The End of the Rope is Not the End

I talked to an older gentleman who had struggled with drugs and alcohol for most of his life. He had gone to rehab again and again, but he would always fall back. Over the years he felt like such a failure that he came to the point when he didn't want to live. But he turned on the television and started listening to our program. He said, "Joel, everybody told me how bad I was, how I was a failure. You were the first one to tell me that I was made in the image of God." He'd never had anyone speak life into him and tell him what he could become. When he heard me say, "You are a child of the Most High God," he got down on his knees and said, "God, I've tried to clean up the mess I've made of my life, but I can't do this by myself. Please help me to change." From that moment on, he never had the desire for the drugs or alcohol again. Today he works in prisons, letting the inmates know how they too can become children of the Most High God.

You may have failed, but you are not a failure. Failure is an event, it's not who you are. You may have an addiction, but you're not an addict. What you struggle with is not who you are. What you do may not be good, but that's not who you are. The Creator of the universe breathed life into you. Like this man, you may have gotten off course, but God is saying, "I'm still going to bless you and show you My favor. I'm still going to free you and use you to help others."

Jesus says, "You are blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule" (Matthew 5:3). That means His favor, His healing, His freedom. This man was at the end of his rope, but God showed up and brought freedom. You may be facing a medical situation that doesn't look good. Something in a relationship, in your finances or business is at the end of the rope. Have a new perspective. When you're at the end, it's a blessing in disguise. You're in prime position for God to show out in your life. He's saying to you, "I am the Almighty God. What I promised you is still on the way." Those dreams you've given up on, they're on the way. That healing you're praying about, it's on the way. The freedom, the right person, the baby you've been believing for, it's on the way.


Let Jesus into Your Boat

When we look at other people who are excelling, we sometimes think, "Wow! God has given them so many gifts and has such a great purpose for their lives. What happened to me?" We're so focused on our job, raising our family, and paying the bills that all we see and feel is ordinary. We can't see God's purpose in our lives. But just because we aren't seeing or feeling it doesn't mean it's not there.

Today I want you to lift your eyes above your circumstances and realize that God has great purpose for your life. Your life holds meaning and the potential to make the world a better place. God has marked you to have an influence on the people around you. If you're being the best you can be, using your gifts and talents and mixing them with faith, you're enriching your world and making an eternal difference. Your life matters.

Too often we fail to recognize and appreciate the gifts and talents that God has given us. But the apostle Paul says that when Jesus ascended to heaven, "He gave gifts to men" (Ephesians 4:8). We don't all have the same gifts, but we all have gifts to be used for God's purpose through our lives. We have to recognize our gifts, learn how to use and walk in those gifts, appreciate our gifts and not compare them to others.

How do you discover your purpose? Look up and invite Jesus into every area of your life. Let Him into your boat, so to speak, as Peter did in Luke 5, and you'll never be the same. Peter was a fisherman, and he and his crew were washing their nets when he looked up and saw Jesus step into one of his two boats. Jesus asked Peter to put out a little distance from shore so He could preach from the boat to the large crowd gathered on the beach. That boat represented Peter's vocation and livelihood. He could have said, "Sorry, but we're not finished working here." But Peter let Jesus use his boat that day for His purpose, and by the end of the day, Peter went from fishing for fish to becoming a fisher of men. It became his destiny and passion! Having Jesus in his boat changed Peter into a fisher of men.

God wants in your boat! He wants in your workplace, in the middle of changing diapers, in the middle of your family! He wants to get into your boat, into your life, and use your gifts and set your life purpose on Him.


Who Are You Connected To?

It's interesting that when a great flood covered the earth, Noah's family was the only one that was saved. The Scripture says, "Noah found favor with the Lord" (Genesis 6:8). It doesn't say Noah's sons had favor, but because they were connected to Noah, their lives were spared. The principle is, when you are connected with people who are favored, people who are further along, people who are more successful, then that favor will flow down to you. You'll see increase and blessing because of your association.

You should be in relationship with people who inspire you, challenge you, and make you strive to do better. When you're connected to someone who's blessed, someone you respect and admire, someone you can learn from and serve, the more blessed they are, the more blessed you're going to be. Eventually, you're going to look like who you're connected to. The question is, are you connected to people who have what you want? Or, are you connected to people who are critical, negative, can't get ahead, drain your energy and cause you to compromise? It's fine to be a good influence to them and encourage them, but if you're spending all your time with them, you're going to become just like them. What they have will rub off on you.

You need to disconnect from people who are hindering your growth, limiting your potential and causing you to compromise, and you need to find some favor connections. You need to connect with people who are going places, who are at another level, who have what you dream about. You need some eagles in your life. You can't hang around with chickens and reach your destiny. You can't spend all your free time with crows, with people who complain, or with turkeys, with people who have accepted mediocrity. You need people who are soaring, who are taking new ground, who think bigger than you, who dream bigger, and who will expose you to levels you've never seen.

God has already lined up these favor connections for you—people who are ordained to help you go further. God will use them to let you get a glimpse into the next level, to show you where He's taking you. You have to expand your vision and thinking for the new things God has in store. If you'll sow into them, serve them, honor them, glean from them, then as they go higher, because you're connected, you'll go higher. Now do your part and get in agreement with God. Don't think it's impossible. God has ways to do it that you've never thought of.