I was recently invited to a conference on the Prophetic. We were asked before hand: What is your gift and how is it used in the body? How do you see your gift developing?
It was the last part of this question that got me thinking the most. And I came up with the answer: With difficulty.
I see that difficulty split into 2 parts:
1: Difficult because as I am finding, when you decide to yield to the Holy Spirit, and make that vow to the Lord, he actually takes you seriously. A lot more seriously than perhaps you would have liked. And he enrols you on a course of discipline and scourging. The word scourge isn't pleasant. For me it brings up images from 'The Passion Of The Christ' where the whip digs into the table and pulls it to pieces before being aimed at Jesus. Yet that is almost exactly the correct image. The whip comes and digs deep at the flesh life and pulls it away. You may pray STOP LORD!, but he will not listen, there is no turning back from what you have signed up for, so you may as well save your breath in that direction. The Lord is determined to make you not into an automaton or slave that will do as your told, but a son or daughter that he can trust with the most costly of gifts and secrets. He sets about refining our response times to obedience. How long does it take you to obey when he highlights something in your life that is wrong and needs to be put right or when he tells you to step out in his name? Years, months, days, minutes, seconds? It's not pleasant. It hurts. It's difficult to go through but if we are going to become the people he wants we have to be stripped of all that is fleshly. The upside to this, of course there is one, is you will find yourself driven to that secret place where Jesus becomes all, and where your relationship is watered and buds. All this happens for enlargement, for blessing, for expansion, but don't be fooled, it takes time, maybe a very long time and is painful. That is why I see this and expect it as a difficult time.
2: The second reason why I see our growth as difficult is because we are up against a huge monster that is masquerading as a beautiful idol. It's our traditions. Make no mistake, this is maybe the biggest obstacle to the Holy Spirit building the church as he sees fit, our traditions. Our agendas. Our plans. Our ideas. You may say that your gatherings are ordered by the Spirit, that it is just right. Let me ask a question then. Do you think the Spirit want's to do the same thing week in, week out in your gatherings? Do you think it is acceptable for the same few people to expect the Spirit to turn up at their beck and call to give them an hour's long preach every week? What about Easter, Christmas, Mothering Sunday, Harvest time etc? We roll out our typical agendas every season with no thought at all that the Spirit may have other plans. This idol of ours is a real monster, because try and cut of it's head by a change of direction, a different agenda and we find it's gone and grown another head! How are we going to kill this thing? This old wineskin that cannot hold the new wine? I think part of the answer is to allow the body to grow in gifting. To allow the prophetic word to be dwelt on and like a rudder, steer the ship. We need to allow worship to reach new heights. So much can be achieved in 5 mins before the Lord in worship. Maybe it's time to get the oil out and anoint our musicians, praying over them to take us to where Jesus is and before long I believe we will realise the idol is toppling.