by Margaret D. Mitchell
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us," - Ephesians 3:20
When I ask God for provision, I also ask Him to help me receive His provision. I do this for two reasons: One, I am mindful that His provision can come in a form I do not expect and I may not understand initially. Two, I am aware the enemy can intercept God’s provision, once it has been released from heaven, before it manifests on earth.
Are there provisions you have asked God for but have not seen the manifestations of yet? If so, why? This is a legitimate question for the Holy Spirit. Is the manifest provision just not God’s time yet? Has there been enemy interference? Is there some type of blockage within you, such as unforgiveness or fear, that is causing you to not receive or see the manifest provision? Do you need to let go of something first? Or does God have something better for you?
The Holy Spirit sees and knows all things; and He is your helper. If you ask Him for His perspective, He will answer you.
Always pray, “Enable me to receive Your truth,” because sometimes, we just don’t want to face God’s truth. Facing God’s truth requires discipline. We can make the biggest messes of our lives if we do not live in God’s truth. His plan is always better than ours, even if we don’t understand it at first.
Likewise, when we pray for others, it is best to ask the Holy Spirit to enable them to receive His will, not ours or theirs.
Proverbs 13:12 tells us, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
Without hope, we may not receive the promises of God. Hopelessness is a barrier that says, “I don’t believe You anymore God. You’ve forgotten me.” Hopelessness is a form of self-pity, and it can be at the root of fruitlessness. Look around. Do you see any excellent fruit? Hopelessness affects the quality of every aspect of our lives—our homes, our relationships, our jobs, etc.
Long-term hopelessness can even open a door to a spirit of hopelessness, which can attempt to defeat our desires from being met at all. It can try to shroud us like a cloak of grayness, causing us to not even bother to ask or expect God’s best anymore for decades. This can even happen early in life, when we are children, when we feel powerless to change our difficult circumstances, when we feel that things will never change on our behalf. This spirit can stay with us into and throughout adulthood until God exposes it for the purpose of breakthrough.
Hopelessness can happen to Christians when the road has gotten so hard for so long that it becomes too painful to hang on and not see the promised provision manifest. The enemy lies to us and tries to cause us to believe we have been forgotten and are unworthy to receive God’s finest blessings. We are called to be gentle as doves and wise as serpents. So we must be savvier than the enemy. He is strategic. But so is God, and so are we. And we are strongest through Jesus, who is stronger and savvier than we alone or the enemy. (Hebrews 2:9 tells us that we are created “a little lower than the angels.” The enemy is simply a fallen angel from heaven who is not redeemed.) If you are feeling hopeless, your heart needs to be healed. Repentance is the first step to getting unstuck.
When God reveals root issues of hopelessness, repent of having believed the enemy’s lies, of having aligned our minds with them, of having adopted them and of having behaved out of them. Repent of these lies as idols over God’s truth. Repent of unbelief, doubt and hopelessness—all of which are the opposite of God’s very nature. Recite scriptures about belief, assurance and hope, which are God’s truths. Doing all this causes you to go deeper with God and will help deliver you into His light of truth. As you see a new level of intimacy emerge, your heart will be touched by the mercy and grace of God; and you will be awed at how the Holy Spirit helps you. You will come to know His love even more. And you will be able to trust Him more the next time an issue arises. You will be better prepared, more on guard, savvier against the enemy’s devices. You will be stronger.
Your best strategy for fighting battles of hopelessness is to get God’s vision for your life. To receive God’s vision, simply ask Him for it; pray your heart out to Him concerning the matter. Surrender your will to His. Ask Him to reveal any root issues that have held you back. Then praise and worship Him in the midst while you wait. Also, get into God’s word (The Holy Bible); and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the scriptures to you that will best illustrate His heart to you concerning the matter(s), and speak them out as affirmations until you either have peace or until you see God’s provision manifest.
God has no shortage of resources. In terms of receiving God’s provision, I sometimes have to remind myself to expect the unexpected. And it’s okay to ask the Holy Spirit for confirmation. Don’t let the enemy deceive you into accepting second best or “Ismael” (as opposed to Isaac). Don’t let him intercept manifestations of provision through personal shame, unworthiness or guilt trips over your past sins. Know who you are in Christ. Know that once you repent, Father God sees your sins no more because He sees you through the blood covenant of His Son, Jesus. (Only the enemy rubs our noses in our former sins.) Know God’s word so that you can stand firm in His truth. Choose to believe God’s truths over the enemy’s lies, and pray in Matthew 6:10: "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
If you are coming out of hopelessness, you may feel uncomfortable in the new place of restored hope. So it is important to keep moving forward until your hope feels like second nature once again. Remember, If God is saying, “I give this to you,” who are you to say, “I will not receive it” in the face of God? Receiving is an act of love. It says, “Yes, I will receive what you have to offer. Yes, I accept what you labored to give me. Yes, I affirm that your gift is worthy.”
Choose to get used to God’s provision, His abundance. Massive breakthrough requires massive honesty. The extent that you “take courage” and confront issues that have held you back, to the extent that you repent, to the extent that you receive God’s best provision, this will be the extent of freedom and blessing that will manifest in your life.
May God fully restore His hope in your life. Amen.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.
Originally published Sunday, 24 December 2017.