Kingdom Principle: It requires more power to “Stand” in Adversity, then to “Advance” in Shalom.
|Isaiah 35:1-10||Luke 1:46b-55||James 5:7-10||Matthew 11:2-11|
It is by God’s design that a couple is to “court” or date prior to being engaged, then in the process of being betrothed to wed, the maturity of the relationship is reached at their union. There is not to be union or intercourse prior to the wedding for the result of the union is to result in bearing a child. In this same way, God has designed the process of life for there to be strengthening prior to enduring suffering. (This is why the power of the Spirit was so manifest in Mary & Joseph’s life for it did not follow the natural progression, as well as why so many have increased suffering in relationships for they do not move according to God planned process) As the relationship naturally progresses; single, dating, engaged, married, parents, so does the Joy progress as does the potential for suffering. Our faith does not remove suffering; rather it redeems and rescues us such that an everlasting joy overcomes all sorrow.
The latest book by Malcom Galdwell redefines how we look at the principles behind the story of “David and Goliath”. Jesus is certainly of the line of David – not Goliath. Meaning the servant boy David and those in his line do not play by the rules of those who are endowed with the power of this world. He trusts in the Spirit of the LORD and the power which flows alone from Heaven. I presume that John the Baptist did not consider it odd to eat locust and honey, nor did Mary did not consider it odd to bear the Savior of the world – rather they considered it odd that others did not see and hear what they did. They were strengthened and made steady by the Power of the Spirit, but this filling was not so that they could do the amazing, rather it was so that they could withstand all adversity. So much of what we (the church today) are looking for is the amazing, when what we truly need most is to call upon the Lord for strength to stand in the face of adversity. We need to look at Goliath’s and not get weak knees. James calls this patience. This is perseverance and endurance anchored in the hope of God. (Romans 5:1-5) We looked last week at the advancement of the Kingdom as requiring the Power of the Spirit. It has also been presented that the outermost edge of the advancement of the Kingdom is marked by Humility and Hospitality. This is forged only in the face of adversity. For it is easy to love those who love you, but can you host those who spit in your face and will you give your jacket to the person who stole your car? (Matt 5:38-48 – these are the words the disciples of John the Baptist had heard from Jesus to report)
The call this 3rd week of Advent is to embrace that the Power of the Holy Spirit is not solely to be used to do great things, for it alone is greater than all things, this filling and endowment of the Spirit need only guide one in the way of Holiness. Once you are in the position of Holiness, be ready to stand, and stand firm (Eph. 6:11,13,14) for now the Enemy shall seek to devour you. Job strengthened the feeble hands and steadied the knees of those who were weak by walking in Holiness– all this prior to the Enemy’s assault on his life. (Job 4:1-5) The book of Hebrews calls to be disciplined, endure hardship and to submit unto our Heavenly Father for thus our hands will be strengthened and our knees steadied. (Hebrews 12:1-13) Clearly by James we are being called to be patient. However – patience is a fruit of the Spirit – which means to have patience; the roots must first be present – which in the end means it was not you who produced Patience. Therefore take notice that if you are not patience –it means you are grieving the Spirit and for that you will be judged. Further in 5:12 of James it says we must have clear understanding of the truth and articulate it clearly (both roots of the Spirit) and if our “Yes” and “No” are compromised we stand condemned. This is the power that we are addressing this week to stand up – under oppression and in the face of adversity. It is not about doing something amazing, nor demonstrating your Holiness so that other marvel at you, it is as simply as stand for what is good and doing what one ought to do and no more. (James 4:17) It often takes more strength to do only what you are called to do that to go beyond God’s call in your life. Because when we go beyond or over than what we are called to do – we receive the credit, we receive the glory and we by the call of James are in sin.
Each one of us is an Outlier (another great book by M. Gladwell) in the Kingdom of Heaven. You are being called to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – NOW! You are being called to move in Power – NOW! And if you do, you are to be considered greater than the greatest man who walked the planet prior to the Kingdom Veil being torn. We are birthed into this time and place for a specific purpose. It will require the power of Holy Spirit both to Advance in that role as well as to Stand Secure in the face of Adversity.
But that might look different that what you previously had thought. Having the strength and clarity to say No! to someone who is asking for help takes more power than you think. Holding your tongue when you are attacked rather than speaking the Truth when your actions where righteous may not seem to makes sense but often is a call given to those who advance the Kingdom. It might simply mean to “carry your cross” when everyone is calling to you “save yourself”. These actions require the ultimate power of the Spirit, yet are often not categorized as manifestations of the Spirit, nor are they considered glorious. In my personal opinion to truly listen to someone else for their benefit and blessing is one of the most Spirit-powered actions on the face of the planet, yet most never learn to move in such power.
John the Baptist does not abandon his Hope that Jesus is the Messiah – the anointed one of God – but he must confirm what he knows to be true. (John expected more demonstrable actions of power, to over through the current system of power (a Goliath concept) but rather he saw demonstrations of power that; lifted the weak, healed the sick and gave life to the dead. John must be strengthened and therefore he seeks to align himself with Jesus, rather than to react in anger, grumbling about what Jesus is not doing.
Do you have weak knees or feeble hands? If so – seek the Power of the Holy Spirit. Seek a mature believer to pray over you, walk with you and to intercede on your behalf.
Are you in the midst of Suffering? Look back at all that God has done (as Mary did); Look forward to all that God will do (as James did); and look at your present circumstance and ensure that you are aligned with the will of God (as John did). And consider yourself in the company of Saints!
Do you have strong knees and able hands, and are you free from suffering? Sing and Shout for Joy is upon you! Now do not fear suffering that may come, rather come near to God and seek if there may be more for you to do to advance the Kingdom. In this request you are bound to encounter a wilderness as a promotion opportunity. That is if you want to be promoted?