In every hour of history there are divine strategies and measures of grace that God chooses to release. Our job is to press into the fullness of whatever God is offering His people in the season of history in which we live.
Contending for the fullness of God means working against the obstacles that keep God's purpose from being manifested in our generation. It means doing everything God has in mind to heal the sick, deliver the demonized and draw the unbeliever to saving faith through lifestyles of prayer, fasting, happy holiness and wholeheartedness for God.
Jude gave a strong exhortation, saying: "Beloved...I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (v. 3, NKJV).
Jude was saying we must fight for the apostolic faith and power of New Testament Christianity that was delivered to us by the apostles and to the apostles by the Lord Jesus Himself. This apostolic faith should be a hallmark of Christianity at all times of history.
Typically, Christians in our day limit the meaning of "contending for faith" to fighting for sound doctrine. But there is a power dimension to apostolic faith that we see manifested clearly in the book of Acts and throughout the New Testament. This is inseparable from the other facets of the faith.
We must have the power to deliver the oppressed and needy. By the same token, it's not sufficient to experience power in ministry while living in secret sin or espousing false doctrine.
We need all three--lifestyles of radiant righteousness, sound doctrine and the power of God to deliver the oppressed. We must resist any tide of popularity that minimizes any aspect of the faith.
Seeking God's Face and Not His Hand There is a familiar saying that we should seek God's face and not His hand. Seeking His face refers to intimacy, but seeking His hand speaks of God's blessings, which includes His power to set the captives free to experience intimacy with Jesus.
Seeking God's power isn't wrong unless it becomes a higher priority than intimacy. But it is equally wrong to neglect seeking power at all.
We need a fresh release of apostolic power to cast demons out and heal the sick today. People are tired of reading about the way the gospel worked back then without seeing it at work now.
I believe that Acts 19:11 is a vision statement from God's heart to us in this generation. It says, "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul" (NIV).
God is going to release unusual miracles by the hands of His servants. I believe people are going to have such a life in God that they will be known in hell itself.
Paul had an authority that was known in the realm of the angels and the demons because of his life in God. We have the same opportunity to lead that kind of life.
The Lord is calling us right now to shift out of the common mode of Christian ministry into a lifestyle of apostolic, New Testament power. I want to see unusual miracles and demons backing away through the prayers of the saints. I believe this is happening to a point, but not as it will when we exercise the kind of authority God wants to release to His children.
The introductory dimensions of grace and anointing that come to us at salvation are automatic. But there are greater realms God gives to those who take the kingdom by force, who press in to His heart with a vision for the fullness of God's power (see Matt. 11:12).
To enter into the greater realms takes a fierce determination. You enter by weakness, meaning not sinfulness but a lifestyle of fasting, praying, serving and bearing up under persecution (see 2 Cor. 11-12).
Man's way is to rush into doing the works of the kingdom, bypassing the step of weakness because this message is offensive. But historically, when people have persistently fasted and prayed, given freely and borne the stigma of the anointing, God has always released power in a greater dimension.
We must persevere through the ups and downs of the moment. We must not only contend for power; we must also live holy and radically abandoned to Jesus. And I believe He's calling people to do this through a lifestyle of fasting (see Joel 2:12-17).
Benefits of the Fasted Life Regardless of what you might think, fasting is exhilarating. It enlarges our hearts by helping us encounter the beauty of our Bridegroom.
Through fasting Jesus opens our hearts in a way that no other dimension in the grace of God can. The fast of the Old Testament was mostly for external purposes, but the Bridegroom fast of the New Testament touches the heart.
- Continue reading >>
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?