Someone Else

During my federal government career in Small City, USA, promotions were few and far between. Many of the folks that I knew of in my agency and other agencies and departments like it who were being promoted more quickly had to make sacrifices to achieve them. They typically traveled abnormally often, or lived and worked in less desirable locations. When promotion opportunities did come around to those of us who chose to commit ourselves and our families to small towns and stable lives, the competition for them was enormous and inevitably positioned friend against friend. But the reward almost never went to the most qualified. It went to the ones who made a political campaign of their aspirations, independent of their qualifications.

Applying for these opportunities certainly made me aware of the elevated qualifications that each of them required, and caused me to squeeze every drop of relevant experience onto my application in a vainglorious attempt to be good enough, but to no avail. Once the position was filled by the secretly aligned though, another picture began to emerge. The job into which they were promoted became a platform from which to disperse its duties onto the lower ranks, thereby freeing themselves to time and interests that really had nothing to do with the new position.

Let’s contrast that with Kingdom government and the Believers’ mandate to bring Heaven to earth.

I believe God speaks through Believers today. I believe in the overarching themes which I’ve heard consistently, that God is bringing “revival” and that God is going to “pour out.” But the picture I’m personally seeing about what that looks like is different than what I sense is the prevailing thought; which is that God is going to sovereignly do these things, and when He does everyone will recognize them and take their places automatically. Some to disciple and teach others with church programs, and some to be discipled and taught in those church programs. How happy we will all be.

I believe these two themes, but beneath them is where I’ve heard an ad-nauseum abundance of detailed prophecies, from so many sources that they’ve become confusing. My Bible clearly identifies the author of confusion, and it isn’t God.

But while everyone is busy preparing with scheduled activities, organized structure, and slick production, which I presume are being done to make ready, no one is really being transformed in them. When Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons, people flocked to Him from miles around to hear His teaching, which adjusted their thinking to line up with those miracles and the grace of God in them. It was definitely a “revival” and a “pouring out.” The overarching theme then, is what it is today. God wants you to be with Him in eternity, and wants you to be free until you get there.

When was the last time someone had a need and we said we’d pray for them, but didn’t do it in that moment? When was the last time that, when we did pray over someone, we commanded the spirit(s) troubling them to leave? Did we keep at it until the Holy Spirit bore witness with our spirit that they were actually gone? Why should we earnestly desire the gifts, as scripture encourages us to, if we don’t have the confidence to use them? Could it be that we don’t fully walk in the yielding that those things require? Maybe, like my example of earthly government responsibility above, we feel we’re called to direct what God is doing rather than do what God is directing.

God isn’t looking for those who would compete for a promotion in His kingdom, or manufacture a position for themselves when it doesn’t come. He doesn’t look for someone to assume a leadership role in name and title, or website and business card. His leaders are the walk-ons, who have put aside life’s distractions to hear His voice and act on it. His leaders are those who understand that by simply yielding and being available, all of Heaven trusts them to heal, deliver, and set free the captives around them.

See, we’ve taken the prophetic words that would propel us forward to our heads and our hearts, but we seldom put them on our feet. But walking out what Jesus said we would do, that’s what brings revival, and that’s a clear picture of God pouring out.

A Readily Achievable Aspect of Complete Yieldedness

complete-yeildedness

How many times have we earnestly and fervently prayed for something only to not receive it?  Or how many times have we held back that kind of prayer, to settle for whatever happens because we’re uncomfortably aware that we have  kept the God of answered prayers, to whom we should be praying, at a “safe distance” from ourselves.  This has probably happened to all of us if we’re honest, maybe more than once or twice, but if in those moments we don’t stop and re-consider the totality of those happenings, we can create the less than desirable effect of widening the gap of that “safe distance”.

To begin with, the grace that we all have experienced in our lives, to the point of sometimes taking it for granted, as well as our past prayers that have been magnificently answered, can become diminished and somehow insignificant.

I have found that many times my unanswered prayers have been for people who have succumbed to illness or injury and passed away, in spite of our great faith that God could heal and raise them up and our offering of those very prayers has seemingly come to nothing. That hurts.  Imperceptibly, those unanswered prayers can quietly usher in a false sense of unfulfilled promises.  The very promises that we know exist and may have been taught to us from our youth.

Could it be true that we just plain abhor investing ourselves into something like fervent prayer, settling for cursory topical ones?  How then do we become offended at not receiving the answer we desire.  Meager investments yield meager returns, no matter what the currency.  More on that in a moment.

Recently, while with some friends in a time of prayer together, one of them stepped up to lead us in a slightly different manner, suggesting a time worship followed by an invitation for us to pray freely afterward.   Her instructions for our worship were this though:  Take ourselves COMPLETELY out of it.  Even to the point of not including our thanksgiving in it, because that thanksgiving would have some aspect of “self” attached to it.  Just purpose to make declarations to God, purely and solely acknowledging who He is.

No mine. No my. No I, we, ours, theirs, them, us, etc.  Just… Him.

It was surprisingly hard to do this at first and I immediately realized that I had never, ever purposed to do it, always adding a little (or a lot) of myself whenever I worshiped God.  Within a few moments though, I began to detect a change.  I sensed that worshiping Him in this way took me to a place of wider spaces of peace that seemed fresh, new and unfamiliar, because I had never purposed to go there in that way before.  In that space EVERYTHING was okay, past, present and future. Gone.  Gone were the voices and callings of the world and my life, that beckoned for the attention due to them, which is never truly satisfied, by the way.  It was amazing.

Scripture is full of covenantal promises for us, some of them very direct and specific, but how are we to respond when our hope in them evaporates, sometimes in a single moment, because a heart’s desire would go unfulfilled?  Difficult as it may be, we must pry our clenched fists off of the doubt that invites itself into our very lap in those moments and grasp for the truth that no longer seems available because of those moments.  A traveling preacher, named Tom Skinner, began a series of teachings years ago which he started and ended with these statements:

I spent a long time trying to come to grips with my doubts, and suddenly realized that I had better come to grips with what I believe.  I have since moved from the agony of questions that I cannot answer, to the reality of answers that I cannot escape, and it’s a great relief.”

            I believe that somehow grace… is as big as the universe and has the characteristics of a liquid, always seeping to the lowest place it can go.  That’s where people live, unfortunately.  It’s the smallish definitions we’ve given to grace, that just don’t contain the revelation to give us recognition of it’s presence with us at all times. As a result, disappointment finds its way into our human lives more often than it should.

But in going to a place of pure selfless worship, even for a few fleeting moments, I found that it had no choice but to stay behind.  Standing in a very small part of that, away from my “self” became bigger and more secure than anything I’ve ever experienced.