“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...”
Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
There is a race set before you. One that is uniquely yours. One that nobody else can run. Are you in the lane that was designed for you? Or are you looking around at everyone running, trying to find where you fit? I can certainly relate to that.
Being unclear about my purpose, caused a lot of confusion in my heart. But as I followed my Coach (the Holy Spirit), I have discovered ways to clarify my unique calling and the anointing I carry. Without the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit, I would still be looking for my lane, so if you only take one thing from this devotional today, let it be this: connect with the Coach!
I love how the Passion Translation puts Proverbs 3: 5-6.
“Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.[a]“
* The footnote says: “He will cut a straight path before you.” WOW!
In my journey of discovering this path, I was digging around in the book of Nehemiah, and I found some helpful signposts that has shown me the way to my lane:
Signpost #1 – Embrace the broken and burnt places of your heart.
It was as I pondered a nudge of the Holy Spirit to look at my own broken-down walls, that I discovered the gold in the book of Nehemiah. I discovered how God had worked through him to restore the walls of the Temple in Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Babylonians (586BC).
The area that we are called to operate in, is usually the one that’s been under the enemy’s attack all our life. Our purpose is often found in our stories of redemption. When I think about the restoration work that God has done in my heart, I have a desire to point others who have broken walls and burnt gates, to the restoring love of the Father.
Signpost #2 – Start where you are.
Nehemiah was serving as the cup bearer to king Artaxerxes. He had a respected position of great responsibility, and it is clear that the king held him in great regard. This position opened the door for him, to fulfil his dream of seeing the temple wall restored.
At times I have been so obsessed with what it is I’m called to do “one day”, that I don’t pay attention to what I’m called to do today. God uses every part of our lives to shape and prepare us for what is ahead. Your race does not start once you have all your ducks in a row. Your race has already begun. It started the day you were born. Seek God to show you his plan for today, not just for one day.
Signpost #3 -What moves you into action?
When Nehemiah learned about the situation in Jerusalem and the sad state of the temple wall, he didn’t just weep. He mourned. He fasted. He sought the Lord and interceded for days. What is it that brings you to your knees, interceding for others?
Personally, I can’t stand seeing my friends being tormented by the enemy. Particularly in the areas where I struggled. Where I see a lack of knowledge destroying God’s people, a righteous anger takes hold of me. I have to say something. I have to pray something. I have to do something! I have learned that this is usually where I feel the power of God operate through me. In simple conversations with friends whose walls need rebuilding. Fortifying them against the strategies of the enemy, is what makes me come alive.
Signpost #4 – Do you have a promise?
Your race, your purpose, your dream, is connected to a promise. In Nehemiah 1:8, he reminds God about a promise he made to Moses. He reminds God of the covenant he has with his people.
We too, have not one, but many promises that belongs to us through the covenant relationship that Jesus brought us into. We have so many promises in the Word. And when we get into the secret place, God will illuminate the individual promises he has written on our hearts. Prophetic words, whether given in secret or public, can be wonderful signposts. But they are so much more than that. They carry significant power, when we engage them and mix them with faith.
Signpost #5 – Don’t be afraid to ask for favour.
Nehemiah implored the Lord for favour. And God did not disappoint him. Reading chapter 2 of this book, is a jaw dropping experience, as Nehemiah left the audience of the king and queen, with permission to access the site, the resources to complete the job AND an army for protection.
As we step out in obedience to follow the call of God, we can ask for favour. Nehemiah wasn’t afraid to ask God or the king for what he needed. When we ask God in faith, we can trust that he will open the right doors, provide us with the resources and protect us along the way. Running in our lane, is the safest place to be. We can run stress-free when we trust in God’s favour upon our lives.
Signpost #6 – Expect resistance.
As Nehemiah started working on the wall, it wasn’t long before the mockers and the naysayers made an appearance. They threatened to kill, steal and destroy the dream that God had put in his heart. So much so, that Nehemiah had to split the workers into teams that would build, whilst others would protect them.
We also have an enemy that wants to kill, steal and destroy the dreams God has planted in us. He often does this through other people, often unbeknownst to them. When the mockers and naysayers walk into your world, you can be completely assured that you are running in the right lane. If you weren’t, there wouldn’t be any resistance. So be prepared to fight, and know the tactics of your enemy. Your battle is not against flesh and blood, don’t run the race without your armour.
Signpost #7 – Find your tribe.
What I love about the book of Nehemiah is how the people who shared Nehemiah’s dream, showed up to help build the wall. Every team had a section to restore. Isn’t this just how it works in the Kingdom? We all have the same dream: to build the Kingdom. We all have a section to build and we can’t do it alone, we need each other.
I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for the people that came alongside me. From my family and friends, to the mentoring groups that I have signed up to. These are global communities who are seeking after God; running after his heart. When I get weary, they lift me up. When I lose my way, they point me back to my lane. We are stronger, when we run together. Ask your Coach to lead you to your tribe. If you keep in step with him, you will soon find yourself surrounded with a tribe who shares a common goal. I can say this from experience.
Signpost #8 – Stay connected to your Coach.
There is one phrase that repeats itself throughout this book; usually at times when there is some significant moment, or time of trouble. The phrase is: “…and Nehemiah prayed…” Nehemiah was a prayer warrior. He lived in constant connection with the Lord God Almighty. He knew where his strength, wisdom and favour was coming from.
If you want to stay in your lane, you need to keep a constant, clear connection with the Holy Spirit Coach. He is the one who leads and guides us into all truth. Apart from him, we can do nothing! We will not accomplish the purpose we have been created for apart from a deep and intimate relationship with him.
Finding your lane is important, because the Kingdom needs you to fulfil the plans and dreams God has for you. What you carry is significant. You were created for a purpose, and it is your birth right, as a child of God, to walk it out. Don’t get distracted by what everyone else is doing. Keep following your Coach. There is no pressure to perform, there is no perfect pace to run at. Some days are literally one foot in front of the other, but as we continue to run, we are being shaped and formed into the very image of our Creator.
Keep running! You’re doing it right.
Today, I hear the Father saying: “Beautiful Child, are you tired and burnt out from trying to figure it all out? Do you feel like you’re running at a speed that you were never designed to run at? Take some time to be refreshed in the simple knowledge that you are loved. You are unique. And so is the path I have marked out for you. It is not cumbersome. It is not hard work. It only requires simple faith that I will complete the work that I have started in you. As you connect with my heart, I will lead you back into your unique path. The race is to be enjoyed. Trust me. I will lead you as we run together. You are never alone. For I am with you. Always.” ❤