Psa 66:10-12 “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
The word process is defined as a series of actions or steps taken to change something. A process brings change. A process develops or enhances something. A process can also increase longevity. The lifespan increases. A process can also get you from point a to point b.
Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
God wants to change us, to preserve us, to bring us from point A to point B.
2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
For us to get to that place where we can be acceptable in God’s eyes, where He can use us, we must go through a process.
We see a process that starts in barrenness but ends in fertility.
If I had a child and wanted to tutor him in say, physics, and I took them to an amusement park, it would be unsuccessful because there are too many distractions.
God brought His people through the wilderness, a desert place to process them, to teach them with no distractions. The wilderness is a place of extremes, very hot in the day and very cold in the night. This is a place where there are dry bones.
There was a wilderness of sin, but God pulled me from it and brought life. It was a place meant to kill, but God processed me instead and brought life. Spiritually, that place brings desolation, loneliness, hurt, depression, confusion, pain, and hunger, and desperation. It brings a sense of heaviness. That place called the wilderness has no distractions. God doesn’t use it to break us, He uses it to unleash anointing.
David was sought by Saul for his life. Even though Saul’s intent was to kill him, God used it for His purpose. Peninnah abused Hannah because she couldn’t have children, but instead of destroying her, it moved her to desperate prayer and she had a child—Samuel.
A lot of people give up on prayer and fasting, but God will process you in the wilderness to unleash His anointing.
The condition of desolation and loneliness and confusion is the place where you can encounter God the deepest. When my strength fails, that’s when God shows His strength. When I’m about to break and give up, the power of God shows up. When I’m at that place where I start to question myself, that’s when God shows up when we press toward Him. That’s what He’s looking for. Wait for your breakthrough. Stay at that altar, even if you’re all alone, God will show up.
Before you can be processed, purpose and value must be identified by the processor. Before you can have chicken curry, you must have a vision of the completed meal. There is a recipe or there are steps that bring you to that place of promise.
Before you can be processed, God looks at you and sees promise and value.
When I think of how God saw hope in my hopelessness, I get excited. The Bible says, ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!’ Had it not been for God seeing purpose in me, I would’ve been bound in the wilderness of addiction. Before He brings us into that wilderness of process, He first sees purpose and value. He doesn’t see the person by their inadequacies, He sees the person by their potential.
There are people labeled by their circumstances, the woman with the issue of blood, the man with the withered hand. God looked upon Gideon and called him a mighty man of power. I wonder what God says when He looks at us.
2 Tim 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
When God looks at you, He sees His own purpose and grace, His favor.
God sees hope in me, in you. If I could only see myself the way God sees me, the way God sees you.
God never looked at Job and called him anything less than a perfect servant. The devil was the one that made the accusation.
In Matthew, we see a highlight of value, purpose, and identity before the process.
Mat 3:17 “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The process is not for us, but to unleash that which is in us. God sees our purpose, our giftings, our destiny.
A process engineer tests a container to see if it will continue to hold what’s in it. The container is beautiful, but that’s not really its purpose. The bottle’s purpose is to keep holding what’s inside.
Similarly, God is not concerned about how beautiful you are, your physique. God is concerned about getting the anointing out of you. So, God must make sure you can withstand the capacity with which you will be tested. Can you withstand the trials that will come, the opposition that will come? Can His church withstand?
God identifies the value of the church or the person, then He brings it into the place for processing. In the processing sequence, there are three things that come to mind.
Extraction—a method of separation used to separate a desired substance when mixed with other impurities (taking out the component with worth).
God separated in creation, light from darkness, water from water, land from sea. Later, God separated Abraham from his family. He extracted him from his comfort zone. Separation. He needed to be separated into a place where God could develop him.
Gen 12:2 “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
The wilderness is not meant to destroy but to bring from the place you are to the place He wants to bring you.
God didn’t tell Abraham about the problems he would have with Pharaoh or Lot.
God said, ‘Wherefore come out from among them…’
Refining—purification/consecration, taking something that is almost usable naturally and making it better
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
Isaiah 48:10 “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
First God purifies us and strips off the weight.
Molding—forming us out of a substance that is easily manipulated or molded. You will be more sensitive to the molding process.
God first pulls you out, washes you, and removes the chains and binds. He brings us through that process that feels like fire. Then, He molds us.
Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
The wilderness is a transition point that connections position to promise.
Sent Out–God will send His people out to do His will with His presence and revelation.
If anyone desires to be used of God, he or she must go through a process. There will be opposition. You cannot maintain the promise without enduring the process. You can’t have the promise without the process. There can’t be change without process. There must be a process of burden and developing. There must be a process of conception, then manifestation.
What you do in the wilderness process is important to whether or not you will obtain the promises of God — The power to go through comes from submission to God, obedience.
The children of Israel were sent into the wilderness, but they murmured. You’ve got to be sensitive to the process that God is working out something.
Skipping the process causes death or later abortion.
Saul and David had one thing in common. Both were kings. Saul went into the wilderness twice, once to look for his father’s donkey and again to look for David—to kill him. Saul walked right into the promise. He kind of aborted the process. David went through the wilderness and still went after God. He received the promise.
Saul wanted to kill David. David went into the wilderness to stay in the will of God.
Position — Wilderness Process — Promise.
1 Sam 23:14-16 “And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood. And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.”
Don’t abort the process — God will send help.
God always sends help when you’re going through the wilderness. God sent a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of a cloud by day. God sent a raven to feed Elijah. Jonathan came and strengthened David.
There is nothing to fear as God moves us in this process. God will put you in a place where the devil wants to be, but God lets you be there just to prove how anointed you are. God is so confident in what is in you just to prove to the devil that he can’t touch this! There is no fear going through the wilderness seeking God. If God is for us, who can be against us?
Even if we’re seeing no results, God is still there. God is confident in you. God says, ‘Devil, fire your best shot, but when the smoke clears, he’ll be more empowered than when he went in, he’ll still be standing! He will have a revelation of himself.’
After the process, you will recognize who you are.
When God told Gideon ‘Mighty man of valor,’ Gideon was baffled. Abraham laughed. When you step out of the tunnel, you’ll be greater than when you went in.
In the wilderness, there are a lot of animals, like rattlesnakes, scorpions. There are animals that we can’t eat, but want to harm us. In the wilderness, there is a tree that is very unique, a cactus. The outside is very unattractive. There are thorns. Its skin is thick. On the inside, it is filled with water.
In the wilderness, it is not our mind or our own strength, but it is God in us that will sustain us. The only way to withstand the wilds is to seek after the Spirit of the Living God. We must walk in the Spirit. We must fast, pray, and consecrate ourselves. We must study the Word and get in the presence of God. Prayer must be a habit, just as important as breathing. Then, there will be a manifestation of His authority. Then, people will say that these people are the people of God. Healing will happen. Backsliders will return to God. Depression will leave.
We will stand in the wilderness like the cactus filled with the anointing of God.
People get life by opening that cactus and taking that life-giving water out. It’s not our power or our might. It’s the fact that we are a vessel for God. God wants to release His power in His church. If anyone will be delivered, healed, saved, it will be through His church.
The wilderness is not the goal, but a means to the promise.
There is revelation from the wilderness process:
- God is our Source. Psalm 23:1 “1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
- God is our Refuge/Protection. Psalm 91:2 “2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
- God is our Strength — Elijah
- God is Gracious — Hagar in the wilderness “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly.”
The process in the wilderness puts you alone with God and desperation…hunger…thirst.
Wilderness — Growth, separation, preservation, and revelation…
I want to endure the process of the wilderness. There are moments of spiritual highs on the mountain tops. However, the wilderness brings doubts, confusion, loneliness. I want to endure that process and go all the way through. I want to look the devil in the eye and say, ‘You’re a liar! You tried to hold me down, but God…!’
There might be some stuff that bring heaviness and confusion, but we serve a God that will use this process for His glory. You can see the manifestation of this process if you will just keep on, submit and seek the Lord. Watch Him do His mighty work in you.
Thank you, Jesus, for the process! There might be pain, but I’m still standing. You brought me through the wilderness not to kill me, but you saw greater purpose within me. I don’t want anything of myself to block your purpose. I want to submit to your process. Even though I feel heavy and confused, I will press into the process and the promise you’ve made over my life! Hallelujah!
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Kevaughn Aiken.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!