When God first called me to ministry, I went through a time of waiting on the Lord and intense study. I sensed in my heart that my waiting period was to be three years. It was a step of faith for me and my family. In the beginning, I had shared God’s leading with my husband that the Lord was calling me into full-time study. Within days, a powerful confirmation came to my husband that God had it right; I was to pursue a few years of study in preparation for my personal ministry, but also for us as a couple. Soon, I was happily immersed in Greek and Hebrew, dissecting Scriptures and coming alive as the Holy Spirit led me through the Word of God. But something else also began to happen.
I daily struggled to believe I could accomplish everything He wanted me to accomplish, or that this investment of time was worth the cost. I felt guilty for putting my family through this time and for following me on this journey; from an earthly standpoint, it meant less financial security. The enemy plagued me daily with thoughts of, “You are wasting your life. You’re going to have nothing to show for this. By the way, you need money! Look at how successful so and so is!” I equated success with financial security—and obedience and the desire to follow Jesus wholeheartedly did not necessarily promise extra money! The mental torment was thick, as obedience to God spoke to my heart with one mouth, while my desire to be financially stable spoke to my heart with the other. I was battling double-mindedness, and it was exhausting.
God Warns Before Sin Occurs
At one point during my studies, I had a dream I was a prostitute and had walked into an apartment. My husband was with me. I said, “Hey, this will be good. I can work. I’ve got this all worked out. I can make some money and it will be great.” My husband responded casually, “Okay, sure. We can do that,” and went along with my plans. A person went into a room to prepare for the services they desired. My mind suddenly cleared, and I said, “What am I doing? This is crazy! God will provide! Let’s get out of here.” Again, my husband again said, “Okay, sure. We can do that.” We left that apartment swiftly. I woke up, puzzled by the dream, and stumbled out of bed to make my coffee, read, pray, and begin my day.
Not long into my studies that same morning, I began thinking of how I could purchase a new car for our family. I imagined a certain number of hours I could work and how much I could make per month, while continuing my studies to prepare for ministry. I came up with a great plan. My anxiety and stress about success and money had settled down somewhat, and I began to feel in control again. When my husband came home for lunch, I shared my fantastic plan with him. His response was, “Okay, sure. We can do that.” We enjoyed a great lunch, and my world seemed brighter. I felt good.
However, as I drove down our street after dropping my husband back off at work, the Lord spoke clearly: “This is that!” as the dream flashed through my mind. My soul was arrested before God. Deep shock and shame hit me. The Lord, whose eyes see the motives of all hearts and souls, had seen mine. He saw my heart departing from Him long before I did, before I could even act on it, and He released the warning. He knows His children’s days before any of them come to be (Ps. 139:16); He warns His children of potential sin before sin occurs. My heart had departed from pure and simple devotion to Him in my studies and in preparation for ministry because I wanted to make money, feel secure, and buy a car.
I had hurt Him, and I was deeply ashamed. I was thankful for the correction, but for a few moments I felt like the man who beat his breast and said he was a sinner but would not even look up to heaven. I was not condemned, but I was deeply convicted. From the Lord’s perspective, He had entrusted me with a preparation time, calling, and gifts. He was committed, but I was not . . . but I did not know it. I repented.
I immediately called my husband and shared the dream and what the Lord had said as I was driving home. I then said, “God will provide.” I told him we needed to stay on track and complete God’s work. The response was the same as in my dream, yet again: “Okay, sure. We can do that.” We were back on track.
It was God’s mercy to show me what was happening in my heart so I could repent. He gave the dream in the context of marriage and harlotry, so that I would understand the level of commitment He had to me and the level I needed to have with Him. I was reminded of the prophet Hosea’s words:
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord.— Hosea 5:4, NIV
This is a solemn verse. This word “acknowledge” in Hebrew is yada (Strong’s H3045) which means, “to observe and think about and to know by experiencing.” Those who have been walking with God for some time have likely experienced His faithfulness in the past; even when they were faithless, He remained faithful because He can’t deny Himself and stop being who He is. Attempting to provide on one’s own what God says He will provide hinders a person from knowing Him by experiencing His faithfulness.
A prostitute has no commitment to anyone. She is committed to herself. This imagery contrasts marriage and faithful fidelity. Throughout Scripture, God refers to sin as adultery, harlotry, and prostitution simply because it is born out of self-interest and self-care. However, in marital commitment, the spouse remains within the confines of boundaries that allow for greater intimacy. Each spouse dedicates him or herself to the other person’s happiness and needs. I had devoted myself to the Lord and to the needs of His kingdom, but cheated on Him in my heart with money, self-interest, and the status of possessing a new car. I was being double-minded and had two masters. Thankfully, the Lord was gracious to alert me, forgive me, and set me back on track.
I thought I had given God my whole heart, but He needed me to experience what that faithfulness looked like in real life. When I returned to the Lord with my whole heart, I returned with fidelity—with a commitment to my first love.
Each time I have stepped forward in obedience, God has abundantly provided. There was more than enough. He will supply all that is needed for your obedience in all that He calls you to do. Sometimes fear of lack can be a noisy mistress that causes us to doubt. Satan is still whispering, “Did God really say……?” Pick up that shiny deadly sword and say, “Yep, He did say He would supply all our needs according to His riches in glory! Yes, He did say if I sought His kingdom first, He would add everything, all my needs!”. Save yourself the exhaustion that doubt and double-mindedness brings and just cut off that nattering head. Amen!
Reflect with the Holy Spirit.
- Am I afraid regarding money, or the lack of it? Is money motivation my decisions? What are Your thoughts Lord?
- Am I greedy at times, or do I buy too many things?
- Is there anything I need to step into and trust you for provision for? What are my first steps?
- Make me audacious and single-minded in trusting You.
This teaching devotional is part of a series based on Tyrelle Smith's book: From Double-Minded To Destiny. Each week we will publish more on how you can remove doubts, insecurities and fulfill God's plan for your life in a greater way.