The Advent Part 49
There is an established order to the work of God, and man cannot sidestep this order try as he might. The desire to skip certain steps of any given task is often times an overwhelming one. We would all like to instantly shed that ten or fifteen pounds we’ve been meaning to lose overnight without going through the requisite diet and exercise, we would all like to get our degrees without going through the requisite classes, we would all like to get our driver’s license without taking the diver’s exam, and the list goes on at infinitum, because every day of our lives there are things we would rather evade, circumvent or skirt.
As I said, when it comes to the work of God, man cannot circumvent any of the steps; he cannot skip over certain aspects of their walk and still live with the expectation of a positive outcome. We are all excited about the prospect of the Holy Spirit, we are all excited about God pouring out His Spirit on all flesh, but before this can happen there are certain things that as believers we must do.
Yes, we’ve talked about it time and again, God has a standard, and He will not lower it for any man. Before He can pour His Spirit upon us, first there must be self-denial, first there must be surrender, first there must be repentance, first there must be faith, first there must be the taking up of our crosses. We can’t put the cart before the horse, nor can we live with the expectation of the infilling of the Holy Spirit without having first come to the knowledge of truth, repented, believed in Jesus, and surrendered our all to Him.
Luke 9:23-24, “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Jesus spoke to all the disciples who had gathered before Him, and not one of them got an exemption or a pass. The prerequisite to coming after Him, the prerequisite to following in His footsteps, was first and foremost self-denial, followed by the daily picking up of their individual crosses, then faithfully following after Him. Even so, after all these requirements had been met, Jesus continues His discourse and informs them that if they desired to save their lives, they would most assuredly lose them, but if they lost their lives for His sake, they will most assuredly save them.
God has not changed, and what He requires of His servants is no less stringent today than it was two thousand years ago. If we desire to follow after Him, then we must die!
We are not our own any longer, we belong to Him, our lives are His, and the entirety of our aspiration must be the furthering of the Kingdom of God.
Yes, it would be much easier if Jesus had said ‘if anyone desires to come after Me, raise a limp hand at a crusade’, but He didn’t, because He will accept nothing less than our all, and there is no special exemption of dispensation for our generation, just as there was no special exemption or dispensation for His disciples.
Every one of the hundred and twenty souls gathered in the upper room met the requirements in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They had denied themselves, they had picked up their crosses, they had died to this world and to self, and when the Holy Spirit descended they were ready to receive.
In order for the Holy Spirit to fill someone, they must be ready to receive Him. When the rain falls, only vessels that are empty, upright, and uncovered are filled by the raindrops. Those that are covered, tipped over, or filled with other things, can only get wet on the outside, but cannot be filled on the inside.
If we do what Jesus commanded us to do, then He will do what He promised us He would do. What is required of us is to be ready to receive when He begins to pour, through faith and repentance, having become living epistles of Christ. The Spirit of life is poured into the living, and He will have nothing to do with dead works, dead ceremonies, or dead traditions.
No, the Spirit of God does not discriminate between young and old, between male and female, because as the prophecy of Joel reminds us, God is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh, on sons and daughters, young men and old men alike. In every case God weighs the heart and He inspects it, making sure that it is void of anything other than the desire for the fullness of Him.
If we possess divided hearts, if our hearts are cluttered with things other than God and the desire for Him, then our first duty is to clean out the clutter, to do away with any and all things that we know to be a hindrance in our walk with God, and make certain that the wineskin is ready to receive new wine, that the vessel is ready to receive the Spirit, otherwise we ask and plead in vain.
Of all the attributes of God, I have yet to see wastefulness on the list. That which He demands of us has been made clear in the Word, it is easily understood even by the simplest of souls, and if in our stubbornness we are unwilling to submit to His will, if in our arrogance we believe we can bypass repentance and self-denial, we have no one to blame for our stale spirituality and the lack of power in our lives than ourselves. God will not acquiesce, God will not change His mind, God will not lower the standard, and though heaven and earth pass away His words will by no means pass away.
Matthew 24:35, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.