One way the Lord works to temper our fissionary wilderness energy is to strangely, eventually lead us back into the environs of mainstream fellowships under a misimpression of purpose. Not sure of this leading, yet sure it is somehow from the Lord, we may go back thinking, "At last, it must be our time! Now God will restore the church to the truth and righteousness He has shown us all this time."
But we return only to find ourselves gagged! We search for the opening to impart our truth. But there's no room, no opening, no recognition, no receptivity. It is only then we discover we've been "had" by God. And now we're in a holy "catch 22." If we are to stay, we can't speak up. But if we try to leave, we will disobey the Spirit who either allured or forced us to go back without explanation.
Such gagged returning to the mainstream is the exact opposite to the Spirit's original challenge when he released His fire into our bones, required us to speak up at all costs, and forced us into the desert. Many reading this right now are desert returnees "trapped" by the Spirit in mainstream churches--not allowed to speak, and not allowed to leave! And wondering, "Why?"
A Marine and His Sword
Let me tell you a story. Back in the late 80s, after I had burned out on zealous anger in the wilderness, having sworn I would never again darken the door of a "Babylonian church," yet having no will left to resist, I was forcibly goaded by the Spirit back into a large mainstream faith/prophetic assembly. Here, everything was predictably what you would expect--a place where spiritually flabby people extolled the niceties of God with little more aspiration than to have a better life here and now through faith confessions and positive prophecies--all with the usual carnality to boot.
Though I was quite burned out, still there abode in me a flickering zealous flame that could be ignited if the right provocation presented itself. One day, at the point of such a provocation (with the pastor, who else?), the Lord gave me a momentary vision. If you're from the U.S., you'll recognize the picture. It was of a marine decked out in formal dress, white cap and all, with sword held up straight before his face--absolutely still-- motionless-- without so much the blink of an eye--just like in the post office posters.
In that momentary vision, the Lord communicated one thing. I was to be absolutely still before Him--holding the sword of my zealous anger motionless before my face in the presence of every carnal provocation I might encounter. I was to say nothing. Going forward, every word--whether to the pastor, or to an elder, or to anyone else in the church--had to pass the test of that vision before I could speak it.
This was a difficult test extending quite some years. But through it, the Lord worked a temperament in me that in my early zealous years I could have only interpreted as compromise. In the early years the test was to wield the sword without compromise. But in the later years it became to develop sword-still divine temperament. Divine temperament is greater than zeal. It is greater than divine anger. It is the proven ability to responsibly steward divine zeal within the realm of First Love (something I am still working on!) and the higher call yet to the full stature of Christ.
Under the opposing challenges to speak from the Lord's fire and then to hold our peace, a cycle ensues. For over time, despite the Spirit's gag order, we haplessly come again to an irreconcilable impasse with the mainstream--only this time more "tempered" than the last, and the Spirit has us exit--Only later to return again--to another mainstream group--only to be gagged again--and then eventually depart, less fissionary than before, but as bewildered as ever.
Today, innumerable wilderness saints have made this trek in and out of churches due to this cycle of radically polarized Spirit constraints:
"Why? What is going on, God? Why this forced back-and-forth of fruitless encounters with churches where I can't speak--can't fit no matter how much I bend--and only get forced out again anyway??"
Comes an answer from the still small Voice--
"I AM Forging You."
When it comes to the forging of metals, two opposite processes are required. Early on, metal must be heated up to white-hot intensity so it can be beaten into shape. But once molded, the metal must then be submerged into a coolant where it hardens into final usability as an instrument for service. A lot of steam is released in this process.
So it is that the "white hot" wilderness temperament of zealous anger is only half God's process of fashioning us into pure usable kingdom instruments. Once sufficiently molded, we must then be submerged into the "cooling vats" of mainstream life with its continued unbelief, bringing zeal and anger into divine temperament and perfect subjection to First Love. (All those mainstream songs about "the river" may have had more significance to us than we realized!)
This is the purpose of "unproductive" re-encounters with the mainstream. Where the Spirit prohibits the release our fire toward the immature and disobedient in these settings, we learn instead to release our fission as hot steam into the bosom of the Father.
But until we learn how to endure this process and become sufficiently tempered, we are not usable toward the ultimate purpose of God, which is to be built as a pillar into a holy temple representing the totality of Christ's Nature.
Toward A Whole Temple
A temple is made of solid beams and columns as well as of ornate, softer materials and fabrics. Look at the Mosaic tabernacle or Solomon's temple. You find both forged metal and beautiful cloth. For that matter, look also at the human body--the temple of God--which is comprised both of hard bones and soft flesh.
Here is our problem as a "temple people" called the church. On one hand, we have cluster bodies of "soft" (and "fat") people comprised only of flesh without bones--collections of saints made only of cloth and silk and pretty colors which cannot stand up--people fittingly waving nylon banners and think they have all there is to have in Christ simply because they are gathered together under a certain anointing. (We call these mainstream prophetic churches--many of whom I call "Passionists.")
On the other hand, we have red hot metallic saints forced out into the wilderness filled with God's zeal and divine anger--smoking columns and bones in the making for a support structure, but which do not make a temple. They are as rods in the fire, with some having progressed to the cooling vats.
The "hot rods" think they now have everything in Christ because they've "got the fire" (and have been faithful to skewer and abandon the "soft" compromisers.) The ones in the vats have come to realize that even with the fire they still don't have everything in Christ, and whether they speak or stay silent, they just remain powerless to bring it all together!
"Oh wretched body that we are, who shall deliver us from this state of divided incompleteness?"
A Tent Still in Pieces
Ever constructed a tent before from one of those store-bought cartons? You take all the pieces out of the box and lay them on the ground. You've got poles over here and nylon or canvas over there. But you still don't have a tent! You've just got pieces, until they are built together into something that finally makes a tent.
That's where we are today as a people, and have been from the beginning. We're all over the ground! Even after all these centuries, God has not yet constructed the tent. He's separated out the pieces--and still is. And there is still a ways to go.
But here is what we have to get. If we are to be part of the final temple, we will have to have a vision for the entire temple. We must have the entirety of the hard elements and soft elements built into us. And then we will have to be part of the joining of these oppositely natured elements.
As applies to wilderness prophetics, we must let God finish his forging work in us so we'll be ready for becoming "a pillar in the temple of My God" at that perfect joining of the last day. We must develop a vision for and embrace of the soft "passionate" elements of the Lord's temple as well as His intense hard sayings and offending words.
This means we have to move past zealous anger into divine temperament--all governed by an overarching heart of First Love. While we must first be faithful to the zealous call to speak the searing truth without compromise, we must not allow our hearts to become anchored in this single attribute of God nor seek fellowship around it to where we become permanently blind to the full nature of our Lord in all of His people.
New Meadow Neck, RI
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created October 5, 2008