Don’t Observe the Wind

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Dr. Dennis Burke

In recent weeks, more than one trillion dollars was lost on Wall Street in a single day. The staggering losses in the financial markets that day in September 2008 sent shock waves around the world.

The financial meltdown was catastrophic¾historically the largest loss of dollars in the market in a single day. Yet this has only been one of many crises for the year. Various military conflicts have threatened stability around the world. Reports of out-of-control pollution, an impending energy crisis, and dwindling sources of pure water have spread around the world over cable news broadcasts.

          All these natural calamities seem totally unrelated, yet they do have one common thread: They exist to influence and control you. Let me explain how that could happen.

          The world’s problems, and even our personal problems, are very real and serious. There is no hiding the fact that trouble surrounds us. But there is an even bigger issue we must address: Trouble and problems exist to work their way into us. There actually is a worldwide conspiracy to use the events and crises of the day to gain control over us.

          This is not the conspiracy of a secret society hidden away from the public eye. It is the strategy of the kingdom of darkness, designed to paralyze our faith and absorb our strength.

          The Body of Christ is the only true threat to Satan’s kingdom. He will do anything he can do to take your attention off of God’s promises and provision for you. Satan’s goal is to weaken you and to keep you from gaining ground against his plans.

          Your life of victory represents the only force that will stop Satan’s ultimate goal in the human race. He has come to steal, kill, and destroy in every way possible (John 10:10). You are here on this earth to show that God’s plan, which includes a superior quality of life and abundant provision, is available and attainable to anyone who will take Him at His Word.

          Over my years in the ministry, I’ve observed that two primary factors are vital for experiencing this kind of successful Christian life. People who have a grasp of these two truths set themselves apart from typical believers.

          I. The Power of Our Focus

The first factor is the power of focus. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says it best:

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”

The most effective Christians have come to understand the power of focus. They have learned that the thoughts or ideas that capture their attention will direct their thinking and determine their direction. A person will ultimately move in the direction of his or her dominant thoughts.

When contrary winds blow or it looks like the storm clouds are gathering, the established believer is not concerned. Instead, he continues to live in faith that the seed he sows will create a harvest of increase in his life.

          The winds of resistance that blow against us are not God’s guidance system for us. We are not to be led by the circumstances surrounding us or the opinions of people close to us. We are to be led by the Spirit of God within.

The Apostle Paul had many opportunities to learn the power of focusing on God’s power to perform His promises. Paul found himself in a variety of turbulent storms, most of them originating with the religious people living in the cities to which God sent him. One account in Acts even describes the way Paul dealt with a literal storm while he was aboard a ship at sea (see Acts 27).

          Paul was a prisoner bound for Rome when his ship sailed straight into a violent, dangerous storm. Earlier he had warned the helmsman that they shouldn’t leave the harbor, but Paul’s caution was ignored. After all, the helmsman probably reasoned, what does a preacher know about sailing the high seas?

          But once the ship was at sea, the calm winds in the harbor were replaced with a huge storm that began to tear the vessel apart. As the storm raged and the crew quaked in fear for their lives, Paul began to pray. Acts 27:22-25 tells us what Paul declared to the others on board after hearing from the Lord:

          “And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.”

          As a result of Paul’s faith in God’s word of divine direction to him, not one member of the entire crew was lost.

          Even if you do find yourself in the midst of a terrible storm in life, you can deal with it the same way the Apostle Paul did. In the midst of the most dangerous of circumstances, Paul said, “Take heart¾it will be exactly like God has shown me!” You can be confident of the same thing¾that it will be just as God has said to you.

          In Second Corinthians 5:7, Paul said, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Throughout the Bible, you can find examples of God delivering people who were not moved by what they saw. In the same way, you can decide that you will not be changed or moved by a storm of circumstance or trouble. You can choose not to observe the winds.

This is not to say we’re to pretend that nothing bad is happening. Faith in the Word is not the same as denying that a problem exists. Denial can be deadly. But when we’re standing in faith, the truth of God’s Word gives us the strength to face the storm.

          That’s the example Jesus set for us in the last days of His life. He was betrayed by Judas. Later a multitude hunted Him down to arrest and ultimately murder Him. Yet even as Jesus faced this darkness, He spoke words of faith in the midst of the storm. He said, “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)¾even though at that moment, it didn’t look as if Jesus had overcome anything.

          II. Living by God’s Law of Sowing and Reaping

The second necessary factor in the lives of successful believers is that they have grasped the law of sowing and reaping.

God’s Word describes this fundamental and inescapable law of His Kingdom. Galatians 6:7 (Phillips) says it so well:

“A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows.”

We each hold our future in our own hands. Our future is not in the hands of world leaders. No matter how insignificant we feel or how lost in anonymity, each one of us is a person of destiny.

          To observe the wind and the clouds is to look to the natural conditions around you to determine whether or not you are going to sow. But your future and the harvest you will receive tomorrow depend on what you sow today. Whenever you sow the Word in faith through acts of love or through the giving of your time or money to the work of God’s Kingdom, you will reap a harvest.

          This is the entire design of the Kingdom in which you live. Whatever seed you sow, you will receive a corresponding harvest.

          One day Jesus’ disciples asked Him to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). They realized they weren’t at a place spiritually to believe God for the miracles they were witnessing.

          In answer to His disciples’ request, Jesus began to teach them that faith was like seed. Seeds are not big and impressive, yet they sustain life. They grow when they are planted. Similarly, when the seeds of God’s Word are planted, they will sustain your life. Faith doesn’t come by asking God for more¾it comes by the Word being sown.

          Faith is designed to increase, but not by our asking God for faith. Prayer can never replace the law of the Kingdom that says every seed produces fruit. The seed of God’s Word must be sown in faith. When this sowing takes place, faith increases.

          In these troubled and perilous times, you must continue to sow the seeds of God’s Word by speaking the truths that agree with what God has said. This is how you sow to the Spirit. You sow the Word with your words. Your agreement with God begins in your heart and changes what comes forth from your life through your thoughts, words, and conduct.

          You also sow in faith when you give your offerings to the work of God’s Kingdom in faith. This is not the time to pull back! This is the time to stay the course, keep your focus on God and His Word, and continue to sow in faith.

          When trouble comes¾sow the Word.

When your relationships are threatened¾sow the Word.

When your bills are piling up¾sow the Word.

Your deliverance is in your hand and in your mouth as you sow the Word with the words of your mouth and with corresponding actions of faith. Your harvest in life depends on your sowing.

With the heart you believe. Then with your words and actions of seed-faith, you step into the delivering power of God’s Word.

So don’t observe the winds, and don’t regard the clouds. Fix your focus on God and His Word, and continue to sow in faith. As you do, you will continue to reap a harvest of increase in your life, no matter what is going on in the world around you. 

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