“You’d be appalled if I were to show you how few ministries worldwide are on the path of life.” (Holy Spirit inspired utterance)
This statement floored me. It shook me to the core. It put the fear of God in me because it left me to ask, “Am I among those few, or am I on the outside looking in? Am I on the path of life?”
The path of life does not refer to being born again or baptized in the Holy Spirit. It has more to do with this statement: “Unless the LORD builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it” (Ps 127:1). Is what I’m doing in life and ministry at the direction of the Lord?
Any labor not in line with the Lord’s direction in ministry is vain or futile. Any plan, agenda, or will apart from the Father’s will is wood, hay, and stubble. It won’t survive the Judgment Seat (1 Cor. 3:12-15).
Jesus is the pattern Son. His life and ministry are the perfect example for all of us to follow. While it is good and profitable to have earthly mentors in our lives, let us not forget that Jesus is our primary mentor. He is the Head of the Church and is to be the Lord of our lives.
Here is how Jesus lived His life: “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner’ ” (Jn. 5:19).
Our problem has been that we don’t really believe this. I mean, we believe that Jesus lived this way, but we don’t believe we can live this way. Without Him we can’t, but let me submit to you that is exactly the main reason He sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus knew we could not do it on our own. So why do we even try? Again, isn’t it because we don’t believe we can have the same relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit as Jesus did? But think logically now; would Jesus give us any less than He had to do get the job done?
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:16-17).
The Greek word for “another” is allos, which means “One besides Me and in addition to Me but One just like Me.” And here is the part I love seen in the margin of my Bible. “He will do in My absence what I would do if I were physically present with you.” In other words, the Holy Spirit’s coming assures continuity with what Jesus did and taught.
Do we really believe that? And if so, why do we see so little of the Spirit’s operation in life and ministry today?
Honest answer: Because we don’t know the Comforter. And why don’t we know Him?
Honest answer: Because we don’t spend time cultivating communion with Him. In a word, we don’t wait on God.
Waiting on God is a lost art to this restless generation. Yet it is our greatest need.
Let us be foundational and realistic for a moment.
Without knowing the written Word of God and walking in the light of it we can never progress in our life with God. The more we get to know the voice of the Word the more we will know the voice of the Holy Spirit who inspired that Word. We can never get away from this foundational truth. People have gotten weird attempting to do so.
I encourage young ministers to build their life and ministry on the Word of God, not on the anointing or the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the Word without the Spirit is dead, so they do run hand and hand. Without a Holy Spirit inspired ministry and His gifts young ministers will become like every other preacher – lots of talk but no demonstration and power (1 Cor. 2:4-5; 4:20).
For example, a Christian who has never been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is at a great disadvantage in life, and their spiritual progress will be seriously hampered. Without the baptism in the Holy Spirit much of the evangelical world will stay dry. Similarly, without the strong foundation of the Word much of the Charismatic/Pentecostal world will be too sensational and even weird. I am sometimes appalled at what passes today for the Holy Spirit in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles.
Once again, the number one problem we have in Christianity today and the reason for every failure among those who claim His Name is we don’t know Him. You know Him through His Word and His Spirit.
We are not talking about a general knowledge of Him. Of course, when we are born again we come into new life in Jesus and we know Him as our Savior. Thank God that we receive eternal life and an assurance of our salvation. But to intimately know Him will move us into another realm of the Spirit’s operation in our lives.
What have you done with the eternal life of Christ that is in you? The majority of the Christian world has sacrificed that life on the altar of their carnal mind and their own will. Many have never yielded that life within them to the Lordship of Jesus and the Spirit’s direction.
Do you understand that it was unthinkable to Jesus to attempt ministry without the direction of the Holy Spirit? Just as it is unthinkable for a man to produce a baby without a woman so it was unthinkable for Jesus to minister without the co-laboring of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus understood that He was not on the earth to do His own will but the will of the Father. He also understood that He was not here to do His own will in the Name of the Father, which is the common error of today.
The first step toward knowing God intimately is to surrender the life of Christ within you on the altar of the Father’s will. The reverse is what most Christians do. They sacrifice the life of Christ within them on the altar of their own will. They have life in their spirits but the direction of their lives comes from their own will and carnal mind resulting in works of the flesh.
This same pattern is also true in ministry today. Thus the reason the works of man are plentiful today while the true works of the Father are rare.
The word of the hour for the body of Christ is that this message would come to maturity – that believers would learn to commune with the Holy Spirit and minister to the Lord until they hear and know the mind of Christ for their lives, situations, and ministry.
This is what the Lord is putting more emphasis on for our ministry this year – to teach, train, and demonstrate to the people how to get in the Spirit, be continually filled with the Spirit, and receive the mind and counsel of the Lord.
To be continued…stay tuned.