Matthew 16:18 Jesus declares “….I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. After entering into salvation, every new convert begins the journey of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary. The school of life becomes the school of the Spirit. Our ways and works have to be sacrificed as we learn God’s ways and thoughts. By experience, we find God upholding the truths of His Word as we see God, the Unlimited One, has a very different perspective to our finite one.
In the natural world some pupils learn more quickly than others. So it is in the school of the Spirit. A well known quote comes to mind: “Attitude determines altitude”. Humility is always key to learning along the “path of the just”. Proverbs 4:18 declares “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day”.
Ephesians 4: 1-16 adjures us to walk worthy of the vocation to which the Lord has called us to. The five fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is needed “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ……no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine……but may grow up into Him in all things, who is the head, even Christ”.
There will always be new converts who need teaching and discipling. Till the end of our days we should always be open to learning under the Holy Spirit. Our faults and failures on life’s journey can be used of God as learning curves with a humble and teachable spirit. In the economy of God there is no waste. He uses everything……if I allow Him to, instead of staying in hurt pride and offense. Here my troubled soul finds forgiveness at the Cross and Christ’s finished work cleanses and renews my life.
Consider this: Jesus, as the Son of man, had 30 years training for 3 years of ministry! After completing Bible School, some have been sent on the mission field with great expectations and ambition, only to struggle with personal relationships within the mission itself! Many have been placed unwisely in positions they were not yet fit for because their spiritual apprenticeship was incomplete. If they are placed under a more mature team member and walk in humility, they can learn by demonstration and experience and the “project” is not shipwrecked. I am not decrying the value of good Bible Schools, but what is learnt there has to be “wrought in” by the Holy Spirit, as a man humbles to Him and his fellow men, in the school of life. This is where “the rubber hits the road”, where maturity is developed, or refused!
If I am too big to be led, I am too little to lead!
There are some in the body of Christ who have viewed the five fold ministry gifts, (Ephesians 4), as something to strive for in ambition. They have turned the gifts into offices. When a man is truly walking in the Holy Spirit, he is not aware of himself. His life is hidden in Christ and only Christ is seen. Ambition is surrendered.
Consider the difference between ambition and vision:
Ambition is a strong desire to do something or achieve for yourself. This is the glory of man. Ambition drives you.
Godly vision is a plan for the future, as unto the Lord, for the glory of God. Vision draws you. Only God can fulfil it.
There are many in the body of Christ, even leaders, who have heard the message of Christ crucified for years, and yet still have ambition to be something, a someone, in the work of God. They have never surrendered their ambition. They want to see “Christ glorified” in their lives but have never understood that embracing “Christ crucified”, (death to the flesh), precedes that. We have to know Christ crucified and identify with Him in that. It is a continuing process daily. Jesus surrendered His own will for His Father’s…..even unto physical death in order to fulfil God’s plan of redemption for mankind.
The apostle, Paul, had much to glory in his birth and achievements, but God had wrought in him an immeasurable depth that he declared, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world”, Galatians 6:14. Selah.
Paul did not even consider the man made prison he was incarcerated in but declared: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord…..(Ephesians 4:1). A prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a freedom that knows no bounds that comes with this position – a liberty in Christ and His life in me – a glorious liberty when my life is hidden in Him, embracing and boasting in the message of the Cross.
The hymn penned by L.H. Edmonds endorses this:
“My faith has found a resting place
Not in device nor creed, I trust the Ever-Living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.”