I worked in Saudi Arabia as a General Manager for a Hypermarket. The first store I worked at was situated in the city of Dammam, which is an Egyptian community; most of the staff members were also Egyptian. The daily routine for anyone in retail store operations is to do a floorwalk of your area of responsibility, obviously the whole store was my responsibility, thus I would walk the whole store daily and give instructions and points to action as I was walking. The main language used in Saudi Arabia is Arabic, initially I couldn’t understand a word of Arabic. I had a Bangladeshi guy that walked with me to translate the communication between myself and the staff. At first, I thought he would be the best candidate because his English was very good. But I soon realized the message didn’t come across as intended. I gave instructions to the staff, translated in Arabic by my “translator”, but when I did follow up visits during the day the execution of the instructions were totally different than what was expected. Oh My Word, then I get asked why I have grey hair… I chose a person that can understand me, but he couldn’t get the message across in a way my staff could understand. I “adopted” another translator, who also taught me basic Arabic and eventually, I could give basic instructions in Arabic, and started to understand if the “translated” instruction were in line with the expectations. This makes me think of when God speak to us… do we get the intended message; do we interpret the signs correctly? Do we hear what we WANT to hear, or do we hear what we NEED to hear?
Just over a year ago, God gave me promises, promises of restoration, peace, and of love, in a way I never experienced before. Shortly after the promises, God started teaching me how to get my mind in a state to align myself and interpret these promises as intended. It was mostly in regard to my thoughts; what I should allow, what I should rebuke and what I should call to obedience. There are so many scriptures, studies and writings about the mind; how our thoughts become our reality… Proverbs 23:7 states “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our thoughts and believes become our actions, behaviors and habits… these behaviors and habits then determines how we react and respond to situations.
The first thought around this is to renew and train our minds in submission to the Holy Spirit’s voice. Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:23 tells us to not be conformed by the values and customs of the world, but to continually renew our minds in line with Godly values and attitudes so that we will be able to discern the perfect and acceptable will of God. I want to point out “continually”, this is not a once off occurrence, we need to refresh our minds on a regular basis, the enemy will change his weapon as soon as we have built up resistance to the weapons that used to work against us.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 explains that our warfare is not carnal, but mighty through God to pull down strongholds; this includes casting down thoughts, imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God, and bring it unto obedience of Jesus Christ. Just think about that for a minute… “Bring everything in obedience that exalts itself against THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…” I should not get started on this; we will end up with 10k words… but let us quickly touch it with some scriptures… The devil’s main objective is to keep us from the True Knowledge of God, lying is his native tongue, he is a master of deception, and the father of lies (John 8:44), his main goal is to translate God’s will as lies.
God’s word tells us…
- 2 Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” FEAR? It exalts itself against God’s knowledge… call it to obedience.
- Matthew 6:25 “Don’t be anxious about your life.” ANXIETY? It exalts itself against God’s knowledge… call it to obedience.
- Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous, do not be discouraged or intimidated, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” INTIMIDATED? DISCOURAGED? It exalts itself against God’s knowledge… call it to obedience.
- Ephesians 1:4 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, consecrated and set apart.” DON’T BELONG? NOT GOOD ENOUGH? It exalts itself against God’s knowledge… call it to obedience.
- 1 John 4:19 “We love, because God first loved us.” NOT LOVED? It exalts itself against God’s knowledge… call it to obedience.
- Romans 8:1 “There is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ.” CONDEMNED? It exalts itself against God’s knowledge… call it to obedience.
- Hebrews 13:5 “God will never leave you, nor forsake you.” LONELY? It exalts itself against God’s knowledge… call it to obedience.
These are just a few “True Knowledge” scriptures of God… grow your knowledge in the bible, and call to obedience whatever exalts itself against it. The devil’s interpretations will lead to death. But enough of him, I gave him more airtime than what he deserves…
I initially interpreted God’s promises from my point of view, in a way that will suit me… this made me take actions in line with my interpretations, which lead to disappointment and questions of “But why God?” Over the last year my relationship with the Holy Spirit grew much stronger, and I became a lot more attentive to how He speak to me. A few weeks ago, I watched a sermon where the Pastor said “Go back to where it started… if your promises are not fulfilled it’s not done, go fetch it, fight for it.” Luckily, I write things of importance down, so I took my “Saudi” book and revisited all the scriptures and word. Oh My Word… then I get asked why I am bald. “But Holy Spirit, why didn’t you say so.” With a reply of “But I did, you interpreted in incorrectly, let Me translate it for you.” As I revisited scriptures and word over the last year, I could recall signs and beacons along my way, triggers that I was supposed to heed and respond to. Colossians 3:1-2 tells us to set our minds on things above, and not earthly temporal things. I could hear a penny drop as the Holy Spirit revealed God’s intent of His promises… I interpreted it all as earthly temporal things, tagging it to possessions, belongings and personal relationships… however, the promises go much deeper than the temporal things. Spiritual and emotional restoration and peace, a Fatherly love, as I have never experienced before… experiencing El Roi (The God who sees me – Genesis 16)… That is what life is about… seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of God, God will then take care of the rest.
Renewing and regenerating our minds in the Holy Spirit are vitally important, not only to keep sane and not lose our marbles; not only to resist the devil’s fiery arrows, but to get God’s point of view, to be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s translations, and not make our own conclusions and loose direction.
When we go through pruning seasons it can hurt (highlighting WHEN, pruning is a given and part of the journey, never think you will go into the Kingdom without it happening to you). God will remove the non-fruit bearing vines from our lives, cutting it off to make space for new fruit bearing vines. God also knows what’s happening up ahead, He is removing us from danger, or detouring us from battles we would not be ready for. Avoid non-productive questions such as “Why…?”, focus on “What” you should gain from it, “What” fruit does the Holy Spirit want to produce in me through this season. Remember that you have the strength to go through it, through Jesus Christ. You will not be put in a position or situation you cannot handle, but wisely choose the Holy Spirit as your translator, do not be mislead by the father of lies, you will miss the intention… In Deuteronomy 30:15-20 God clearly gives a choice… Choose Life or Death? Choose your translator that will lead you to life.
Today God is sitting on His throne, looking down into space, time and matter. He has seen our tomorrow, He’s been there; yesterday already, He was setting up beacons and pointers in the hope that we will interpret life as a revelation of His glory… He knows all too well what the outcome will be, but He gives us opportunities to come to the realization of His splendor, for us to align ourselves with His thoughts and ways, which is higher than our thoughts and our ways, to give us a future of hope, filled with love, peace and prosperity; at all times, be attentive… on the day of judgement we won’t be able to say “But Holy Spirit, why didn’t you say so?”