THE INTELLECUTALS VS. THE SPIRIT LED
by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You have heard people speak of “church as usual” and that means “predictable church.” Church of any kind that really lifts up Jesus is not bad! We have to appreciate it. But there are people who want more — those who want to see and have God encounters, utilizing things they have been taught already.
We need good teaching, and we need good doctrine – which is a balanced understanding of the Scriptures. The Bible has many stories, and parables, and comments, and prayers and history, and proverbs and predictions and it’s all in one book. There is much instruction on what to do and not to do, what is good and not good and some things you are still just trying to figure out what it all means.
I really appreciate those who can help me understand things and I have come to realize that God really does anoint people who have a gift at teaching these things, who do more than give a history report with an opinion. When I learn more about how God operates on a Spiritual level, it helps me understand my own responses and soul even better.
So often when we are “intellectual” or “evangelical”, our minds think over our spirits, even though we have chosen the Spirit of God for our souls. It’s just that we use our mental reasoning to figure everything out and we look for people to follow more than the Holy Spirit.
You can’t blame people who have never been taught, and much of it is found by seekers who were in their soul hungry for so much more than what they already know today that they moved on to new fields. Another history lesson or “word of advice” is not enough to quench their driving thirst!
People are sick and tired of feeling guilty for “things” they have done wrong as to why they are unhappy and not feeling satisfied with their status quo. They don’t want to just “trust” that God is so good and they are so not. Guilt and blame are easy to come by in this world and while some of that can lead us to correction, it is not enough to take us into the encounters our hearts cry out for.
But it needs to be said, too, that encounters and moves of God cannot be sustained by people who don’t have their doctrine right. Moves of God without the Bible are like building a house without a foundation structure. It won’t be long and the thing will not be standing right or sheltering us from the harsh elements out there.
Often much damage can be done by “strange doctrine” that is not Biblically sound or even taught. It’s important. It’s very important which is why we should never knock someone who is “Word only.” “Spirit only” can be like a balloon without a string on it! Away it goes to who knows where and when it falls, it’s usually pretty deflated.
So how do we get from mostly mental to more Spiritual? — Because there are more dimensions. First, you need to pay attention to how God did things in the past. God is a Personality and He took a personality and worked with them. When that relationship got strong, others followed. In the Old Testament, God made a big deal out of order and laws. But we must remember, that even though God raised up Moses from Egypt, Moses found other believers, such as Jethro in another place. The whole show is not on one man, except Jesus the Son of God.
The laws were meant for good, to explain what is good and not good, what works right and what does not, and people who did not go along with that were punished, often severely to get the points across. Much of the Old Testament Bible teachings are on good hygiene and even things that were meant to affect good mental health and government order of a society of people. Even the right treatment of animals was mentioned.
I remember when I, as a native Texan, realized that many of the Feasts were good old barbeque picnics! Suddenly I could relate to that and my love for God grew more personal to what He was really all about in that koinania fellowship. It’s not about the flesh, but there was love seen through the order and in people rejoicing in their God and their fellow man. There was the reminder ritual and there was the party celebration for those who would keep Him first!
No one really likes ritual unless it has meaning, and even Jesus said that traditions can block the path to God, even ones originially intended for good. That means as individuals we have to work through this thing. I remember as a young Spirit filled Christian discovering all the wonders I had not seen before in Spirit life and wondering why people could be happy with “just” their traditions, but some traditions really do bring order and healing to a life that has been a victim of destructive chaos. There is a foundation there for them that makes sense and they will fight to keep that.
But there also is more for those who feel that “good order” is not enough. The Church embraces all backgrounds and walks of life. God is amazing in His way to bring all people together as one, in spite of all their differences and cultures. And at the center of it is man’s need for God, no matter who they are, and His Son Jesus, whom God sent to reach and touch that need, even loving to the death by persecution on a Cross.
And we know as Christians that even though He suffered unbelievably relating to us, He also rose again from the dead to a new life that He offers us as well. We just have to understand how His program works.
Jesus is our example, and we have to study His life of not just living it, but also study the way He did His ministry. Again, He approached individuals and got to know them and them Him, and then He taught them, and then He demonstrated. Today, the New Testament is our instruction book on many levels! He will be personal with us and then we can touch others!
Jesus taught by parables, or story examples, and He taught His disciples prayer. He listened and heard and then went to God the Father for them and then gave them answers for their needs. Jesus was the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher all wrapped up in One! He is the ultimate intercessor.
We all have a little bit of every gift by nature of the Spirit of Jesus within us, but we are given assignments that we can excel in, if we will apply ourselves. With those assignments comes an anointing, or a God enablement that is truly supernatural and somehow we just know what to do on many levels that goes beyond our natural understanding and abilities. But the watermark on that ministry is the Presence of His Spirit in a way that people can recognize.
So much has to be taught and if you see what you like out there, go learn from that ministry by serving them well, and then determine if that really is your calling. I promise, no leader can serve well without support people and they can be so crucial to making a good thing work right.
But for all of us, once we get our doctrine stable, we need to ask “What is the Father doing?”
Jesus said in John 5:
17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
There is a divine connection that if we fail to achieve, we are just standing by the fire, not actually getting into the experience of the Spirit’s fire and becoming a conduit for it. As I shared, warm is not bad but it’s even better when it’s a part of us. Obviously I am not referring to being the lukewarm of not caring either way. Some just don’t know yet that there is more.
This is where we have to learn how to be “Spirit led.” We aren’t just following the doctrine of a teaching, but we are engaging with God and working WITH Him. We aren’t just performing for Him, but we are caring WITH Him and He sees that as fellowship with Him, and that produces a flow of the Spirit, not just to splash in and get wet, but to flow in and find His path.
We have to learn this. A good example would be when you are at a church service and you ask God before you even go, “Is there someone I can bless today? Is there someone that I can minister to?” And often God will bring someone to mind. A pastor might ask, “Lord, what is Your message for the people today? I will share and You can demonstrate!” God often responds to that.
For leaders, God might have burdened them with “My people are hurting, or My people are hungry for a certain thing like Justice,” and God will respond with the appropriate message and course of action, be it corporate prayer or a healing line, or testimonies, or a special offering for something they can see at work. What we honor in God, we can receive in God. Often prophets can assist because they can be a confirming witness. Teachers in the church will take their cues and study and teach. Even evangelists can use a certain type of bait in their arsenal to make it all come together.
It’s often said that this is “more caught than taught,” because you will develop a sense for what God is doing in the people you are around. The gifted ones are not continually featured over and over but are there to be of assistance as needed and respected for their gifts. The minister who can utilize all the giftings will be seen as a strong Church leader.
The Body ministers to the Body parts that are needy. And none are more needy than the lost. But once those are brought in, they need to find the teachers and exhorters so they can be equipped enough to do their ministries and work with others. There is a replication cycle in that and people do get snared at times in this. But this is why we seek God and listen to prophets (or those with a burden for the greater good) and work to be in the flow of what the Spirit is doing in the churches, because something is going on.
We need that balance of structure and outreach and growth. The ministry gifts are fascinating but if we do not have the Father’s heart and if we do not see what the Father is doing, we will get off track pretty quick. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus and learn the ways He did it.
There is structure and understanding and there is the doing and stretching and learning and healing and getting back out there again, because we are in a spiritual battle for the ruling of this world. Will we be functional in the the Kingdom of God? Will we be in the power of the Spirit or just in our minds trying to defend ourselves from the powers of the spirit of this age?
What is the Father doing? He is caring about the people. He is a Father, so people are His Children and He wants to raise them up healthy and strong and equipped and protected like any good father would. He is working to raise up His children in the way they should go and we will see the fruits of it. The Father is working for a world of justice and compassionate activities that displace the strongholds of darkness and reach for a brighter world, because of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end. We just have to learn how to do it and we can!
We aren’t to be dumbed down or psyched out. And when we find what He is doing, we will see His supernatural blessing upon it. He is not limited, He is unlimited and He wants us to mature and increase in carrying His anointing (and power) of love that makes things right in people. We will work with the foundation we have to do all we can, and then move on to the greater works.
James 5 gives us some instruction:
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,
20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Are souls getting saved, equipped, healed, finding forgiveness, running with a vision? Is the Kingdom and fellowship of God increasing, as it should? There are many ways to do these things but only the true Church can do them.
When we discover the power of His Presence, and how much better that makes it to find and do our vision and see the captives set free (including ourselves), we will do as much as we can to welcome in His Presence and activities and change this world for the better. We will be following in His footsteps!