Barnabas Bulletin ~ 0231
CHASING A MIRAGE
By Joan Emery (Gisborne, New Zealand)
If we believe we are living in the days where Jesus could usher us away at any moment, then we need to be extra careful about what we are chasing. A mirage is something that appears to be real, something we can put our trust in, yet it’s really only an optical illusion. We could spend a lifetime chasing for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow when the truth is it’s not even there. The saying comes to mind: “All that glitters is not gold!” And, just because something appears to sparkle, does not mean it is the genuine article. If we add all our own pretty tinsel paper and ribbons, the things that outwardly look so ‘spiritual’, the truth is, in reality they are nothing more than a false façade occupying the place of the Holy Spirit. Every jeweller who deals in diamonds knows he has to contend with imitations that look real, but are just cheaper versions of the real thing.
- What are we chasing?
- Where is our focus centred concerning the kingdom of God?
The truth of the matter surely is that we must be tuned into the voice of the Holy Spirit because Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27).
- Whose voice are we listening to?
- Is it the voice of the Spirit?
- Or is it the voice of religion?
The urgency of this hour is plain for every born-again Christian to see as the spirit of religion seeks to steal, rob and kill unsuspecting believers from their blood-bought victory in Christ. When we hear a voice, do we presume it is the voice of God because we want to believe what we are hearing; we want to be “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)? Unless we are prepared to submit to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow Him, we could be chasing a mirage; we could be running after an illusion that seems ever so real but having no anointing and power. The mirage could lead us to such a ‘sparkling pool’ that we are convinced of it being genuine – until we become ever so dry and thirsty. Unless it is the voice of the Holy Spirit, we could be chasing shadows; shadows that look like the real thing but are just that – only shadows.
A spirit of religion will allow us to worship Jesus and give Him great recognition, but sadly, a form of godliness will over-ride and quench the power and the anointing of the manifestations of the Spirit. The Early Church had no agenda of their own. They were submitted and listening to the voice of the Spirit. There were no power struggles going on because all the power belonged to the Holy Spirit – and they knew it.
Why did Jesus send the Holy Spirit when He went back to be with the Father in heaven? He sent Him to be the very presence of Christ within us here on earth. That means He has the most prominent part to play in the Church here on earth. Why is it we find it so much easier to give room to many other things before we submit and give the pre-eminence to the Holy Spirit? Could it be that we don’t trust Him enough to know His own job, His own position in the God-head? Could it be that we don’t trust the presence of the Holy Spirit in one another enough to have spiritual ears to “hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Revelation 2:7,11,17.29; 3:6,13,22)?
Right now, God the Holy Spirit is doing something very significant among His people, and He longs and yearns that each one of us will be available to co-operate with what He is doing. In many parts of Christendom there is a restlessness that has come over the Church, causing people to be baffled; it has leaders scrambling to ‘do an exploratory’ to see why this is happening. But to God the answer is simple: many of His people are thirsty and dry through a lack of the anointing, so He is causing a restlessness in order to get the attention of His people. He is warning us of danger if we keep denying His Spirit access to move sovereignly in our lives and gatherings. He is warning us that all is not well when we attempt to build kingdoms that have faulty foundations – casual Christianity does nothing to quench our thirst.
- What are we building?
- Do we have the foundations right?
We are saved and called to be temples of the Holy Spirit ~ we are not our own (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). The Temple-Builder resides within us. He has placed His beautiful gifts within each one of us; they are our ‘tools of the trade’, but unless we remove the wrappings, and use the gifts (tools), what good are they to anyone? God knows that the only way we can do His work effectively is as we yield to His Holy Spirit, listen to His voice and obey what He says. What we would turn into a project He can accomplish in moments. Why? Because “It’s not by might, it’s not by power (our own strength and methods), but it’s BY MY SPIRIT, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6).
If we overlook the importance of the Anointed One by programming out His presence and workings in our midst, then we are ‘confining the Holy Spirit to the back seat’ when the truth is He should be ‘the Driver’! He has a voice and we must learn more and more to do the listening.
The Church has a high calling in Christ that can only be accomplished as it is led by the Holy Spirit. We’re “Pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). The Apostle Paul’s teaching and preaching came directly from the Holy Spirit – “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost . . . “(1 Thessalonians 1:5). Paul clearly taught that God had moved on from the Old Testament temple system because the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit was now residing in the hearts of His people (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Perhaps we sometimes need reminding that God moves on IN THE SPIRIT.
He can’t move on IN THE FLESH because HE’S ALL SPIRIT.
And when we move on, we move on with Him IN THE SPIRIT ~ the mirage no longer has us in its grip as we move on in the reality of THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, Help me to be fully focussed on You, and not getting side-tracked by all the deceptions that are in the world today. You have chosen and called me to live for Your glory through a personal relationship with You, which means I need to know You and Your voice in reality, especially when You are speaking to me. Please forgive me for all doubt and unbelief that the enemy has deceived me with in the past, so that I can be free today to serve and worship You according to the truth of Your Word by the Holy Spirit. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.”