dearly to what you have that makes people see light out of darkness. I counsel you to awake and be not wasted by slumber.
DECLARATION: “‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’” (Eze. 36:33-35)
It’s rare to be widely awake and see a rock and stumble into it. If it’s unnoticed, the possibility of tumbling is high. Marilyn French said “Men stumble over pebbles never over mountains”.¹ Making headway in life is about gaining momentum to embrace the opportunities around us, however, the bumpy road of life may slow us down.
So, when things are working well stick to it and when unsteady don’t give up.
The recession that hits the world’s economy has gripped our hearts with fear and many people are struggling and going through hard times. Nonetheless, you can’t afford to sit on the fence doing nothing and hoping for the best. Such was the case of a man in the ancient city of Troas, by name Eutychus, who in his elevated state slumbered and fell. “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.” (Acts 20:7-12)
Eutychus sat on the window during the midnight gathering. It was midnight, yet the room where they gathered was full of light. Sitting at the window provides the opportunity to partake of what is happening inside and is easy to watch whatever is going on outside – neither here nor there kind of attitude. Whereas other people within the room enjoyed the light, he was seated between light and darkness. The gentle breeze of the late night knocked him into deep sleep. “He was overcome by sleep”. “He fell down from the third loft” – and elevated position.
Eutychus whose name means “Fortunate” was so favored to receive elevation in different levels and under powerful revelatory word to enlighten his soul, but he slumbered into deep sleep and fell dead. How many people today are favored to enjoy some privileges, but allowed the dark world to influence them until they lose consciousness of opportunity around them?
I counsel you to get out of the fence. Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations, of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. John Morgan from the Grasshopper Notes said, “if you’re sitting on fence, it’s the perfect perch to watch life pass you by.”²
DECLARATION: “Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (John 11:9-10)
Sleep is essential to life. Babies sleep, so also the adults and the elderly. The Kings and the Queens are not exempted. Soldiers and watchmen also struggle with slumber. Our bodies require sleep in order to maintain proper function and health. In pursuit of success, we are caught up in a competitive routine that makes us burn the candle at both ends. People keep late night to socialize, factories run 24/7 and we become sleep deprived. When we skip sleep in order to keep up with our busy schedule, we pay a price with our health, safety and quality of life.
Slumber is a state of suspended consciousness. At such point, we become unaware of our self and environment. “A survey by the national Sleep Foundation has found that 30% of participants have admitted to sleeping while on duty.”¹
“February 2008 – the pilots on a go! Airline flight were suspended during an investigation when it was suspected they fell asleep midflight from Honolulu, Hawaii to Hilo; Hawaii, resulting in their overshooting Hilo Airport by 15 miles before turning around to land safely.”² “The Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station was ordered shut down by Nuclear Regulatory Commission after four operators were found sleeping while on duty.”³
How often we put our lives in danger and people around us when we slumber in our responsibilities. There is a lion that slumbers in every soul and must wake up.
You were born for a purpose, with an assignment, equipped and gifted to make a difference.
Failure to recognize this and step up to achieve why you were born may stir up frustration. A slumbered man or woman is ignorant and inattentive. Hence, it’s time for you to awake, arise and be restored.
DECLARATION: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Rom. 13:11-12)