An Ovecomer's Survival Guide To Embracing The Holy Spirit
When we, the church at large, were beseeching the Lord to send His Spirit some 100 years ago, none of us knew what we were really asking for. We didn't comprehend the Spirit's dual nature or that His ministry could be divided and skewed by our carnality. We didn't realize that we could be deluded by our partiality to the Comforter, or that His presence could be used to reinforce our bondage to laodiceanism. Ignorant of these things, our embrace of the Spirit has proven to be more to our shame than our glory—a shame that continues as the leading spiritual tragedy of our time.
Yet despite the church's monumental misappropriation of the Comforter, the fact that the real Holy Spirit has indeed come to His church remains undeniable. Nor has His abuse by the majority dismissed us from the need to receive Him as Comforter in all his manifestations-whether to prophesying, or tongues, or even "holy laughter." We simply can't complete our purpose in Christ without embracing His corporate glory.
- A Two-Edged Dilemma
This ugly mixture of the Comforter's genuine Presence with the church's abuse have forced all who want the Spirit as both Truth and Comforter into an unbearable dilemma. On one hand, we can only receive the Comforter's outpourings through relationship with the spirit-filled church. But because of the reign of delusion, giving ourselves to this body constantly threatens us with losing inner grasp of the Father's love, with compromising our personal obedience to His will, and with losing our sense of eternal destiny in Him. Yes, we want everything the Comforter has for us through a body of people, but not by sacrificing intimacy and personal identity with the Father's Truth in a spirit-filled laodicean jungle.
Yet if we withdraw from the spirit-filled church to preserve our grounding in the Father, we lose out on the Comforter's corporate ministry necessary to our own completeness in Christ. And we fail to fulfill the Father's appointed ministry for us in the church. We can't obtain the Comforter's help by withdrawing to ourselves. He just doesn't fulfill His ministry in personal isolation.13
- The Storm of the Spirit
" Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock..." Mt. 7:24-25ff
Jesus knew from the beginning that the Spirit's outpouring would not be a cakewalk. He knew that flesh and Spirit are essentially incompatible elements. He knew that the chemical reaction produced by pouring the Holy Spirit on man would, without proper controls, yield a volatile unstable reaction that would ruin us. Foreseeing this He prophetically warned us of the problematic conditions surrounding the receiving of the Spirit.
To portray the magnitude of the situation, Jesus used the above illustration of the storm and the house. Normally we interpret the rain, floods and wind in this parable to represent life's natural trials and calamities. While this is certainly true, these same terms are all used prophetically throughout scripture to represent the Holy Spirit.14 Waters also typify the peoples of the earth (see Rev. 17:15). The storminess of the illustration pictures the chaos of delusion that is activated when the Spirit comes into contact with flesh. The house refers to the church and to each believer.15
What we really have in this passage is a teaching concerning the Holy Spirit's action on humanity with its effects on the house of God and the individual believer. Jesus is warning us that only by proper anchoring through the Spirit of Truth to the Living Rock of Christ can we receive the Comforter's glory without being destroyed by it. 16
But the central question remains: How can we build a house that is both oceanfront yet immovable? Especially given the treacherous nature of conditions in the church, how do we rightly construct a foundation in the Spirit of Truth that enables us to both embrace this massive corporate flow of the Comforter yet not be destroyed by it?
To survive the end time Spirit storm and come out on the other end of it perfected in Christ's full image, we must have a strategy in responding to the Holy Spirit that answers this dilemma.
Part III cont..... A Strategy For Surviving The Flood