In this book I’ll be sharing five key things that the Lord has done in my life that I consider to be very important towards walking in freedom and power. Are there only five things? No. Are they new things? Probably not. I believe that even as you read this, you are going to receive an impartation. Some of the things I’m sharing may not be new, but they are key truths that will help you gain new and fresh revelations of the same message. When I look back, what I learnt when I first came to Christ is still the same because the Word never changes. Over time our hearts may become hard and the truths we once knew become old; we then think that we know everything, and this is how pride enters into our lives. It’s usually here when things start to go wrong. You get affected by your surroundings and become stressed and fearful. Just like a vehicle needs its regular upkeep of an MOT and servicing every year, it’s good to check some of the things in our lives and see where we are with the Lord.
For me one of the most important and powerful characteristics that I have tried to cultivate in my daily life is to check whether I have a repentant heart. Repentance is a powerful action and so much power is released when you repent. When you get into times of deep prayer and weep before the Lord, a heart of repentance softens the hardest of hearts. These are the most powerful and precious times.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 speaks of how a father had two sons, and one son took all his inheritance and went and partied it away, spending all the money on his lavish lifestyle. Then a famine arose; to put it in modern terms, it can be like a recession. He then gets into a lot of trouble because he had spent all his money and so has to find a job feeding the swine. Having squandered all his wealth, he’s now at a point in his life where he doesn’t even have food to eat and his only option is to eat the pods that the swine ate.
I want to pick up the story from here. When the son reaches rock bottom, he realises that he needs to change. The start of my journey with the Lord was when I was sitting at that retreat and saying ‘I don’t want this life, I want to change.’ This can happen at any time, not necessarily when you have just come to the Lord. There comes a time when you think ‘I’m not happy with my relationship with the Lord and I want something more..’ I believe that this son came to a place in his life where he said ‘I’m not happy, I need to change.’ There was a renewing in his mind, a thought that came in and said, ‘I’m not happy with my lifestyle.’ This is the first start of a repentant heart. It can be every day, every week, every month, every year – whatever the frequency is depends on the state of your heart. In verse 17, he says, ‘Even my father’s servants have more food than I have’ – it starts with a change in thinking.
I have been through seasons of two or three months where I’ve needed a breakthrough and I’ve gone into deep places of repentance. It was never a one-time thing; it happens throughout life. I remember times of humbling repentance when I was in Dubai and Hong Kong, and even when I came to London. Whenever you go into these times of seeking the Lord, you go into times of repentance and it is so very powerful. It all starts with renewing your mind, a change in thinking.
So the son then says in verse 18, ‘I will turn around and go back to my father.’ In every season where I have had a repentant heart, there has also been a turn-around. We’re not happy with where we are going and we want a complete change in direction; what we really want is to go to a place where we are meeting our Father heart to heart. The son in this story just wanted to arise and go to his father, even if it was as a slave.
The word repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia, which means ‘turn around’. It’s not a full 360-degree turn, because then you just end up at the same place; it’s a 180-degree turn.
I remember in my first retreat many people were touched by the power and glory of God, many people had encounters with Him, but a lot of people went away after two or three years. I had mentioned it being like a de-addiction centre. I have many times seen people turn around and then go back and then come back again, but that is not metanoia, that’s just a yo-yo. Metanoia is a complete turning around and going in the other direction. Even as you decide to completely turn around and walk with God, He will release the power and freedom, the breakthroughs in finances and healings. But it all comes down to a heart of repentance and saying ‘I want to go to my Father’, ‘I want my Father’ and ‘I want my Father’s heart’.
Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.’ Acts 3:19
I believe that one of the first things that happens when we decide to turn around and keep our hearts simple is that times of refreshing will come upon us. When we say, ‘I’m sorry, Lord,’ immediately there is that refreshing presence that will come upon us. Once you start experiencing that refreshing you’ll always want it. The joy of the Lord also comes from a repentant heart. There’s a bubbling that rises up within you when there’s a repentant heart. That’s why Peter says in Acts 3:19, ‘repent and be converted’, because conversion means there is a change happening, and he goes on to say, ‘so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord’.
The third thing that the son did is confess his sins before the father. He said, ‘Father, I’m really sorry, I’ve messed up, I want to come back to you as a servant.’ He made a decision to confess and come back. I believe that when we do all these three things, the Father is so happy to look at us. Even when the father saw the son coming from afar, he arose and went towards him. Every time I have come to the Lord and said, ‘Lord, I’m really sorry’ and started praying and saying that these were the things in my heart, I have seen how the Father’s heart is so moved with compassion and love for us. In this story, it says the father ran to meet the son, and he poured his heart and compassion and love upon him. So many times, when we come to the Lord as a child, whether it’s in our house or church or anywhere, the Father just comes in and pours his affection and his love upon us. This son had completely messed up his life: he thought that this was the end, there would be no forgiveness, but the father was so happy to see him he hugged him and poured his love and compassion upon him.
This is the most beautiful aspect of a Christian life, when we come to him even after we’ve messed up, and the Father pours his love on us. All that is required of us is to come back to the Father. The Father is looking for us. Here, not only did he embrace the son, but he gave him brand new clothes to replace the ones he was wearing, which must have been in a really messy state. That’s what Jesus did: He gave us fresh robes and garments of righteousness. That’s why, when you come to Jesus, the Father puts brand new clothes upon you. All the old things vanish and we become fresh. Again, this isn’t a one-time or once a year thing, this is every day in our lives. Once we understand this He clothes us with His fresh garments of righteousness. The blood of Jesus completely covers you and you don’t look the same; you’re completely washed by the blood and you look so holy and so clean. This is what the Father does when we come to him as a child, repenting and giving Him our hearts.
Then the father also put a ring on his son’s finger. The ring represents authority. By doing that he is saying, ‘I accept you back not as a slave but as a son, and I give authority back to you.’ When we come to the Lord and say we have messed up and we just want to come as a servant or as a slave, the Lord accepts us as His son or daughter and says He will place His authority on us. That’s what the Lord is telling us through this parable. It’s not of our righteousness that we receive the authority; it’s nothing we did to earn it. It’s because of what Jesus did on the cross. He has given us the authority to cast out demons and heal sickness and authority to preach the gospel. I’ve realised that every time you come back to the Father with a repentant heart, He places His authority back upon you.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:5-6
Pride is when we are unable to repent, and God hates it. So many times people do not get breakthroughs or experience freedom because of pride, which will not allow them to come with a repentant heart and become humble. Everyone wants exaltation but no one wants to humble themselves, yet the Word says in James 4:10, ‘Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.’
One thing I have realised over the years since I gave my life to Christ is that if we don’t humble ourselves, God will make us humble ourselves. I’ve had times when I thought I was really anointed, and knew the Word, and immediately I was brought down and humbled. So it’s better to humble ourselves daily and understand that it is not of our ability or effort, it’s by the grace of God. As it says above in 1 Peter 5:5, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Exaltation starts with just humbling ourselves and repenting.
Then the father gives the son fresh sandals. The sandals represent the authority to preach the gospel. So by giving him the sandals he is saying ‘I want you to be my messenger.’ When we humble ourselves and come to the Father, He says: ‘I love you, son/daughter. I want to use you and do great things through you, I want to speak words through your mouth, I want to heal through your hands, I want to use your feet to carry the gospel.’ It’s beautiful, because His mighty hand comes upon us and we see exaltation.
The last thing they did was have a party to honour the return of the son; this represents the joy of the Lord. When the son decided to turn around and come back, he received authority, fresh garments of righteousness, authority to speak the Father’s Word and be a son, and the joy of the Father is the cherry on top. I’ve realised in my life that there have been seasons where I’ve just had to come and humble myself before the Lord and say that I only want the Lord and what He has for me.
Let’s take a look at King David. God called David a man after His own heart. David is someone who gives me a lot of hope because he messed up so many times. In 2 Samuel 11, it says when the kings went to war, David didn’t go to war; instead he sent Joab and his people. David went up onto the rooftops and his eyes went to Bathsheba, who was bathing. It goes on to say that he commits adultery and then he kills Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, and in the end David’s life is completely messed up. What I’ve realised is that it’s important to have a repentant heart, but it’s also important to fight our battles in the Spirit when we have to fight. So many times the cause of our problems and sin is because there are battles and things that God wants us to do in our lives, and when we don’t do that and do something else instead, we start seeing that we are actually going away from God. David messed up because he didn’t fight the battle he was supposed to fight at that time. If, in our lives, God has called us in the Spirit to do certain things and fight certain battles, then we need to do that: we must remain focussed when we have a battle.
When we have a vision, we will have a battle. If you have a dream, you will have a battle that you need to press in and fight. Many times in my life when I’ve been distracted I’ve found I didn’t have an aim or a vision. When you don’t have a vision or anything to do, then you start wandering in your mind and eyes. We will dig deep into the importance of vision in the coming chapters.
David looked in places he shouldn’t have looked because he had nothing else to do. Where we normally run into trouble is because of our eyes, because we start looking at the wrong things. In 2 Samuel 12 David gets into trouble and Nathan the prophet comes and rebukes him, saying, ‘God called you and gave you His kingdom because He loves you. You messed up badly, and because of this He is going to destroy your kingdom and take everything away.’ As you read this you see David immediately repenting. And Nathan the prophet says, ‘God has turned everything around.’
When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:3-5
This passage shows David talking about the time when he sinned before the Lord and what happened. Verse 7 goes on to say that the presence of the Lord came back and there were songs of deliverance which came back into his life. Isn’t that amazing! David had completely messed up, he had committed adultery and murder, but he realised he had sinned and came to the Lord with a soft heart and repented, and God completely restored him again.
God is after our hearts. Both Saul and David messed up – some people say Saul didn’t mess up as badly because he didn’t murder anyone, and they consider his sins less than David’s. However, God honoured David and rejected Saul, because Saul was proud and David was humble. David said in Psalm 51:10, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’
David understood the value of what the Holy Spirit meant for him, and so he said, ‘Don’t take it away’. What I have realised is that God will always restore, always forgive, as long we are willing to come back and humble ourselves and repent.
I want to talk about one more person. I love the story in Luke 7 about a woman who knows that Jesus is coming into the city, to Simon’s house, and she buys an alabaster flask of costly oil and comes to meet Jesus. She goes to the house and falls at Jesus’ feet and starts crying, and as she is crying she starts wiping His feet with her hair. The Bible doesn’t say what she was, but she was a sinner. Everybody knew that she was a sinner and she had messed up. Not only does she start washing the Jesus’ feet with her tears, but she starts kissing His feet, and pours out all her affection on Jesus. She also pours this alabaster flask of oil on His feet and gives Him everything she has.
Simon was sitting there and watching all this. He was a religious man and was someone who prayed and gave alms and knew the Word. He looked at Jesus bewildered and told Him, ‘Don’t you know anything about this woman? She’s a big sinner.’ Jesus answered Simon with a story, saying there were two men, one who owed him fifty denarii and another who owed him five hundred denarii; if he forgave both of them of their debts, who would love him more? Immediately Simon said, ‘I suppose the one that has been forgiven five hundred denarii.’ Jesus then looked at Simon and said, ‘I came to your house and you didn’t even give me water to wash my feet, but this woman has been washing my feet with her tears and wiping it with her hair; you didn’t even give me a kiss on my cheek, but she has been kissing my feet.’ He goes on to say, ‘You didn’t anoint my head with oil but she has been pouring this expensive oil on my feet. She has given all that she has.’ Jesus concludes, ‘Who is forgiven more, loves more.’
For me, I feel that I have been forgiven a lot. It’s not about how much sin there is, but I know what Jesus did on the cross. It means a lot for me. When we know that love and what He has done for us on that cross, the forgiveness He has given us, we just want to give Him everything, all our love and affection. That was what this woman was doing, pouring her love on Him and kissing Him. She was a sinner, and he was a righteous man. Just as David was accepted more than Saul, this woman was accepted more than the Pharisee.
What I have seen over years in the church and throughout my life is that it is easy to become like a Pharisee; it’s easy to come a place where we are judging other things and other people, and that we are better off than others because we are more anointed and know more – but I’ve seen that the Lord has rebuked me in these times. It’s easy to come to this place of having a hardness of heart. I’ve seen in my life that there have been seasons where I have had to fight big battles, where I had no support and people were against me. But every time I went before the Lord and just cried before Him, one hundred per cent of the time He has come through for me. That’s what God does. He will pick us up and say, ‘You are my son/daughter and I love what you are doing.’ He will never forsake the righteous, and righteousness is not by our ability and our efforts, it’s by what He did on the cross. This story is very powerful because in the church setting, it is easy to become like a Pharisee, forgetting that God is looking for people with a soft heart. He wants our love more than anything, and love comes with a soft heart of worship, when we give Him everything and don’t hold back.
Through the years since I’ve been saved this is something I’ve had to check on a constant basis. All major breakthroughs have started with a season where I have really had to repent. Sometimes as you go into this place of prayer, when you seek God for half an hour or forty-five minutes or however long, a soft heart comes in and leads you into a season of repentance. Sometimes we don’t even know what we are crying for, but we are repentant, and that’s beautiful. What we see with the prodigal son, and David, and this woman with the alabaster jar, is what it says in Psalm 126:5: ‘Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.’
There are seeds sown when we cry tears of repentance. When we do that, things start turning around and joy is released with the seeds of tears that have been sowed. For me those are some of the most powerful times; it can be in your prayer closet or in your room. You will see that once you start that process it’ll take some time, but you will see things start shifting and breakthroughs start happening: it all starts with this season of repenting.
If you are at a place right now where you are struggling with finances, or you have sin or addictions in your life, God wants you to come back and humble yourself right now and cry out before Him. In doing so He will bring forth a breakthrough which is going to completely turn around tough situations in your life, because He is after our hearts more than anything else. He wants us. God’s not bothered about our money or what we can give Him, He wants our heart. He loves us so much that even when we go away from Him, He’ll call us back. He loves to pour His affection on us. So even as we repent and turn towards Him, He releases His goodness. God is just looking for people who are humbling themselves and saying ‘Here I am, take me and me use me. I want you, Jesus.’