I have taken many spiritual gift tests over the years and most of the time my primary gift is administration but following close is exhortation, prophetic and teaching. I preface my post with this info because all believers have spiritual gifts that are intended to glorify God and grow the kingdom. However, we will always see ministry through a certain lens (thanks to Danny Silk for that analogy). My lens sees the church and the kingdom of God as one of godly order and structure that the world will see as true freedom through the power of Christ. The problem with my self-proclaimed vision is that sometimes ministry gets messy. Better yet, Jesus dealt with the messy.
I remember when I was struggling some 14 years ago with the idea of supernatural power being released in the church today. I was about 6 months into youth ministry at an Assembly of God church but I had seen the abuses and shut myself off from the idea. I came back from a youth camp and realized, I lacked intimacy with Jesus. Suddenly, I wanted that intimacy and I went to my wife and told her, I am not leaving until I have an encounter with Jesus.
For those of us in ministry we often focus on teaching, drafting a series that will change lives, but one question… are we hearing from Jesus? I went into my office and cried out to God, and I remember it was for hours. I prayed everything I could think of, I even prayed in King James just in case some Old English could persuade my Savior. Nothing! So frustrated, I asked one simple question, “God what do I do now, it seems you left me?” I hear a small still voice (let’s not judge whether it was audible or not) tell me to ask my wife to pray for me. So I call out for my lovely wife, who I argued with in recent days and was a target of my spiritual arrogance at the time.
Let’s just say Jesus was very intentional in the limited time He ministered on the earth and His intentionality is no different today. Jesus was relational and He will use the relationships to reveal, breakthrough and cause momentum. So my wife comes in and lays hands on me and one of the most powerful physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit came over me. This shy girl who asserted no authority in her life ever, prayed so powerfully. Her authority was immediately tied to Christ, and my flesh and spirit had to respond, it was commanded to respond. Wow! I was immediately weeping, prophesying and speaking in my prayer language.
Who cares about the outpouring of the gifts at that moment! Sounds strong, but let me explain clearly. I was so infatuated with Jesus at that moment that it became all I cared about. He came to me, He loved me, He touched me. I felt like the leper who called out to Jesus and Jesus was intentional about actually touching him. (Matthew 8:3)
We say we love people, I sure did. I preached it, studied it and lived in pretense telling myself that how I lived was because of love. Jesus purposely put Himself in situations that were not Kosher (like how I did that), and defied man made rules in order to establish God-ordained rule. He demolished religion! James 1:27 tells us that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans, a new definition by all standards of the time, at least the only acceptable form of it according to God.
Are we willing to just do what Jesus tells us? Don’t get me wrong, I live by the mantra of hearing the voice of God is four-fold, Bible, prayer, circumstances and THE church (not just your church). I study original language and believe in having training in theology, but the difference is I believe I can hear from God in the process of the four-fold living.
Most of the time, we do not experience the supernatural because we are either lazy, fearful or critical. Because I decide to walk in the supernatural, I will see supernatural results. My wife’s obedience is a spiritual marker in my life that now allows us to be partners in ministry and that in itself is supernatural.
If we are too busy guarding our heart and our ministries from something crazy happening, we may miss the opportunity to touch someone in the dark.