What spills from your life when you’re shaken?
Cindy and I just returned home with a team of six others. We ministered in Fort Worth, Texas, at Crossroads Tabernacle where Corey and Beth Ann Jones lead a house of prayer. I haven’t been in many churches where the environment is so conducive for kingdom activity. That’s for another blog. Leaving DFW, we landed in Atlanta and discovered there had been a nationwide computer glitch in Delta’s system, so all flights were suspended. After waiting on the tarmac for nearly ninety minutes, we finally were able to enter the airport and it was mass chaos. We were placed on standby with the hopes of leaving later that night. But by 1:30am, Monday morning, we were told that we couldn’t leave until 1:00pm the next day. Because the hotels were all booked, we all spent the night on the floor with some flimsy blankets.
It’s interesting to me that our week of ministry ended the way it did. Our ministry series at Crossroads Tabernacle was called, The Transformational Lifestyle. I talked about the transforming capabilities of a life lived in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit from First Corinthians. There are three mandates given in 1 Corinthians 14:1 that summarize the chapters 12-14. Paul wrote, “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” The first mandate is pursue love. “Pursue” is a present tense verb that indicates chasing after something as if you were hunting prey. We are to never stop becoming love; it should be a life-long pursuit. Biblical love creates an environment where the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit can be manifested, so keep pursuing love.
The second mandate is to desire earnestly the spiritual. The word “gifts” is not in the original text so most Bibles italicize that word. The word spiritual describes something that is empowered by wind or air. When we say “Holy Spirit (pneuma)” we are actually saying Holy breath, wind, or air. When we sing about God being the air that we breathe, it’s really true. The Spirit gives us life (see 2 Cor. 3:6). A pneumatic wrench is a tool used to remove lug-nuts and rotate your tires. It’s a wrench that is empowered by compressed air. Think of our lives being totally dependent on the air—Holy Spirit—blowing through us. The Spirit blows through our lives and empowers us to function supernaturally. So when Paul told us to “desire earnestly” the spiritual, he was literally telling us to crave for, be jealous for, or to passionately long for a life that is empowered by the breath or wind of the Spirit. Who doesn’t desire that kind of life?
The third mandate tells us to especially desire the manifestation (the expression or evidence of the Spirit’s activity through us) of prophecy. To prophesy, as spoken in 1 Corinthians 14:1, means to speak under inspiration; to utter forth or declare something that can only be known by divine revelation. Simply, prophecy is to speak what the Holy Spirit is saying. In other words, He speaks and then you speak. Every believer hears the Holy Spirit (see John 10:27). One of the reasons that He was sent, Jesus said, was to “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13). The point is that the Holy Spirit speaks to us, and sometimes He will share specific information about someone so that our words will impart edification, exhortation, and consolation to them (see 1 Cor. 14:3). Think about being empowered by the Holy Spirit in such a manner that your words cause someone to worship God (see 1 Cor. 14:24-25). It happened with Jesus when He spoke to a woman standing at a well (see John 4:39).
These three mandates were the basis of our three-part series last week, and one day I’ll write more about them. Together they comprise a transformational lifestyle. When we chase after love, desire to be used by the Holy Spirit, and speak to others as the Spirit inspires us, tremendous things will occur wherever we go. This kind of lifestyle keeps us poised and ready to be used by God no matter the situation. It’s easy to preach it, but it’s more challenging to live it especially when you’re walking through difficult circumstances. When passengers were confronted with difficult news this last weekend, many were angry and irate. I might expect that kind of reaction from people who don’t have a relationship with Christ, but what’s disheartening is when believers respond to disappointment in much the same way.
We all will experience conflict and disappointments, and people will say and do things that are hurtful and even harmful. How will you respond? We need to always be ready to respond in love and grace. We must live so intimate with Jesus and focused on His presence that He is what gets released when we’re shaken. I watched our team minister to people for nearly twenty-four hours. They prayed with people, blessed them, and gave Jesus away. Just before leaving Atlanta, after about eighteen hours of waiting, my daughter-in-law received a prophetic word for a stewardess. When she released that word, the woman was nearly moved to tears. Those inspired words brought comfort and healing to her, but it wouldn’t have happened if my daughter-in-law was more focused on our disappointments. When we react to earthly circumstances rather than respond to the heavenly voice, we diminish our capacity to be used by God.
My challenge is to always live ready to release Jesus to others. Pursue love, desire to be an instrument that the Holy Spirit can use, and learn to speak as the Spirit gives you utterance. Live this way and watch what God will do through you.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on us today. Make us usable to everyone that we meet. No matter what we experience, let us always be ready to release Jesus.