As we all know, the next harvest is at hand. The most important question now is: “What kind of spiritual life will we disciple new Christians to”. I’m afraid the Lord would find some of us as confused as to what we are to be doing. We can waste our time on noble, but ineffective work or we can be effective.
In the wilderness journey, God’s people wasted 40 years on that 11 day journey to the Promised Land. The reason, God’s people had a wrong measurement of success. They had His provision of the cloud, the fire, Aaron’s rod that budded, water out of the rock, manna and many more miracles. Because of these miraculous signs, they assumed God was pleased. He was not! He was grieved with their progress all 40 of those years. (Read: Hebrews 3:15) There is a vast difference between His sovereignly providing for us and His being pleased with our spiritual state. As then, I believe He wants to change our way of measuring our progress. Only the Holy Spirit can give us the answer. In order for Him to do that we must be connected to His voice not just His work.
Today ministries that are able to promote, encourage and empower people to harmonize with the Holy Spirit inside out will survive this period of time. Those who cannot nurture this abiding spiritual life in people will become irrelevant. God is now “de-funding” ministries who have not been able to nurture people in this kind of walk. Many institutions have spent 70% of their resources on building ministries and only 30% percent bringing disciples into true spiritual maturity. It’s time this stops before that great end time harvest shows up on our doorsteps.
Giving a closer look at Luke 1:67, we can see in Zachariah’s prophesied promising “a horn of salvation”. We must realize salvation is more than a onetime event, but a process encompassing the entire of our lives. There is a vast difference between merely being “born again” and “being saved” in a biblical sense. The process starts when the gospel comes first to us outside in through preaching, teaching and the other spiritual gifts, but then God’s entire work finishes from inside out. The work is between us and the Holy Spirit after we have “the left building”.
Complete Salvation has five true “benchmarks” of success along the way, each with specific characteristics. I call this His “Five Unions of Salvation”.
First: the “union of his spirit and life”
We are born again of Spirit. Ezekiel 36 states, He comes, cleans our spirit, and puts his Holy Spirit in our spirit. He infuses us with His Spirit. He then begins the entire salvation process from the inside out. This is where His blood is applied to our spirit as it was in Holy of Holies. I have described it in modern terms as a new operating system. We now become His Garden with His voice present as stated in this scripture in Ezekiel. Christ’s blood little by little conquers our very life, nature and energy. We begin to understand our Heavenly Father more and naturally follow in His will.
Second: the union of our will
The union of our will is where we become dedicated, steadfast, and reliable to His. However, true, harmony with Him is when our desires are in union and actively engaged in the things the Lord directs and desires. Obedience is where most Christians stop and remain. But there is something very important missing in mere obedience. Often in obedience we assume we are “In Him” but in reality it is only in particular areas. Down within us hides secret tendencies and strengths that control our lives. They will rise to surface when opportunity presents itself. We believe we care for nothing but His will, but let us be on the verge of losing something and we soon discover how tenaciously we want to hold onto it.
In Mathew 19, we see the rich man was called, but his attractions became his distractions. He had obedience to the law, but he did not have harmony in his affections. Harmony takes us where obedience can’t. In the time of testing and trial, we will discover that an obedient will is not the same as a harmonious one. How do we differentiate?
Any disparity in speed, feeling and strength shows a lack of agreement and strength in our will toward God’s. When we have to say, “I’ll pray about doing that”, we may be saying we don’t have harmony quite yet. “I am standing up outside but sitting down inside”. Judas was “called”, but his nature hadn’t changed. He was all show room and no stockroom. Remember obedience is related to activity whereas harmony is related to our nature or tendencies. Eventually we should experience a time when, “His commands are not burdensome”. (I John 5:3-18)
God’s intent is not merely to influence our actions, but to eliminate these inner tendencies by giving us His nature. We are to be transformed, not just conformed to His will. Obedience is seen in executing every desire of our master, but the son who has the Father’s heart has His tendencies.
Third: the union of his strength
Many times the difference in salvation is a matter of what strength we are operating in. This is measured not only when His nature is given but, because we are crucified through the cross, we now operate in His strength not ours. Only the cross can accomplish this final touch giving us a death blow to our strength and infusion of His.
In Romans 6 it says, “When he died, we died”. He died for us in the sense that he took us to the cross and carried us to our death, not just His. We can say He set our death up with the cross. As we “believe into Him, we believe into His death”. Jesus says “Come unto me and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn of me and you will find rest”. There is rest in union with His death.
Fourth: the union with of his mind
This union with His mind reveals to us harmony in our thinking with His. We actually appreciate His heart and understand His actions. At Gethsemane, Christ found this transition from obedience to harmony with His Father. (Read John 17) As here it is not an easy transition to make but all things are possible with His Holy Spirit inside.
Fifth: the union of our emotions with his
Finally, we see our emotional tendencies in union with His. This is when we know we are gaining tremendous ground towards perfection or completion. We exhibit self-control in our emotions. This is the fruit of the spirit that secures us from all outside influence, attacks and distractions. We will still experience emotional tendencies, but they will succumb from inside our spirit out. Our will is filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit which in turn governs our emotions.
Our walk becomes steady, firm and restful. The Holy Spirit Himself is empowering us and we no longer suffer from any form of confusion or lack of strength. We see ourselves “In Christ”, mature, fully trained and completed in Him-The Anointed”. (Colossians: 2:23) We are now His disciples. We now “walk in the earth, as He walked in the earth”. (I John 1:36)
May the Lord accelerate this process in you through His Spirit in these last days. It’s time for all His people to begin to walk as He did. May He grant you that ability day by day and may you get ready to lead all the new people coming into all five of these unions.