Since I last posted things have continued to be difficult and I've struggled with numerous things such as discouragement, insecurity, and irritability (to name a few). However as I look back on these past couple of days I am seeing more clearly that these struggles have God's fingerprints all over them. I've had a good bit of time to think and pray tonight and as I sit here my heart cries out for the Lord to do a mighty work in my life. I know that he desires more from me and I'm certain that there is no way I can do this work on my own, it must be the Holy Spirit convicting, and providing the strength for me to move forward. I need that...and I want it so badly.
I picked up a compilation of essays about the church by A.W. Tozer and the first one I read was striking. I felt convicted and compelled just reading those few pages. He starts out by reminding the church that it cannot accomplish anything of eternal importance without the energizing work of the Holy Spirit. How true that is and sadly that mind set is not widely heard in the church. Often times we busy ourselves with "good works" and soon any efforts are hindered by our pride as we think that we can complete any task to the glory of God without his hand moving in our midst. We want the recognition of doing something great. We want the praise but "God faithfully reminds us that a ministry of the Holy Spirit is to hide the Christian worker in the work." It's not at all about us but about all the glory being given to God.
Tozer goes on to talk about three basic requirements God makes of the body of Christ if it is to do his final work - His eternal work.
1st-Christian believers and Christian congregations must be thoroughly consecrated to Christ's glory alone.
2nd- The second most important requirement of the believing church if it is to be used in God's ministry is prayer and the response God makes to our prayer uttered in true faith.
3rd- The church must be dependent upon on the Holy spirit and wiling to exercise the Spirit's gifts.
These three points are some heavy ideas to contemplate. Some of these truths speak of things almost taboo in some churches and in others...an idol. Consecrated to Christ's glory alone? My pride must be sacrificed if I am to be of any use in the kingdom of God. Prayer...what is that? We are called to be a people of prayer. Prayer through Christ is our lifeline to God. I am amazed at reading stories of George Muller, EM Bounds etc...men of prayer, who prayed by faith and saw God move in miraculous ways. Any revival that comes is always surrounded by prayer. Dependence upon the Holy Spirit? Exercise spiritual gifts? Yikes...now we are getting into dangerous territory.
I do not understand completely how these truths can and should look in the lives of the church but one thing I am certain of...this is not possible without Him. The sins in my own life and the sins of the church cannot be rooted out and destroyed without the redeeming work of God. We can't possibly see any change unless we throw ourselves with abandon on the blood stained cross of Christ. Lord...with you all things are possible.
"What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer."