I prophesied earlier this year that 2016 would be marked by shifting seasons and suddenlies. Part of those shifting seasons and suddenlies includes promotions and demotions. God is going to raise up the humble, hardworking saints and humble the prideful ones with wrong motives. Put another way, doors are going to open for some, and opportunities will diminish for others. The Lord spoke these words to me:
"I am promoting My faithful ones in this season to positions in My spirit and in the natural that defy human reasoning. My faithful ones have prayed and sought My face and walked in My will with the little things, and I am making them ruler over more in My kingdom. Those faithless ones will be demoted while my faithful ones are raised up in this hour. Those walking in pride will be brought low. Those walking in arrogance will not stand in My special places in this season. But those who have walked in the low places with Me, I will exalt and raise up and send out with an anointing to stand and withstand in this hour."
I have been in a season of constant promotion for more than a decade. That's not to say that I haven't had setbacks or trials, but the Lord has worked it all together for my good. I've learned sometimes what looks like a demotion or closed door can really be the Lord setting you up to shift you into a new season. With that in mind, let's look at six ways to respond to this prophetic word.
1. Don't try to make it happen. Don't chase dreams, chase the God who gave you the dreams and He will make your dreams come true in the right time. No man on earth and no devil in hell can stop what God wants to do in your life—but you can make a big mess trying to make it happen.
In Genesis 16, God promised Abram and Sarah a son, but they got impatient and birthed an Ishmael that brought grief and sorrow into their lives. Manipulating situations may get you somewhere more quickly, but it won't keep you there long. Remember, whatever you do to get somewhere, you'll have to keep doing to stay there. You will never have to force anything that's truly meant to be. Don't promote and exalt yourself. That's God's job.
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2. Don't look to man to make it happen. What man gives you, man can take away. If you look to man to make it happen for you, you'll be tempted to compromise. You'll be expected to do things God may not have called you to do. Some Christians have sold their soul to man for a quick promotion instead of selling out to God and trusting His timing. Consider Jeremiah 17:5-6 with reverential fear and trembling:
"Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart departs from the Lord. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when good comes, but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited." This is not to say that you can never receive help from a person, but don't look to man to open doors only God should open.
3. Don't be jealous of what others have. God won't promote a jealous heart. Jealousy is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:20). Think about it for a minute. Saul was jealous of David—and tried to kill him. Joseph's brothers were jealous—and tried to kill him. Cain was jealous of Abel—and did kill him. When you allow jealousy into your heart, you are tapping into a murderous spirit that will ultimately kill your dreams. James 3:14-16 says:
"But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work." (For further study, read Proverbs 14:30 and Philippians 2:3.)
4. Trust God with the timing. Ecclesiastes 3 declares, "To everything there is a season." Many times, we think we can change our times and seasons, but Daniel 2:21 makes it clear that this is God's role and explains, "He removes kings and sets up kings." David rightly told the Lord, "You are my God. My times are in Your hand" (Ps. 31:14-15). Remember, "For neither from the east nor west, nor from the wilderness comes victory. But God is the judge; He brings one low, and lifts up another" (Ps. 75:6-7).
5. Work on your character. If you were ready to handle the promotion now, God would give it to you now. Many times, we need to develop the character that will keep us to where the anointing takes us. Romans 5:3-5 tells us patience produces character. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas of your life that need work—and then ask for the grace to get to the next glory.
6. Practice humility. Humility has no rights. Here are three witnesses to keep in mind: "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Pet. 5:6-7); "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10); and "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
Finally, once God exalts you, stay humble. Pride comes before the fall.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.