God is working a highly proactive plan in your life. He is not casual about you. You are not lost in the innumerable mass of humanity populating the planet. He is so wise, so focused and so omni-capable that His eternal eye falls upon you this moment, and He will never miss a thing that you do for the rest of your days. You are His child and you are more than precious to your Father. God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ. We have encountered him by faith. The Holy Spirit has awakened us to the saving Gospel. The Lord Himself initiated that encounter. The Lord provided the substance for our forgiveness. The Lord awakened you to your personal need for Him. The Lord granted you repentance, and then He saved you. When you called upon the name of Jesus, He rescued you from the forces of darkness. That eternity-securing encounter must not to be taken lightly. It is not reasonable that we should ever misplace our wonder at being made a child of God. As impacting as that salvation moment is for us, it should never be the last encounter you had with this great God of yours. The salvation moment is the initial encounter, but it is meant to serve as a gateway of a lifetime of intimacy with Almighty. He is a God of personal interaction. If your salvation was the last encounter with God that you had, then my friend, I want to tell you, your pathway needs to change. He destines His children for higher ground.
Many in the Church, because of our spiritual and theological grooming, were never encouraged in this concept of pursuing the Lord and expecting personal encounter with Him. In spite of the clear biblical evidence that God is an interactive Father, we were taught to think that those who pursued experience with God should be relegated to the fringe element in the Body of Christ. Some of us decided that, in this silent divorce between the Word and the Spirit, it was incumbent upon us to choose whether we would people of the written Word or people of personal experience with God. It seems that someone presumed that we actually had to choose a side, forsaking one for the other. I believe this has been a near-fatal flaw in the American church for more than a century. God is raising up people to call us back to the wedding altar for a rejoining of hands and renewing of vows.
Let me give you this analogy, it’s not original with me but it fits well with what I am writing here: there has been a divorce in the church and, as in any marital divorce, the children either go with one parent or the other. In a marriage of Word and Spirit, which was the foundation of the early church, over time there has been this divorce between these two foundational elements, and the children of God are either living in the custody of the Word or the custody of the Spirit. A split has arisen and the household of God as seen in the visible Church is weakened. The children of the Word don’t want to learn from the children of the Spirit, and the children of the Spirit don’t have time for the children of the Word. So we have this divorce between the necessity of God’s objective Word and the equally valid need of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. What I am asking God to do in my generation, in my own life and in the life of the congregation I shepherd, is to bring about a remarriage of Word and Spirit among believers. There needs to be a clear renewing of vows in this area, and I am doing my best to officiate that remarriage wherever I can. The unbiblical fallacy that we have to pick one of these essential elements above or in spite of the other, must be removed from our thinking.
I am a man of the Word. I love my bible. I read it, meditate upon it, pray it, preach it and am growing in my understanding of it. I find God on the pages of Scripture, and the more I understand from this blessed book of His, the more I know I must grow in further understanding. Personal encounter with Him is also at the top of my list. Simply reading about Him is not enough – as good as it is, there is more. I want to be in the presence of the Author. I want to experience the reality of John 10:4-27 wherein Jesus declares multiple times that His sheep will hear His voice. Ask the modern believer what it actually means to live a Spirit-filled life and you will likely get a response that is awkward, generic or denominationally boxed-in. To be Spirit-filled is to live a life of yielded interaction with God the Spirit. It is relational, not just theological. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher, the Guide, the Empowerer and the Helper of God’s children. He is God over us, among us, in us and through us. How can this be so, and we not expect and experience personal encounter with Him? Friends, the acknowledgement that both the Word and the Spirit are meant to characterize us as the children of God must become a priority for us as our world grows darker prior to the return of Christ. Do we really think we can do without one or the other? The Apostle Paul certainly could not, nor could the people he served. He once wrote, “Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5).” I regret the handful of years when I believed the lie that to embrace one of these foundational elements of our faith meant that I had to reject the other. God help us to remedy this in our generation.
Be courageous, people of the Word. Be wise, people of the Spirit. Become both, children of the King. There is no lesser alternative for us. The remarriage is occurring and the children of the Word and the children of the Spirit will live again under one roof. Make it so, Lord Jesus!
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