WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 16, 2021
TOPIC: THE SUPERNATURAL AS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN FRUITFULNESS IN LIFE
BY T. O. BANSO
“And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, ‘For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land’” (Genesis 26:22 New King James Version).
There are both natural and supernatural factors of fruitfulness in life. Many times, people are focused on the natural, neglecting the supernatural. Sometimes, some people focus only on the supernatural and fail to pay attention to the natural. Neither position is correct. Human beings must acknowledge that the spiritual controls the physical. Nevertheless, we cannot despise the physical; we operate in both the physical and spiritual realms.
Someone can do all that he should do naturally but may not experience fruitfulness in his labour. The problem could be spiritual. The supernatural power working for or against someone influences the results he gets in life. This could be the supernatural power of God or the supernatural power of Satan.
Ordinarily, there is no reason why some people should not excel. They have all that it takes to succeed but things may not turn out well for them because of some forces that are against them. In 2 Kings 2:19, the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha and said, “We have a problem, my lord…This town is located in beautiful natural surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive” (New Living Translation).
Any migrant who had thought that Jericho was a good place to settle down, because of its appearance, would have been disappointed when he began to experience the lack of productivity of the land. Jericho had a spiritual problem that made the land unproductive. And it took a genuine prophet of God, Elisha, to deliver the city after the problem was brought to his attention. Elisha healed the water. He made it wholesome and it no longer caused death or infertility. Jericho was delivered from the power working against it. The supernatural power of God took over and the land became productive.
What happened to Jericho in this story is an example of what is happening to some people. They have excellent academic qualifications, highly-rated certifications, etc. yet they are suffering from joblessness. Some companies have a lot of qualified staff with several solid years of experience but they lack patronage. They could be doing all that is taught in the best business schools in the world but their businesses might be going under. When such a situation arises, it is an indication of a spiritual problem. Some negative supernatural forces are at work that must be defeated by the power of God.
In the most unfavorable condition, the time of famine, Isaac, in obedience to God to stay in the land of Gerar and not to move to Egypt, planted. And the Bible says he reaped in the same year a hundredfold, and the LORD blessed him (Genesis 26:12). Evidently, that was not natural. It was the supernatural power of God at work.
After Abimelech, the king of Gerar, out of envy because of Isaac’s fruitfulness, drove him away, he finally got to Rehoboth where, unlike in the previous cases, there was no strife with him over the wells he dug. “And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, ‘For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land’” (Genesis 26:22 New King James Version). Did you see that? You shall be fruitful in Jesus’ name.
Fruitfulness in life is not a function of hard work and other natural principles only. These are important but the supernatural dimension must not be overlooked. In Jesus’ encounter with Peter in Luke 5:1-11, we don’t know why he and his partners toiled all night but caught no fish. They were experienced fishermen. The night was the best time to fish. They did all they knew to do but they caught nothing. That wasn’t natural.
When Jesus got to the Lake of Gennesaret and saw two boats standing by the lake, the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets after a fruitless night of fishing. Jesus asked for Peter’s boat to sit in and teach the multitudes from there. After preaching, he told Peter who must have become tired because of the experience of the night, to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch.
Of course, Peter knew that Jesus was not s a fisherman. At best, he was a carpenter! (Mark 6:3). Peter, the professional fisherman, must have had a mixed reaction to the instruction of Jesus. He must have been surprised and, at the same time, ready to obey His instruction because of His regard for Him. Therefore, Peter said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5 New King James Version).
The Greek word translated toiled in that verse is “kopiao” which means to feel fatigue, by implication to work hard, labor, toil, be wearied. That tells us that it takes more than toiling – wearisome labour, sweating – to prosper in life. Peter toiled but had nothing to show for his toil. But when Peter obeyed Jesus, the Bible says Peter and those fishing with his boat caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats with so much fish that they began to sink.
The questions are: Where did the great number of fish they caught come from? Were they in that same lake where Peter and the rest were fishing? Or did Jesus bring them from somewhere? I believe they were inside the lake. But Peter and the rest toiled all night and caught nothing. However, when Jesus told Peter to launch into the deep and let down his nets, he and the rest became fruitful in the same place they had experienced unfruitfulness. What changed? God’s supernatural power worked for them and defeated whatever power had made their efforts unfruitful in the night.
Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the fish which they had taken. Peter’s partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were equally surprised. “And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:11 New King James Version).
Could the fruitless toiling in the night have gotten something to do with the fact that Peter’s career as a professional fisherman was over? Could it be a sign to him that God was giving him a new career to catch men (winning souls), not fish, as Jesus told him? Could that also be true of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who also answered the call like Peter to become the disciples of Jesus?
Could it be that when someone is in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing, he denies himself of divine participation that makes fruitfulness possible? This is important because after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter went fishing and some disciples went with him. And just as it happened in Luke 5 when he didn’t catch any fish until Jesus intervened, he didn’t catch any fish all the night.
Jesus met Peter and some of His disciples at the Sea of Tiberias but they didn’t recognize Him. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish” (John 21:5-6 New King James Version). After then, one of the disciples recognized Jesus. On this occasion, Jesus reinstated into the ministry, Peter, who had denied Him three times after His arrest.
These two encounters between Jesus and Peter and some of His disciples show us how one could labour and be unfruitful despite all other factors in one’s favour. If the supernatural is against one, all other factors will mean nothing. There are some situations of life that defy experience; they only result in fruitless toil that will weary the person concerned. They will drain his strength and other resources.
To avoid this, you need the power of God, you need a Word from the Lord, you need the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and you need the grace of God. “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones” (Psalm 127:1-2 New Living Translation).
God does not want you to toil fruitlessly in life. He wants you to labour, work hard and have something to show for your labour In Mark 6:42-52, Jesus’ disciples were toiling in the boat on the sea against the wind. How much progress could anyone make in such a situation? That wind represents contrary spiritual forces. Nobody can be fruitful in that circumstance.
But Jesus walked on the sea to meet His disciples. They thought he was a ghost and were troubled but He assured them it was Him and they should be of good cheer and not be afraid. He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. He didn’t even command the wind to stop (Mark 6:46-51).
Things changed in the favour of the disciples when Jesus entered their boat just as it happened to Peter after Jesus finished using his boat to sit and teach the multitudes. You should allow Jesus into the boat of your life, your business, your family, etc. and your divine turnaround will manifest. Please take note of verse 48 of Mark 6. The King James Version says, “And he [Jesus] saw them toiling in rowing; For the wind was contrary unto them.”
That made rowing really difficult and wearisome because it required more energy to be deployed. A lot of sweating is involved to advance against the resistance of the wind. This season, the wind will not be contrary to you, your business, your minstry, your career, your family; it will not be adverse in Jesus’ name. Every wind blowing your way will blow in your favour; it will not resist your advancement, promotion, breakthrough, success in Jesus’ name.
Don’t open the door to the waster or the devil to make your labour unfruitful. Disobedience to God is one way this happens. In Haggai 1:6, the LORD said the Israelites had sown much and brought in little; they ate, but they did not have enough; they drank, but they were not filled with drink; they clothed themselves, but no one was warm; and he who earned wages, earned wages to put into a bag with holes.
Earlier in the book of Deuteronomy, the LORD had warned the children of Israel on the consequences of disobedience: “You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land” (Deuteronomy 28:38-42 New King James Version).
Similarly, in Leviticus 26:20-22, He said to the Israelites, “And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit. ‘Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate” (New King James Version).
There are other scriptures that state unfruitfulness as one of the consequences of disobedience to the law, including Isaiah1:19-20. Although Christians are no longer under the law, obedience to God is not restricted to the Old Testament. Disobedience will make the children of God vulnerable to the attacks of the devil and make them unfruitful physically and spiritually.
On the other hand, willing obedience will bring the blessing of God upon the children of God and make them fruitful. “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25 New King Jams Version).
Understand that the supernatural is an important factor in fruitfulness, whether physical or spiritual. Maintain close fellowship with God. Obey Him. Leave no room for the devil. He is the enemy of fruitfulness. He wants you to labour in vain. Don’t be asleep spiritually. Matthew 13:25 says while men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
Engage in spiritual warfare. Don’t let Satan, the devourer, deny you of your fruitfulness. Be sober; be vigilant. Why? Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith (1 Peter 5:8-9).
The waster shall not waste your labour in Jesus’ name. You shall not build, and another person inhabits; you shall not plant, and another person eats. As the days of a tree shall be your days, and you shall long enjoy the work of your hands. You shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; you are blessed by the Lord and your children too (Isaiah 65:22- 23).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot 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 and 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 of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will 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 and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Every power contending against my fruitfulness be destroyed in Jesus’ name. I block any channel or access that Satan is using to make me unfruitful. Father, make room for me and let me be fruitful spiritually and physically. I shall not build, and another inhabit it; I shall not plant, and another eat it; I shall long enjoy the work of my hands. I shall not labor in vain. My children shall not be doomed to misfortune. I am blessed by the Lord, and my children, too, are blessed.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947