We live in a microwave world - where everything is done at a blink of an eye. Our society seems to be screaming, "More, more!" and, "Faster, faster!" We can easily expect that the things of God are done the same way. We want to carry an extreme weight of glory instantly, with little personal investment. But - it doesn't happen that way.
Most of the time things accomplished in the realm of the Spirit only LOOK as though they happened suddenly, quickly, without preparation. God creates a plan and sets wheels of events in motion that bring an expected end. Many times someone, somewhere has travailed and labored in prayer to pull things into our reality - but to us - it seems to happen almost instantly. It is still the fervent, effectual prayer of righteous people that avail much. Although God absolutely can do whatever He wants as suddenly as He wants - most of the time that just isn't the way He operates.
So it is with training our flesh and learning the way of the Holy Spirit. Time is involved - and many times - suffering is involved as well. For time and suffering are trainers of our flesh and increasers of our capacity to carry more of His glory.
I referred earlier to Corrie Ten Boom (Part 1) and how - as a child - she wanted to carry knowledge of something her young shoulders were not mature enough to carry. Her father explained how she was not ready to carry that knowledge. Well, so does our Heavenly Father.
Father God moves us along our life journey and gives us the weight of glory we are mature enough and ready to handle. He orchestrates, allows and denies life events that will increase our spiritual capacity so we will be able to fulfill His ordained path for us. The call He has placed on our life may be ever so large - but He will allow us to walk in only as much of it as we can carry.
In 2 Kings 2:8-11 Elisha desires to walk in double the anointing of Elijah.
"Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?”Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
Elijah told Elisha he had asked a hard thing when he asked for a double portion of Elijah's life anointing. Elijah knew the price he had paid to have the capacity to house a greater weight of glory - a greater anointing. If our flesh has more and more control of our life - the Holy Spirit has less and less control. And so also is the opposite.
We also discussed earlier (Part 2) that we are vessels - containers, if you will. We house, contain or carry power - of the flesh and of the Spirit. God made us supernatural spirit beings that live in a house of flesh. While we live on this earth one does not come without the other. But we get to choose which power we want to dominate and rule in our lives.
For reasons known only to God - suffering and situations involving a rock and a hard place are trainers of our flesh. Hebrews 5:8,9 says it best.
"...though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,..."
The suffering of Jesus made Him a vessel with a capacity to carry a weight of glory so large - He could carry the power it took to die on the cross for the sins of all mankind.
In a recent Sunday morning service I witnessed a perfect example of the things of which I speak. Pastor Patricia Brown at Hope Alive Christian Center was ministering on Prayer that day and her daughter - Chelsea Brown - got up to dance toward the end of the message.
For the purposes of this article I will not mount my soap box and elaborate on how the church has missed it by excluding and discounting dance - this powerful vehicle of ministry expression. It's a subject for another time.
But, I digress. As Chelsea began to dance I was not thinking about the fact that she is a graduate of Oral Roberts University with a Communication Arts degree in Dance Performance. Nor was I thinking how I had seen her grow from a beautiful teenager learning of God to a bold young woman standing strong in God. None of that! In the face of the anointing - degrees and status fade to the background. What I did think of - was how much I wanted to spend more time with Father. And as she finished dancing - an anointing enveloped the sanctuary. The only response I could give was to raise my hands and worship.
I have seen many dancers glorifying God with their gift - but never had I come away from them thinking ONLY of Him! Seems before - in the midst of being encouraged by their gift - I still thought later about what they did and how good they were. This time was different. Chelsea, this beautiful dancer- seemed to fade into the background while the gifting stood forward and pointed us to Him. All I thought afterward was about HIM! THIS IS HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN - WITH ANY GIFT AND ANY CALL!!!! I knew then that I had witnessed what God had been ministering to my heart. I saw Him use a vessel - a container filled with His glory and anointing. And as she moved in her gifting - He poured out of His vessel and blessed His people.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Cor 4:7
We are containers - vessels that God created to carry an exceeding, eternal weight of glory. He molds us, makes us, sends us through the fire and stretches us. He knows one day He'll look at us and see a giant container large enough to house the weight of glory He needs us to carry to fulfill our purpose and His call on our life. And as He thrusts us center stage He'll say, "This child of mine is ready for more!"