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Going through the wilderness or desert are experiences you can’t run away from. In fact, running away from it means running away from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.
I can understand that it’s not a pleasant experience. It’s a part of God’s way of making you become who He created you to be. To navigate through wilderness experiences here are some guidelines you must remember when you go through it.
1. Listen to God’s voice
There are many examples to point to as a reference to why this is important. When David was hiding in caves when he fled from Saul is the time he came up with some of the Psalms we read in the Bible today. God was with Him through those difficult moments when it seemed as though his life was coming to an end.
Moses was summoned by God while He was in the wilderness with the burning bush. It was during this encounter that God gave Him instruction about what He should do to rescue the Israelites from Egypt. He also had an encounter with God on Mount Sinai where He received the ten commandments he was to teach the children of Israel.
Successful people in God’s Kingdom appreciate that while the wilderness experiences are not pleasant they are God’s way of getting our attention. They are key success factors for overcoming adversity so as to experience success in life.
When you’re going through the wilderness that’s when your spirit is most sensitive to hearing God’s voice when He speaks. When everything is smooth it’s easy to get distracted and even get disconnected from God’s purpose by giving attention to the things of this world.
2. Shut out the negative voices
While listening to God’s voice is important to survive the wilderness shutting out the negative voices is just as important. It’s hard to focus on God when you have distractions so you must be intentional about silencing certain voices.
This could mean avoiding the newspapers that are prophesying doom and gloom, dream stealers, and anything else that keeps you from being in tune with God’s purpose for your life and His promises. Take note that the people who discourage you in life may mean well for you but not knowing they are causing you harm so there’s no need to despise them.
In most cases it means isolating yourself from people or any other negative influences that may derail you from becoming a successful person. This is a pattern you will see with most successful people. They separate themselves for a season of their life as God does a work in their heart.
Jesus was alone in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights fasting and praying. He also isolated himself a lot to spend time in prayer. Joseph was set apart by God at different times to get closer to Him even when he was sold as a slave and locked away in prison.
3. Shed off excess baggage
While there are essentials you need when you go through the wilderness there are other things you need to let go of if you want to survive. Tough times have a way of bringing you face to face with the skeletons you’ve been hiding or issues you have shied away from confronting. You may not have an accuser to accuse you of certain things but you come to a realization yourself of things you need to deal with.
This could include unforgiveness towards people who have wronged you or yourself. It’s important to forgive yourself for past shortcomings that are keeping you from living out God’s purpose for your life. Many people don’t achieve success because they’re not brave enough or willing enough to deal with their past.
The key to success for the most part is bound to letting go of such things including habitual sin that hasn’t been dealt with. This gives the devil legal right to stop God from blessing you because God will not go against His own word.
Isn’t it ironic that Israel had to go through the wilderness first before God could allow them to enter the Promised Land? God had to deal with their hearts and sanctify them as preparation to dwell in the land of promise. Those that died in the wilderness weren’t willing to let go of their own ways but it was God’s desire for all of them to make it through.
4. Count your blessings
When you’re seemingly stripped of your support structures it serves as a reminder to be grateful for the things you still have. Being successful in navigating through the wilderness requires you to have an attitude of gratitude. You may not have all the money you want but at least you have a shelter.
“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” ~ Jim Rohn
You may not have the money to further your education but at least you already have some level of education. Someone else is on their knees begging God to be where you are right now.
Your dreams may not be materializing as fast as you want them to but at least the dreams are still alive. Other people have lost all hope in life and they don’t have any dreams to talk about but suicidal thoughts are running through their minds. Be content at all times – in times of abundance and times of shortage – giving glory to God.
5. Recognize the true source of life
When it comes down to the bare bones the wilderness makes you realize who your true source of life really is. It’s easy to find our security in a big bank account and material possessions and forget that God is the true source of life.
Wilderness experiences are not at all fun. No one ever gets up and says they are looking forward to going to live in a desert but understanding that it’s God’s way of refining you and making you know that He’s the giver of life is the ultimate success in life.
In the Bible Job may be the best example to point to regarding this point. It’s not that God didn’t want him to have many possessions but he had to deal with the fear of losing it and his children. At the end of the book of Job we are told that God restored to him more than he had lost. All he wanted was Job’s heart to be in the right place.
God is the author and perfecter of your life. He knows it from beginning to end so you don’t have to go through life worrying about how you’re going to make it through. The key to success is staying plugged into God’s purpose to experience success in life.