The dry land is good. But if we’re not careful we may abide in this goodness instead of pressing forward. As human beings we have a tendency to latch on to what is good and stay there. We also have a propensity to take the part as the whole––to only hear a part of God’s message and not listen to the rest. We gravitate toward certain themes and subjects that agree with our nature and personality. Those who are melancholy may even want to dwell in the wilderness when God says, “Move on!” On the other hand, the sanguine wants to run immediately when God gives a mission or vision.
After Jesus told his disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples,” He said, “Wait until you are clothed with power from on high” (Matt. 28:19, Luke 24:49). If the disciples went into the Promised Land without waiting they would have encountered utter failure. If they only heard the first word without the second they would have gone out naked.
Just because we have read or heard something does not mean we should run out to do it, even if it is a good thing. When God speaks to us, it is time for us to ask him specific questions like, “Is there anything more? How do you want me to carry this out? When do you want me to do this?”
Before we carry out any command we need to wait, allowing the Spirit of the Word, the very Spirit of God, to saturate us. Without the Spirit of God filling and clothing us we cannot really carry out God’s Word. We cannot just be content with the letter of the Scripture, or even the God’s outward command, we must be soaked with the very nature of God (2 Cor. 3:6). Obedience is something inner not just outer, and it flows out of those who wait in the presence of God and live in the baptism (immersion) of God’s Spirit.
The infilling of God’s Spirit is essential to being a witness. Why? Because being a witness is much more than “witnessing” or preaching. The true witness is one that emanates from our spirit, it is a fragrance and a light that communicates more than words. Words will always follow this witness, but it transcends our verbal articulations. This type of witness means that our presence brings the Presence of God. We are clothed with God, but not only that, God has also clothed himself with us (Jdg. 6:34).
Jesus said to his disciples: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV). Moses also knew this way of God. When Yahweh threatened not to go with him (but rather send powerful angel) Moses sought the Lord (Exo. 32:1-2). The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to Him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Exo. 33:14-16, NIV).
True fruitfulness stems from the fullness of the Spirit. This is why the experience of Pentecost, both individually and corporately, is necessary if we are going to put into practice Jesus’ words. It is possible for us to have success, the fulfilling of a vision and a measure of blessing without the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit. But the disciple who is hungry for Jesus will not settle for anything less than abiding in his manifest presence by holding on to his Word and living in his love.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing…You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain” (John 15:5, 16a, NASB)
Father: Let us not stop in the wilderness, but take hold of everything you have taken hold of us for. Fill me with your fullness, Holy Spirit. We only want to go as your presence saturates us, in Jesus’ name.