When is Your Destiny Determined?
“There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it.” – 2 Samuel 23:20 NLT
Once again, I refer to one of my favorite obscure persons mentioned in the Bible—Benaiah. This heroic man was attacked by a ferocious Lion of all things, and not on a warm and sunny day, but on a snowy one!
Destiny usually isn’t revealed on sunny days.
It is usually revealed on snowy days. It’s revealed, in Benaiah’s case, when you cross paths with a five-hundred-pound lion. Destiny isn’t just revealed in your natural gifts and abilities, but in the compensatory (offsetting the unpleasant) skill you have to work hard to develop.
Your destiny is usually revealed when you are down… not up
When you are weak, not strong.
When you are discouraged, not encouraged.
When you are disadvantaged, not when you are advantaged!
Around the turn of the twentieth century, Alfred Adler proposed the counterintuitive theory of compensation. Adler believed that perceived disadvantages often prove to be well-disguised advantages because they force us to develop attitudes and abilities that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. It’s only as we compensate for those disadvantages that we discover our greatest gifts.
(Check out Alfred Adler up on Wikipedia to find some interesting information about him, as well as his contributions to the world of individual psychology. He originated the theory we know as,“inferiority complex.”)
Many of the art students Adler studied had optical anomalies. He observed that some of history’s greatest composers, Mozart and Beethoven among them, had degenerative traces in their ears. He cited a multiplicity of other examples, from a wide variety of vocations, of those who leveraged their weaknesses by discovering new strengths. Adler concludes that perceived disadvantage, such as birth defects, physical ailments, and poverty, can be springboards to success. And that success is not achieved in spite of these perceived disadvantages, but because of them!
Subsequent studies have added credibility to Adler’s theory. In one study of small-business owners, for example, 35% were self-identified dyslexics. While none of us would wish dyslexia on our children due the academic challenges it would bring, it was precisely because of dyslexia that many of these entrepreneurs began to thrive as they had to learn and refine new skill sets. Some of them, for example, became more proficient in oral communication because they found reading so difficult. Others learned to rely on well-developed social skills to compensate for the challenges they faced in the classroom. And all of them cultivated a work ethic that might have remained dormant if reading had come easy for them.
Look to Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson (p. 129-138) for more informative information about how to succeed in finding your identity.
Many of you reading this can identify, can’t you?
I know I can as I have a mild case of dyslexia, which I have struggled with all of my life. God desires to redeem every experience and anomaly in our lives when we love Him, and when we surrender our needs to Him to be used for His purposes (Romans 8:28).
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28 NLT
Here are a few more thoughts about Beneniah. Don’t you want to meet this guy in heaven☺?
Make No Excuses
“The lazy (slothful, or sluggard) person claims, “There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!” – Proverbs 22:13 NLT
I love the word “sluggard,” which is one of the definitions of the Hebrew for word lazy.
In the case of Beneniah, he had one big 500-pound reason to be a sluggard on that snowy day! Not any day is a good day to chase a sure-footed lion with claw cleats. As if the lion needed more advantages, right?
But what we perceive as negative circumstances are sometimes the best opportunities. Many of us can blame our circumstances for not achieving our God-given destiny and/or purpose.
Read what George Bernard Shaw, the great Irish playwright, wrote about blaming others for our circumstances.
“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” ―George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession
By the way, Shaw was a socialist, so I’m obviously not advocating for his political views. Some of his quotes and interactions with Winston Churchill (who clearly wasn’t a socialist! ☺) are very enjoyable. For example, this famous exchange:
Shaw: ”I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend … if you have one.”
Churchill:“Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one.” ☺
You see friends, tolerance used to be listening and respecting another’s opinion with a sense of civility and, in this case, humor. Today the New Tolerance being pushed by so-called progressives is “One must accept, embrace and believe my opinion.”
Simply refuse to accept this false definition wherever you may encounter it.
If we wish to find our whole identity in Christ, we must confess our excuses. Here are some of the usual suspects of excuses: “I’m too young”; “I’m too old”; “It’s too late”; “I don’t have enough education”; “I’m too sick”; “I’m simply not that smart”; “I don’t have enough experience or enough money” or “I’m just not ready yet.”
May I suggest you do a brief inventory and assess your self-talk with regard to your excuses? Once you have a short list, confess them for what they are—unbelief (Hebrews 3:19).
If we desire to continue to live out our God ordained destiny, we need to throw off the sin (excuses) that can easily trip us up.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” – Hebrews 12:1 NASB
Did you know that the root meaning of “redeem” is to take something old and make it new—to renew it!
It means to buy back what was formerly owned. Somehow, we’ve managed to overlook an entire biblical vocabulary that makes this point clear. Reconcile. Redeem. Return. Renew. Regenerate. Resurrect. Each of these biblical words begins with the “RE”prefix, suggesting a return to an original condition that was ruined or lost.
I know it is easier said than done but, can we commit to these?
• Don’t waste suffering
• Don’t waste this coronavirus pandemic—how are you using your time?
• Don’t waste failure
• Don’t waste disappointment
• Don’t waste cancer
• Don’t waste divorce
• Don’t waste poor health
• Don’t waste your time on your fears
• Don’t waste the opportunities to do good
• Don’t waste the good relationships you have
• Don’t waste your energy on unsubstantiated hearsay
• Don’t waste your spiritual focus on bitterness or unforgiveness
• Don’t waste time worrying
• Don’t waste time to make up for lost time
With all this talk these days about recycling, please allow God to recycle these things for His purposes!
Recycling with you through the power of Jesus Christ,