BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’ Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:20-26 NKJV).
There is a place called “your place.” It could be geographical or positional. It could be your home, your marriage, your business, your ministry, your career, etc. It is God’s will for you. It is your place of destiny, your place of prosperity, your place of fulfillment. God expects you to keep your place and not allow anything to distract your attention from there, lure you away, derail you, displace you or cause you to abandon it.
If you get out of the place before God’s timing or without God’s instruction, you’ll be operating outside the will of God, and you can get yourself unfortunately into the desert place of life, into the wilderness; you can become a wandering star. If one is out of one’s place, one may have great potential, but one may never manifest. That’s the danger of straying from one’s place or losing one’s place. Proverbs 27:8 says, “Like a bird that wanders from its nest is a man who wanders from his place” (NKJV).
Judas was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ but he lost his place because of the betrayal of his Master. He committed suicide thereafter, and in the passage above, Matthias replaced him. To every Judas who will not keep his place, there is a Matthias to replace him. Judas became an ex-disciple, an ex-apostle!
Adam and Eve lost their place
Adam and Eve also lost their place. They would have continued to live in the garden of pleasure but like Judas, their transgression caused them eviction from their place. They were banished from the Garden of Eden. “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’ — therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24 NKJV).
Esau lost his place
Esau lost his place as the firstborn when he sold his birthright for a plate of pottage. “Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright as of this day.’ And Esau said, ‘Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?’ Then Jacob said, ‘Swear to me as of this day.’
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:29-34 NKJV).
The incident happened before Jacob outsmarted him again to receive the firstborn blessing his father wanted to pronounce on him, oblivious of the transaction that had taken place between the two children. Esau had lost his place before the day Jacob defrauded him of the blessing their father reserved for him. He despised his place and lost it to his brother who valued it and seemed to have been coveting it prior to that day. Otherwise, why should he make that request of exchange of birthright with the food he had prepared to eat? The Bible calls Esau a profane, immoral, or godless person and warns against emulating him. “Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau. He traded his birthright as the oldest son for a single meal. And afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he wept bitter tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17 NLT).
Lucifer and the fallen angels lost their place
Lucifer is another example of losing one’s place. Lucifer lost his place because of transgression – he became proud and rebelled against God seeking to promote himself above God. He was thrown out of heaven together with the angels who were his partners in crime. “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ But instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths. Everyone there will stare at you and ask, ‘Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world? Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wilderness? Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?’” (Isaiah 14:12-17 NLT).
Jude 6-7 makes reference to the angels who joined Lucifer in his rebellion and the consequence of their action. “And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the day of judgment” (Jude 6-7 NLT). 2 Peter 2:4 says God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment. These angels lost their place in heaven because of their rebellion.
Until today, rebellion is still making people to lose their places. Nobody wants to have a rebellious person as his staff, associates, etc.
Saul lost his place
I need not mention King Saul. The LORD would have established Saul’s kingdom over Israel forever but because of his sin of disobedience, his kingdom wasn’t permitted to continue; it was aborted (1 Samuel 13:13-14). He lost his place.
On two critical occasions, Saul acted in disobedience – he failed to destroy the Amalekites completely as commanded and he intruded into the office of a priest offering sacrifice. King Saul was displaced and replaced. “And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. So Samuel said to him, ‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent’” (1 Samuel 15:27-29 NKJV).
After the LORD had rejected Saul and had found a replacement for him, He told Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1NKJV). David was the man after God’s heart that replaced Saul. To every disobedient Saul, there is a David.
Gehazi lost his place
What about Gehazi, the servant of Prophet Elisha? Instead of keeping his place, he was running after material things. He pursued gifts that his master had rejected. He didn’t get double portion of the anointing upon Elisha at the end of his ministry – he didn’t even get a single portion – but he lost his place as the successor of Elisha. There was even no record of the ministry of this servant of the prophet upon whom the Naaman’s leprosy landed. Gehazi lost his place. “So Naaman said, ‘Please, take two talents.’ And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. When he came to the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed. Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, ‘Where did you go, Gehazi?’ And he said, ‘Your servant did not go anywhere.’ Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.’ And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:23-27 NKJV).
What a curse! – “Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever” (NKJV). He went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow.
Be careful how you live your life. Find your place and keep it. Don’t go astray.
How to keep your place
1.Recognize there is a devil who wants to displace you. Ignorance of this, will spell disaster for anyone. 1 Peter 5:8-9 warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (NKJV).
Even if it doesn’t appear as if there is a threat to your position now, don’t be deceived by that. The devil is lurking around looking for an opportune time to move against you. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (NKJV). Satan will tempt you to disobey the Word of God, break laws, violate rules, which may, unfortunately, cause you to lose your place. Learn from the sins of people in the Bible who lost their places, and even those in contemporary history who suffered a similar fate.
2. Don’t overestimate yourself. Overestimation of self is pride. Beware of pride. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3 NKJV).
Remember the story of Lucifer (Satan) in Isaiah 14:12-17. Because of pride, Lucifer lost his place. God said to Lucifer, “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’” (Verse 16-17 NKJV).
Don’t forget also the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. The proud Pharisee had no place before God; his prayer was rejected because of spiritual pride while the tax collector, a sinner, went home justified. “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14 NKJV).
Beware of religious pride; don’t be proud because of your wealth, positions or accomplishment so that you don’t lose your place. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 NKJV). The Message renders it thus: “First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (NKJV). God will destroy those who trust in riches (Psalm 52:5-7). God will judge the proud.
Humility will help you to keep your place; pride will displace you. God resists the proud but lifts up the humble (James 4:10). 1 Peter 5:6 says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you” (NLT). Jesus says, “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12 NKJV). If you want to keep your place, be humble.
3. Be faithful. Be dependable; be truthful. Unfaithfulness is one of the reasons people have lost their positions – unfaithfulness in financial matters, service, etc. Nobody wants to retain in a position an unfaithful. He may be tolerated only for a season but will be removed at the slightest opportunity possible. “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12 NKJV).
In Luke 19, Jesus told a parable that dealt with the issue of faithfulness and unfaithfulness. A certain nobleman gave ten minas to ten of his servants before he travelled. One mina was worth about three or four months’ wages of the average worker. He returned and called them to give account. Two servants earned ten minas and five minas each. Therefore, their master gave them authority over ten cities and over five cities respectively. The mina given to one of the servants, an unfaithful servant, who didn’t do business with it, was collected from him and given to the servant who had earned ten minas. The unfaithful servant lost his place. He was unfaithful in doing business with his mina until his master’s return, as he had instructed all his servants. If he had been faithful, he would have kept his place and even receive reward from his master. Unfaithfulness causes someone to lose his place. It robs him of his reward.
Matthew 25:24-30 also records a story similar to the story in Luke 19, but here the three servants were given different amount of talents unlike one mina or pound given each servant in Luke 19. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’” (Matthew 25:20-23 NKJV).
Again, the services of the good and faithful servants were retained; they didn’t lose their jobs. But what became of the servant who was the odd man out? He lost his place. “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Matthew 25:24-30 NKJV). If you want to keep your place, be faithful. No matter how brilliant, skillful, resourceful one is, if one is unfaithful, one won’t be able to keep one’s place for long.
4. Be diligent and persevere. In the Book of Proverbs, the Bible talks a lot about diligence or hardwork. Proverbs 12:27 says, “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession” (NKJV). Don’t become lazy if you hope to keep your place. One of the things the master of the servant who hid the one talent given him to do business with it said about him was that he was lazy. There is a connection between laziness and unfaithfulness. Laziness will make someone unfaithful in a way. “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents’” (Matthew 25:26-28 NKJV).
Lazy people crave for easy life; they cannot endure hardship. Life is not a bed of roses. There are always challenges that we face in life and you need perseverance to succeed, to make impact, etc. Lazy people lack this therefore you can’t count on them to deliver on any assignment. They like pleasure rather than work. They ultimately lose their place to diligent people.
It is also possible to become lazy after succeeding to a level. No, don’t do that. Your success of yesterday will become irrelevant today if you don’t persist in hard-work. Don’t take things for granted. Don’t become too familiar that you lower standards and commitment. Keep making sacrifice. Endure the challenges associated with your place – there is no place without its stress. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown! Don’t let pressure or stress turn to frustration that will make you unfit to continue to keep your place.
5. Get better and don’t resist positive change. The world is changing rapidly and you can’t afford to be stagnant. Don’t remain analogue while the world has gone digital. (I’m not taking about compromising on the Word of God or biblical principles.) “We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles,” said former U.S President, Jimmy Carter.
Improve or upgrade yourself. Go for training. Attend seminars, workshops and lectures, especially those relating to your field. You may even need to go back to school to retool yourself.
If you become outdated or not up-to-date, you become irrelevant. You’ve got nothing more, nothing new to offer. That means you’re no longer needed; someone else will have to take your place.
We all need to change when that’s the wisest thing to do. Only fools refuse to change. When we become foolish, resisting change, change leaves us behind and we lose our positions to others.
6. Avoid wrong company. Wrong company will bring you under wrong influences, lure you to wrong lifestyle, open you to wrong advice, etc. that will ultimately cost you your place. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm” (NLT). If you walk with careless, lazy, dishonest people, people with wrong attitudes towards life, they will affect you negatively.
Nobody is an island to himself but be careful those you associate with. That is why Proverbs 12:26 warns, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (NKJV). Many are regretting today because of the people they associated with in the past. They found themselves where they were not expecting. You cannot be following the wrong road and hope to get to the right destination. That will be self-delusion. If you’re currently in such an unfortunate situation, repent; retrace your steps and keep your place before it’s too late.
7. Maintain right focus. Many things can attract and distract you from your place. Determine not to allow anything to deceive you and lead you away from your place. Not all that glitters is gold. Beware of mouth watering promises that contradict the Word of God; beware of offers that violate the law or rules in your place. Don’t be distracted; don’t be seduced.
The servants of God in the Church in Thyatira fell victim of the destructive seduction of Jezebel, the self proclaimed prophetess, and the LORD complained about this. Revelation 2:20-21 says, “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman — that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet — to lead my servants astray. She is encouraging them to worship idols, eat food offered to idols, and commit sexual sin” (NLT).
Of course, God was going to judge Jezebel if she didn’t turn away from her immorality; He would throw her upon a sickbed, and she would suffer greatly with all who committed adultery with her unless they turned away from all their evil deeds. However, the truth is some servants of God had already been led astray. They had lost their place. Except they repented and were restored, they would just be telling stories of the past like Gehazi! Everybody must be vigilant to keep his place. There are Jezebels around; the spirit of Jezebel is in operation to seduce and reduce, and to draw away anyone not sensitive enough to resist it or flee from it. “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 NKJV).
8. Be prayerful. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up. You need constant prayer to keep your place, and there are different prayer points that will come up from time to time. Keeping your place could sometimes be warfare – you’ll need to bind and lose. You’ll need to stand up to powers that want to uproot you and displace you. Never cease praying. You need to pray against the spirit of error, the spirit of disfavor that wants to turn against you people, especially those who matter in your place. Watch and pray (Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38, 13:33).
Ask for wisdom because you need it to keep your place. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (NKJV). Ask for direction before you move. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT),
Conclusion: Don’t be careless. There is no place like your place! Find your place, and keep it. You won’t lose your place in Jesus’ name.
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There, they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible-believing, Bible teaching-church in your area where they’ll teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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