Allowing the Flame of the Holy Spirit to Burn Inside
“Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.” –Acts 2:3 (NKJV)
As many of you know, I am soon to be on my way to Africa for missions: Kenya will be my base, to be exact.
I will be conducting leadership training, church development of many ministries, Women’s ministry, curriculum development, and charity work. I also hope to be able to establish a widows and orphans fund in order to fund education for children that cannot afford it as well as macro-loans to develop small businesses for women supporting their families.
As I move further further and further in to my calling I have been surprised by something I never expected to deal with when moving in to ministry. I have noticed that, out of what seems like nowhere, I am being bombarded with a slew of old attitudes and struggles that I thought were long behind me. The worst part of it to me is that I often feel like I have to battle these most strongly directly after digging in to the Lord. It has had me struggling and wondering as to the state of my own soul.
I have found myself in moments looking directly in to my heart and asking, “Why am I having this thought or feeling?! I am no longer a teenager. I have not felt this or allowed myself to think this way since I was 15, 16, etc.” It has had me in such bewilderment and caused such an urgency in my spirit to find answers that I have really been searching and digging in for answers with the Spirit of God.
Though I have had my understanding expanded on the matter here and there, I was not satisfied with partial understanding. This needed to be dealt with before I leave for service so that I can be as effective as possible and not be fighting myself as much as I have had to lately.
Yesterday, God answered this prayer and finally brought me to a full understanding of what is going on.
First I will share with you what I had already known:
Every year around New Years Day, I begin asking The Lord to reveal a word to me for the year. He helps guide me throughout the year and direct my steps and for the last several years he has given me these words. Most of the time he answers by New Years. Sometimes he gives me an answer a bit in to the year. Last year, for 2017, my word was “breakthrough.” This proved to be a true word from the Lord as there were many areas of amazing breakthrough in my life. This year He has given me one that is more challenging. I prayed several times for God to confirm that this was his word for me because it was a word that I didn’t really want to have to deal with along with all of the other things happening in my life at the moment. The word he gave me, and confirmed time and again, was “Refine.”
Refine is a brutal word. It is right up there with pruning in the Christian walk. It is important but very difficult to go through another season of refinement. I will first talk a bit about the process and then go in to the importance of refinement as a Christian and a leader.
Often Refinement, when mentioned in the Bible, deals with the process of burning impurities out of precious metals such as gold or silver. The metal is melted down to a liquid state, which does two things: it burns out all impurities, therefore making the precious metal pure; and it makes the metal more easily mold-able. When the impurities are taken out, the metal can be poured in to a mold, or cooled and pounded by the master’s hand to create the desired shape. The absence of the impurities means the metal is softer and less brittle. It will not break as the tools are used to expertly craft it.
The Holy Spirit enters us and the fire of the Spirit burns out all that is not of God as we allow him to work in us.
We need to keep in mind that, as we pray and sing songs asking God to, “purify my heart, let me be as gold, and precious silver,” and the like, we are asking for exactly that and giving God permission (since he is a gentleman) to work in us and grow us and prune us. We must not allow ourselves to be surprised or respond indignantly, then, when the Holy Spirit leads us in to the depth we have been asking for and begins to pull up roots of past bitterness, deceit, unclean thoughts, addictions, and every other unclean thing that has found its way in to our hearts throughout the years. We often deal with these things and overcome them, but refinement banishes them from our spirit and uproots the weeds that do their best to grow back in to problems in our lives. Refinement creates an environment that is too on fire for these weeds to survive.
We must continue to dwell in that fire of the Holy Spirit so that the proverbial house Jesus speaks of, mentioned in Matthew 12 and Luke 11, that represents our heart, is not a cleaned but empty house to welcome back a past spiritual problem, but is occupied continuously by Christ and continues to be an environment detrimental to Satan and his minions.
The purpose of refinement and why God seemed to be sorting through the attitudes of my heart with such a fine toothed comb was a puzzle to me. However, more troubling to me was the deeper realization that many of these things that had not been present in my life for over half of the time I lived by this point. Why were they showing up again, and with so much strength that some of them seemed difficult to overcome? The presence behind them seemed nearly as difficult to fight as it had been when I was a young teenager just learning how to fight. Why, now, was there such a prevailing strength in battles I had long thought had been won?
The answer to this, after much prayer, was revealed as I watched the Jesus Conference 2016 Panel discussion yesterday on the couch in my sister’s living room. I listened as Benny Hinn revealed an answer to a question about why some ministers of the gospel fall -even though they had operated under the anointing- that Oral Roberts had revealed to him in an interview several years prior. He said, (at 1:00:22)
“Let me tell you what I know about the anointing. The anointing, when God anoints you for service, that anointing magnifies everything in you- intensifies everything. Notice that when people are under that anointing for ministry you become very loud, you become very intense, it effects you emotionally… It intensifies everything in you; good and bad. If a man is living in sin, that anointing brings it to the surface. It kind of stirs it up.
That anointing stirs up the good and the bad in people. The reason they fall is that they do not understand… these people with those weaknesses… we all have weaknesses and if we don’t deal with those weaknesses, they will destroy us eventually. With preachers that don’t deal with these problems, under their anointing it stirs their problem up. The problem is they need to pray more after God uses them than before he uses them.”
This helped me to realize that, since God has given me an anointing for service in the kingdom, now that I am active in moving towards this service that he verified in me many times concluding in my realization this last October that this is the next step of what God was asking me to do; the good and the bad within me is magnified and I must allow the Holy Spirit to burn out the bad and give all of this to him in total surrender, or the things that I have struggled with in the past will come against me in ministry. These will not come against me in the fact that they are part of my history that might be revealed- I am unashamed of my past as Christ has deleted my shame and the blame and condemnation for my past bad choices- but that if I do not allow the Holy Spirit to purify and then renew my heart, I will be found wanting.
Praise The Lord Jesus Christ that he has given me sufficient grace to overcome my weaknesses. Praise Him that He cares enough to allow these things to be revealed in my soul so that they can be uprooted in preparation for service. Praise God that the Holy Spirit has been provided to set us on FIRE and mark us for salvation. I choose to surrender and get through this REFINEMENT, allow him to build me again through Holy Spirit RENEWAL, and be able to be an instrument of REVIVAL in such a time as this.