Staying on Course
As sure as the promise of spring, is the sense that we are on the verge of incredible breakthrough.
We hear reports from all over the earth of the Church responding to the prompting of God. But, surprise, surprise, the enemy has not abandoned his destructive agenda for us. If anything, the level of warfare has risen significantly.
"The great temptation before us now is to grow impatient and rather than wait on the initiative of the Holy Spirit, to move ahead on our own."
If Satan can’t stop us, he’ll stampede us. He will do anything to try and get us to abandon our desire to fully obey God. As difficult as it is sometimes to step out in faith to accept the offer of God’s grace and calling upon our lives, for many of us it is even harder to stay the course, to finish our obedience. This is especially true when it seems to us that God’s answer is unduly delayed, when the fulfillment of the promise seems distant.
As we have moved deeper into the current move of renewal in the Holy Spirit there have been those for whom the initial burst of glorious refreshment has given way to a foundational sense of under girding joy and confident expectancy. We have not only been awakened to God’s presence, but also to His purity and power. Even more demanding is the growing realization that God is up to something profound, not just in the Church in general, but in each of us specifically. It’s God’s purpose, alive, burning in us, that fuels our passion for ministry and service.
The great temptation before us now is to grow impatient and rather than wait on the initiative of the Holy Spirit, to move ahead on our own. A pastor I knew had tried to introduce the renewal to his church. No matter what he did, one of his elders opposed every move of the Spirit. Discouraged, the pastor submitted his resignation to the board. The same day the elder was transferred out of state with his work, but because of issues the pastor raised in his resignation letter, he was no longer able to resume his position. He had moved too soon, and through impatience had been unwilling to allow God time to work.
"I believe the Lord is saying to us to hold on just a little bit longer."
Where Satan has failed to deflect us in our initial response to God’s call, he may now succeed by convincing us to give up, give out, or give in, just short of the promised breakthrough. All too often we are left vulnerable to the deception by trying to get the promise of God to fit us rather than by submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit as God conforms us to His purpose.
Fasting, in a peculiar way, really exposes our inability to persevere. What we are doing in fasting is saying “no” to things that in and of themselves are good, because we choose to be in a place where our ability to say “yes” to God is without challenge or confusion. We are placing ourselves before God continually and consistently so that we can hear Him clearly and without confusion. Fasting is in reality the quickest way to hear from God. We are not currying God’s favour, for He already loves us. We are not lobbying for anything. We are endeavoring to get in agreement with God so that nothing will hinder His will being understood and done in and through our lives.
It’s my observation as a pastor these last 32 years that all of us are vulnerable to being stampeded to bail out just before breakthrough. None of us are exempt from the enemy’s pressure to have us abandon God’s destiny just shy of realizing His purpose. I’ve watched too many saints, and not all of them young and inexperienced, take themselves out of the classroom of the Holy Spirit only to have to yet pass through this test. Bob Mumford once said, “If we fix the fix that God has fixed to fix us, He will just have to fix another fix to fix us.”
I believe the Lord is saying to us to hold on just a little bit longer. The fulfillment of the promise is within reach. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Gal. 6:9 NIV) The Lord is faithful. He will fulfill his promises concerning us!”