The Glorious Journey
by Sigrid Taylor
Have you been feeling like you've been dragged through a knot-hole lately? Confused, distressed and out of sorts? Feeling a stirring in your spirit to press more deeply into God? Yet at the same time, desiring to retreat, even from social activities? Or perhaps you're feeling shaken to your very core, sometimes by circumstance, and other times with no logical explanation whatsoever? Perhaps it seems like God's pulled the rug out from under your feet, and everything that's been comfortable and familiar for so long, is gone, with no assurance that you'll ever dwell there again? Are you being confronted with issues in your life, that you've tried for many years to deny even existed, or that you've pushed way down deep inside, because they were just too painful to deal with at the time? Well, I've got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that this journey has a wonderful destination, which results in a release into the fullness of power and authority that God desires to trust us with (remember, that to whom much is given, much is required). The bad news is, that a transitionary phase is required to bring us from where we are, to where God wants us to be. It's called, the Wilderness.
We see from Scripture various types and shadows, which all believers pressing on to the highest God has for them, need to experience. God alone knows the timing and duration of each phase for each life. The pattern is taken from Moses' Tabernacle. There was the large Outer Court, the smaller Holy Place, and the smallest room of all, the Holy of Holies, wherein the Manifest Presence of God dwelt. To pass from one dimension to the next, there is a squeezing into a smaller space, a paradigm shift in understanding, and a reacclimation to a new realm. We see this progression expressed in many ways: Body, Soul, Spirit; Way, Truth, Life; Called, Chosen, Faithful; Babes, Children, Full Age; Faith, Hope, Love; Servant, Friend, Son; Working for God, Working with God, Living in God; Egypt, Wilderness, Canaan. [These examples are taken from a chart developed by Dr. Wm. J. Hurst.]
Many have entered, or are about to enter, the Wilderness phase, just as Israel did after they left Egypt in power, as Job, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Jesus and Paul did. Interestingly, in examining each life shown above, there was a tremendous victory or elation, where we see a high point, victory or great blessing, just before the apparent devastation of a wilderness experience. In each case, the length of the experience was different, but customized to the point where the discipline and hardships of the wilderness resulted in each life coming out of the wilderness with tremendous power and authority, greater than ever before. Do study these examples for your encouragement.
In Jesus' case, immediately following His baptism, we read in Mark 1:11,12; "And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the Spirit driveth (impelled) him into the wilderness." The Luke passage expands on the account in the wilderness, and 2 passages underline the difference between how He entered, to how He came out. Luke 4:1,14; "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness." "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about." In the original Greek, the 'power' that Jesus came forth with was 'dunamis.' (Strong's 1411) Dunamis may refer to power, mighty work, strength, miracle, might, virtue, mighty. Expanded, this refers to: strength power; ability; an inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature; or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth; power for performing miracles; moral power and excellence of soul. (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon). Notice that Jesus was already full of the Holy Ghost prior to the wilderness. He came forth from it with the power of the Spirit.
We the church, in our youthful exuberance, have been asking God to show His power, and to permit us to use it, and indeed this is what He desires. However, we don't realize that there is a cost involved, and maturity required, in order to correctly handle the power without misusing or abusing it. For example, we as a parent (God), would never toss our car keys (power and authority), into the lap of our 12-year-old (the Church). I'm not saying that all of us have the spiritual maturity of 12 year olds, for we see that there are some in the Body who have come to a place of maturity to be worthy stewards of this power and authority. God uses the wilderness to remove the 'Egypt' in us (that which longs for fleshly and worldly desires). He wants to liberally release His power and authority into the hands of His children. It is for this reason, that so many of us are presently finding ourselves in solitary places, bewildered, out of sorts, and in transition in many ways. In a sense, many of us may not realize that the wilderness is the promotion, or graduation process, from Elementary School into High School (or High School to University). God has found you faithful to lead or drive you (the choice is yours) into the wilderness, to work into you a depth of maturity, with which He can trust you to rightly use the power and authority He wants to release into your life and ministry.
Since God alone knows the length of your wilderness experience, the best thing you can do, is to ask God to help you to learn each lesson along the way, to not 'kick against the pricks,' and to seek for the grace to fully learn out of every situation, the lessons He desires to teach you, the first time around. As we personally know from going through school in the natural, the requirements and expectations are much greater on us in High School (and University), than they ever were in Elementary School. Consider it an honour that God has found you worthy of graduation to a new level. This 'winter season' will cause your 'root system' to grow deeper into the ground, to seek the Artesian Springs of life-giving water, so that your tree can grow strong enough to bear the fruit that you have called out to God for in times past, without breaking due to the weight of it.
So, from one wilderness sojourner to another, do take heart. You're in excellent company. Can you hear them? Listen closely now. There they are - the voices from "...so great a cloud of witnesses...," calling out and cheering us on from the heavenlies. Jesus will see us through to the fullness of victory on the other side. Go ahead, reach up and out, and take hold of that faithful, wounded hand, and let Him lead you through. What a glorious thing to look forward to, when we the Church can emerge en masse in power and authority, going forth in the fullness of our anointing and authority, led by the Captain of the Host, bringing light into the darkness, with NO FEAR.
Feb. 1, 1997, Copyright 1997, Song of the Arrow Ministries, a division of Kingdom Seed Ministries. All Rights Reserved
Rev. Sigrid Taylor and her husband, Rev. Dr. Ronald Taylor are head of Song of the Arrow Ministries (Renewal, Worship, Teaching) a division of Kingdom Seed Ministries of Kingston, Ontario. They reside in Oakville, near Toronto and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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