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  • Writer's pictureH.W. Lancaster

The Purpose of Delay

Are you living out every promise God gave you? Or have some things not come to pass? Last week we talked about some of the benefits of being a child of God. I think most of us would admit that we’re not receiving some of those benefits. At least not yet.

I’ve heard some people, even other ministers, say that the illnesses or financial challenges they face were because God was “testing them”. I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true.

John 10:10 - The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

James 1:17 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Jesus came to give us life. Not just a dull, drudging life, but an abundant and blessed life. Not one full of illness, disease, and lack. Those are what the thief gives. Those are not part of the life and promises God has for you. If every good and perfect gift comes from God, and He can’t vary, then He can’t give you illness, disease, or hardship.

Are you walking in full health with an abundantly blessed life? The Bible is so obvious that these are promises of God for our lives. He wants us to experience them all! Yet so many of us are experiencing a delay. Why?

Proverbs 21:2 - Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.

Proverbs 18:12 - Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.

Perhaps this season you’re walking in isn’t actually a delay of the promises, but an opportunity for God to refine your heart and your character.

Jeremiah 18:3-6 - Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!

Jeremiah talks about us being as clay in the hands of the Lord. When a piece of pottery is being shaped, it requires pressure. A skilled potter knows exactly how much pressure can be put on clay to shape it without breaking it. How much more does the Lord know exactly how to protect us while shaping us into His image?

1 Peter 1:6-7 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

If you look at how a refiner purifies silver or gold, it’s heated in fire so the impurities rise to the surface. That refiner constantly keeps his eye on the metal to avoid it burning. As the impurities rise, they’re skimmed off, and with each round of impurities that leave, the metal becomes more valuable. God thinks you’re valuable enough to send His own Son Jesus to die for you! That’s extreme value!

But what about your character? Do your words have value? Does what you speak match your beliefs? Do you have integrity, or do you say one thing and do another? Integrity is important to the Lord! Take these few Scriptures as an example.

Proverbs 10:9 - He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known.

Proverbs 20:7 - The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.

Titus 2:7-8 - in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

There’s an old song that says “He’s an on time God, yes He is.” That’s very true. If your character isn’t in order, you could squander the blessings He has for you. Think about someone that wins a large lottery. If they never had any money before, do they know how to manage such a windfall? There are loads of documented cases where not only is the money not a blessing to them, but they lose it all and wind up being worse off than before.

However, if you allow God to adjust your character, focus on your integrity and your humility, then you can better handle the blessing. For example, if I’m already a generous person, then I’m not likely to become a miser if I come into money. If we’re responsible stewards, then God can bless us with more.

Matthew 25:24-29 - “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

God frequently uses the talents that He’s given us as conduits to get the blessings and the fulfillment of His promises to us. That requires us to ask ourselves what are we doing with the talents, money, and gifts that God has given us? How can He bless us with more if we’ve buried what we have in the ground?

If you haven’t recently asked God what you should be doing with the gifts and talents He’s given you, now is the perfect opportunity! If you’re unsure about what your gifts and talents are, ask Him! God will give you wisdom on what to do if you ask Him!

James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

As God gives you wisdom and you begin to utilize your gifts and talents, then the blessings will flow, and the delays will end! The important thing to remember is that God is your source. Remain humble and rooted in Him!

Proverbs 29:23 - A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.

Until next time my friends!

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