Friday, February 17, 2012

Experiencing the Spirit's Ministry Afresh

Several years ago I began to feel as though I was an outcast and that something was wrong with me. I saw clearly that the visible western church had strayed significantly from the path of Christ. But I thought very few saw what I saw. But in the last 3 to 4 years the Lord has opened my eyes. From the e-mails I receive and some of the comments I began to understand that the Spirit was moving in other hearts. You are out there and I feel a yoke of the Spirit with you.
Ok, now we are here. Now what? Some of you still attend a local church but your heart still longs for something more. Many of you, like me, are between churches and cannot seem to find the energy to search. In fact, it appears to me that there are strangers like us scattered all over the place and with all the many, many, many church buildings that litter the neighborhoods there still is a tangible spiritual dearth. It is sometimes almost overwhelming and sometimes my heart breaks.
I am vigilant concerning the spirit of self righteousness that often knocks on my heart’s door and begs me to let it in. And even though I write some of the things I do, I want to say before God that I am often convicted deep into my own spirit as the Spirit of God reveals how much more I could know of my Redeemer. To say I am imperfect is to brag.
But I still feel a sense of God’s moving. And although I do not have all the answers I still desire to follow the smoke and fire wherever it might lead. I do not look for a fellowship where everyone agrees with everything I believe, but I do seek a collection of believers who are set to seek the heart of God in an unusual way. And even though I am an ordained minister I still need the encouragement of other believers.
Let us pray one for another that regardless of where we live or where we are in our walk with Christ, that the Spirit will guide us into the place where we can grow and serve others. I believe that prayer is the lost key to walking with God. I say without fear of contradiction that prayer is the most difficult of all the spiritual disciplines. I mean deep and searching and selfless prayer that actually makes contact with heaven and allows the ministry of the Spirit to cut away the flesh that keeps us from spiritual power.
Another aspect of following Christ that is difficult and in direct conflict to our culture is humility. The very moment we think highly of ourselves is the very moment we diminish Christ. He must increase and we must decrease must be the constant mantra of our heart. Have you ever been granted just a blurry glimpse of the Risen Christ? I don’t mean with the earthly retinas. I mean has the Spirit ever pulled back the veil ever so slightly in your prayer time and you were undone with praise, gratitude, worship, and a profound sense of awe?
And there it is. The local church has left exhorting believers along those lines and they have become content with counting noses and coins. And when you see what has happened to God’s gathering bride, your heart is grieved. The Spirit came on Pentecost to speak of Jesus to a lost and dying world, and his mouthpieces were to be the lips and lives of Christ’s followers. But the Spirit is hard pressed to find those willing vessels in today’s pragmatic and esoteric ecclesiastical expressions. Jesus is no longer front and center in our theology to say nothing of our living practice. And I now believe there are many, many other believers who feel as do I. So in the midst of spiritual decay and even apostasy, my heart senses a growing awakening, albeit in a remnant.
Oh let us rush once again to the well of living water and drink long and deep. Incline your ears and hear the Spirit calling you out from Martha’s kitchen and into a reserved seat next to Mary at the Master’s feet. All of us by now have come to the conclusion that nothing on this earth satisfies. Only Jesus can bring inward contentment. But He can and does bring much more than that. Sometimes, not all the time, we feel such exhilaration about our Savior that our chest almost bursts open. And most times we cannot share that kind of experience with anyone who could actually relate.
But perhaps that is changing. For too long those who were thirsty for more of Christ were afraid of the excesses that seem so prevalent in certain doctrinal camps. But God has not given us the spirit of fear, and we can walk in bold humility and seek God with our whole hearts in ways that are no longer practiced in most evangelical circles. I desire more of Him and less of me.
This may be a new beginning for many of us, and that beginning may already be in progress. But in these past several years I have come to know that there is much, much more in Christ and that the ministry of the Spirit has been sorely neglected among so many evangelicals. The question of the gifts of the Spirit has always been the focal point when discussing the Spirit’s ministry. But in so doing we have almost ignored His main ministry of revealing Christ and leading us into God’s holy presence. The gifts of the Spirit, regardless of how you view and define them, are ancillary to the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We are on a journey that requires sacrifice, selflessness, humility, God’s Word, and a dedicated commitment to a life of prayer. And on this journey we will encounter some distress, some distractions, some persecutions, some frustrations, much repentance, much self reflection, and many wonders in the depths of grace. But mostly we will encounter the Lord Jesus.

If you desire to experience Christ and be changed, well,

You Got to Want It


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, apparently in response to a comment made in your previous post. Yes, to even say that I'm imperfect (or I can't find a good church) is to brag. However, one thing I would add to the conversation: an important minstry of the Spirit is the ability to distinguish between works of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit. If one reads Galatians with the view of flesh versus Spirit rather than Law versus grace, it opens up a new avenue of insight. Sadly, legalism is often viewed as any attempt to be set apart unto God, when in fact that is exactly what the Spirit has done and is doing in those who love Him. To eschew separation from the world while feeding the poor by the pwoer of the flesh is not an escape from legalism.

Anonymous said...

AMEN, Rick!

Richard Ludwigson Jr said...

Rick, thank you for expressing this. It is good to know that God is at work moving in the hearts of His followers. Amen

Anonymous said...

THis is so encouraging. I too feel that yoke of the Spirit here with others. I comment once in a while and love you too, Lisa. Maybe one day I'll post my name.

Yes, please, let's pray for one another. There's so much flesh I need to cut through, but am starting to feel a hope arise in me once more.