There’s a great story told in the each of the Gospels about a certain event that involved Jesus, the twelve disciples, a few loaves of bread and some fish, and about 5,000 people. It had been a long day, especially for Jesus. He had awoken to the news that his cousin John the Baptist had been put to death at the hands of the mad King Herod. The news had sent him into a personal retreat. But the crowds had followed him to that remote place, and Jesus—feeling compassion for them— had ministered to them and healed their sick.
Now, as that long day was drawing to an end, the disciples were feeling a bit edgy. It was late, and the people needed to go home in time to get to the villages and buy food for dinner. It was then that Jesus gave them a little assignment: “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). The disciples quickly calculated “that would take more than half a year’s wages” (Mark 6:37). Andrew was able to dig up five barley loaves and two fish from a boy with a lunch, but he added, “how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9).
Jesus replied to each of these concerns by having the disciples sit the people “in groups of about fifty each” (Luke 9:14). He took the loaves and fish, gave thanks for them, and then had the disciples start handing them out . . . and everyone was fed. Jesus then had his disciples gather up the excess food. As a result, the disciples had twelve full baskets to take with them as they sailed through a storm on the Sea of Galilee.
In the same way, I’ve combed through my sermons and notes from when I was writing two previous books and gathered up the best of the leftovers in Take Back Your Life for you to take on your stormy seas. Instead of being collected in twelve baskets, this journey is broken up into forty days. Why forty? Well, life supposedly begins at forty. It sure did for Moses—the guy we will discuss in our first session—who spent the first forty years of his life thinking he was somebody, the second forty years of his life finding out he was nobody, and the final forty years of his life discovering what God can do with somebody who knows he is a nobody.
The number forty comes up throughout Scripture again and again. In Noah’s day, rain fell for forty days and forty nights (see Genesis 7:4). The spies sent by Moses to explore the promised land did so for forty days (see Numbers 13:25). The Israelites after the generation of the exodus wandered in the wilderness for forty years (see Numbers 32:13). Goliath taunted the Israelites for forty days before David cut him down (see 1 Samuel 17:16). Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights in the desert (see Matthew 4:2). Forty days was the period from the resurrection to the ascension (see Acts 1:3). And through these forty days I believe God is going to do something significant deep inside your soul that will mark you forever.
So, are you willing to commit to this forty-day journey? Are you, like the disciples, willing to let go of your own agenda and fears and see what God can do with your faith? Are you willing to wage the battle for your heart and mind? For as we will see as we launch into this journey, such a battle is taking place. And you must fight to take back your life.
Levi Lusko is the founder and lead pastor of Fresh Life Church located in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah. He is the bestselling author of Through the Eyes of a Lion, Swipe Right, and I Declare War. Levi also travels the world speaking about Jesus. He and his wife, Jennie, have one son, Lennox, and four daughters: Alivia, Daisy, Clover, and Lenya, who is in heaven.