Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker, in his book, Draw the Circle; The 40-day Prayer Challenge on Day 20 writes …… “There is an old adage: ready, set, go. And I know it’s predicated on the importance of preparation. But I think this is backward. You’ll never be ready. You’ll never be set. Sometimes you just need to go for it. The sequence of faith is this; Go. Set. Ready. Some people spend their entire lives getting ready for what God wants them to do, but they never end up doing it because they never come to the realisation that they’ll never be ready. This is where so many of us get stuck. Our failure to act on what we know God is calling us to do not only breeds doubt and discouragement; it is a form of disobedience.”
As I read and meditated on Mark’s words, I began to think of another sequence of words which exemplifies our waiting rather than getting on with things; ready, set, God. Some of us want it to be ready, set, God – we are waiting for God to do the things He has already equipped us for. Mark Batterson, puts it well when he writes “Don’t wait for more revelation; be obedient to the amount of revelation God has given you.” Waiting on God when in actual fact, God is waiting on you.
In the weeks that I had been reading The Circle Maker, I had also been reading the story of Gideon found in the book of Judges and I began to see what Mark was teaching in Gideon’s story. In Chapter 6, the Bible states that the sons of Israel had done evil in God’s sight, and God had given them into the hands of Midian for 7 years. The Midianites destroyed any crops produced by the Israelites, including sheep, oxen and donkeys. The Israelites were devastated and brought very low. When they realized the error of their ways and cried out for help to the Lord, a prophet was sent to them with a message.
Enter Gideon, who was threshing wheat at a wine press in hiding from the Midianites, to save some produce from the marauding Midian. Then, enter the angel of God. “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” Judges 6:12 NASB. Gideon replies the angel, if the Lord is with us, why have these things happened to us. Where are the miracles that our parents told us about, instead we have been abandoned? He goes on to pour out his disappointment. No doubt, not even registering the fact that he had just been addressed as a valiant warrior by an angel.
The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”
Translation: Gideon, ready, set, go, not, ready, set, God! Gideon you are ready because of the words I spoke to you; because of what I called you. You are ready because, I am with you. You are set because, I have sent you. I have placed something down on the inside of you which is sufficient for this time, for this hour.
In John 6:63 Jesus said the words which I speak are spirit and life. His words go wherever He sends it, to accomplish what He desires. This is the same word and spirit released over Gideon. Do you ……………….. (fill in your name) know that you are sent? Moses was sent to deliver the children of Israel from slavery, Gideon was sent to deliver Israel from the hands of Midian, Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of Israel; Do you know to whom you have been sent? ( Join me in praying, Father please reveal to me those to whom I have been sent ) The revelation of the ones to whom you have been sent, occurs as you spend time in God’s presence.
Gideon was busy doing his own thing when the angel of God appeared to him. He had no idea what he had been called to do or sent to accomplish. God took the first step to initiate that revelation by sending an angel on an errand. God took that same step for you, I, and the whole world by sending Jesus to die on the Cross for humanity. In reconciling us to the Father, the direct line of communication was reopened for us to gain insight into the Father’s heart for us.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the huge privilege of being part of an amazing and large gathering of church leaders at a Regions Beyond conference in the Isle of Wight. It was my first visit to the Isle of Wight, needless to say, I loved it! But, beyond what I loved about the region, no puns intended, I gained some insight into the Father’s heart and love for me.
On the first day of the conference, I responded to a call for people to stand in the aisle for prayer in direct response to the message from that session’s speaker. As I stood, not certain if I should even be standing there at all, 3 different people prayed over me. Each of the words they shared with me as they prayed was spot on. I was completely overcome by the Holy Spirit presence.
I now share one of those private words given to me with you, in the hopes that it might echo in your spirit and encourage you. “There was a sense of laying down small minded thinking. God wanted me to get rid of small-minded thinking about myself, wherever that small thinking had come from. That it’s not about what I can accomplish in my own strength but what He can do through me”. This person then prayed for me, for a renewal of mind into what God already has for me
I wept as he prayed because I knew it was true, I did and do struggle with a small mindset, even with all I believe about God and know to be true, with all the amazing things God has done for me and through me till date, my mindset was far less than what God would have of me. Later that evening, when I got back to our apartment, the Holy Spirit began to show me in the Scriptures why this was not to my advantage, nor indeed anyone’s advantage at all.
If you think small about yourself, you will think small about God. Gideon had a small-minded view of himself; (my family is the least in Manasseh, I am the youngest in my family) therefore he had a small view of what God could do. When the angel saluted him as a mighty man of valour, he just brushed it aside and started to complain, where has God been all this while. He mistook the silence of God as the absence of His power or His presence! Contrast him with the Centurion the Holy Spirit said. This story is found in the book of Luke.
The centurion sent some Jewish leaders to Jesus to petition for his servant’s healing. Jesus proceeded to come to the Roman officer’s house to heal his servant. Jesus was not far from the Centurion’s house, when he sent friends to tell Jesus, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Luke 7: 1-10 NIV
Although the centurion said that he did not consider himself worthy to receive Jesus in his house, that comment did not stem from a small minded thinking, rather the fact that he recognised Jesus as Lord and he did not think that he had anything in his house made or designed to receive the eminence of Jesus visiting.
This man’s faith and understanding of his own worth and identity astounded Jesus! He commended the centurion’s faith and his understanding to His hearers.
A small-minded thinking will only serve to stifle you and limit what God can do through you or for you. A few days after our return from Isle of Wight, on a Saturday afternoon out with the family, I glimpsed a pre-school sign on a fence which made me smile. Ready. Set. Grow it said. I had never seen or noticed the sign before. God must have a sense of humour, I thought as I reflected on the blogpost I was about to put up.
As we drove past, I felt the Holy Spirit say yes, when you realise that it is ready, set and go and not ready, set, God, you are invariably getting to grow in your faith as you obey! Hence ready, set, grow! And your capacity to do greater things increases as you step out to do what God has already told you.
I hope that if there has been any small minded thinking in any area of your life, that you too get into the Word of God and embrace all that He has said about you, Beyond that, I hope you believe it and you act what you believe.
Therefore, whatever your desires for this year and this decade, I hope you get Ready, Set, Grow!!
Thanks for reading.