Last week I was praying about some circumstances that were causing me to feel “down” generally. One of the things I felt that God spoke to me during that time of prayer went something like this:
“Do the work and I will be with you. Don’t let emotions keep you from action. Movement is how my kingdom works, and how I partner with people to bring my blessing to human affairs. The enemy works by immobilizing and isolating. Keep moving in kingdom action and you’ll find my Spirit there, doing what you cannot do.”
It reminded me of something Dallas Willard said at the Ecclesia National Gathering. Someone asked him for some practical advice on helping people make first steps in Spirit-led kingdom living, and his recommendation was twofold:
- Discern where the kingdom is at work in their life
- Get them in motion, doing something they cannot do in their own strength
He reminded us that Jesus often did this in the way he ministered. To a man with a withered hand, he says “Stretch out your hand.” Impossible. To a man who cannot walk he says, “Take up your mat and walk.” Impossible. But as they obey Jesus and begin acting in his will, they find the Spirit is there to do what they cannot do, and wonderful things happen. Withered hands are made whole. Lame people can walk.
“Do what you can’t do and you’ll find you can, because God was with you,” Dallas told us.
And this principle applies just as much to miraculous healing as it does to forgiveness, reconciliation, kindness, blessing those who curse us, loving our enemies, praying for those who hate us. All are things we cannot do in our own strength, all are equally “supernatural,” and perhaps the character issues are more important than the more spectacular gifts.
Whatever God has given for you to do, you may actually not be that spectacularly gifted at it, but when you put yourself into action in the kingdom, you will find the Spirit is working with you to accomplish far more than you could ever do if you were relying merely on your own efforts and skills. Discern the will of God, and then step out into the impossible and God will uphold you. Do the work and the Spirit will be with you.
Good stuff, wish you guys well.
Funny how we tend to forget the actual doing part, but that's the way we really grow spiritually–by participating in actual ministry, attempting things we cannot accomplish on our own power and believing that the Spirit is working alongside and through us.
I love the part from Dallas Willard about paying attention to where the kingdom is already at work in a person's life. Completely different from the more typical approach of providing a predetermined list of "ministry opportunities" for a person to pick and choose from.
Ben Sternke says
And Dallas' advice about paying attention to where the kingdom is already at work in a person's life applies to evangelism as well: what is God doing in a person's life? Where is the kingdom coming to bear on their life? You engage in conversation and then get them moving with God in the kingdom.