The Lord is looking for and can only use both individually and corporately a people who are ‘set apart’ for his purposes; that which is according to his eternal plan such that humanity should be reconciled to himself; “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19). He wants to speak his prophetic strategy to those who are prepared to listen.
The church needs to position herself to hear the Lord because he has a unique purpose for his people at this time. If we are prepared to listen, he will continue to speak to us and give us prophetic direction, that of walking in continual godliness through relationship with him.
Many people are going through difficult and trying wilderness experiences; we must understand the purpose of these and accept them if we are to be fully prepared for the outworking of our calling and ministry.
Two of the Biblical messengers God used in transitional periods in the past, Moses and John the Baptist, were each taken into an extended wilderness experience to be prepared for that transition in their times.
Today, the church is living in a time of transition; therefore, many are being called apart by the Lord to be made ready to fulfill their part in all that is about to take place in both the Church and the nations. Spiritual new beginnings often begin with a wilderness experience in the privacy of our own personal relationship with the Lord. Here, separated from all else, we interact with the Lord alone.
John the Baptist was called apart into a desolate place for a very specific purpose. It’s interesting to note that we are told in Luke 3:2 “When Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” It’s as if the word of the Lord was brooding in the heavens, looking for someone to land on, but when it came it bypassed the Temple Mount (representing the ‘religious system’ of the day) and landed on John who was in the wilderness after years of serious preparation.
Later, when asked who he was, his response reveals the deep work of preparation that had taken place during his time in the wilderness. He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said.” (John 1:23) In effect, John was saying, “I am so emptied of self, that I have become the expression of the voice and feelings of another (Jesus), in every aspect and part of my being.”
At this present time, there are those who are being moved upon by the Holy Spirit in order to be made ready that they might respond as John the Baptist did. These people are being prepared to become prophetic voices through whom the Lord will not only speak his word, but so fully reveal himself that it will appear as if they had ‘become’ Jesus, as his life will noticeably be reflected through their lives.
Moses spent 40 years in a wilderness experience that prepared him to bring deliverance to the Lord’s people of his day. There is much in his experience that applies to us today. Therefore, we should prayerfully study the life and ministry of Moses to see the parallels with the needs of this present day. Many today are feeling that they have gone as far as they can go, and are so worn out that they are considering giving up. Little do they realize that only now are they ready for the Lord to begin to use them effectively.
All they need do is to turn aside into his presence and wait before the Lord. In Exodus 2:14‑15, Moses trembles and flees from Pharaoh. Now, something quite different is about to happen. Pharaoh will tremble before Moses, and finally let the Lord’s people go (Exodus 12).
The power of God, manifesting through Moses, brought the world power of that day to its knees. In the same way, there is an urgent need for those who will again stand in the presence of the Lord, in order to receive a “burning present word” that will affect the Pharaohs of our day and time, and bring the deliverance that we so desperately need.
That eternal Word is the greatest revelation that God could ever give to humankind - the Word dwelt among us as Jesus of Nazareth. The written Word is to become the experiential Word - a personal reality in our life experience that can be seen by those around us. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Therefore, every aspect of our lives should be of such yieldedness and submission to the death and resurrection life of Jesus as seen in his character and nature, so that the written Word, which has been imparted into our spirit by the Holy Spirit, will find its expression and fulfillment through us.
Salvation does not exempt us from the every day problems of life. Those who are fully committed to the Lord often find themselves entangled in on-going difficulties. Finally, a release comes, only to find that another pressure has taken the place of the one that was resolved. There is a reason for these difficulties. Therefore, we should view them as friends or servants, placed in our circumstances to accomplish a higher purpose. 2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Only as we refuse to allow these seemingly unending pressures and difficulties to hinder us, and instead rise above or overcome them through the power Christ’s resurrection. will we be able to successfully “press toward the mark” for the prize that our Lord has made available for us (Philippians 3:14); becoming his Bride. Paul says, “We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less.” (Col 1:28-29 in The Message)
Revelation 19:7-8 says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)”
Making ourselves ready is accomplished as we respond appropriately to the circumstances, testings, and disciplines of obedience that we face, and recognise them as the means to prepare us. As we “press toward the mark for the prize,” we are making ourselves ready. Therefore, it is important that we respond in heart obedience, looking to the Lord for a way through these difficult times.
Those who have submitted the totality of their being to the Lord, and are seeking his highest purposes, are becoming his Bride. Our part is to make ourselves so desirable that we will be chosen in that day, having made ourselves ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The Lord may allow us to be dissatisfied for a time, while the challenges of life linger without an apparent solution. If we were quickly or easily released from these and given an uncluttered pathway, we would relax and feel that we had arrived. There would be little inner change or spiritual progress, as we would be relying on the blessings and provision that we had received, rather than “pressing toward the mark for the prize” (becoming His Bride).
The most effective place to serve the Lord is out of a broken spirit; being willing to go through the process of being reduced, through the discipline of the Lord. John the Baptist recognised this when he said, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:29-30)
We may feel uncomfortable in the challenges that we find in our pathway, but they are there because the Lord is seeking to make us far more capable and useful to him in the outworking of his purposes. Only then can the Lord entrust to us an impartation of his glory and end-time authority, which is about to be released.
Jesus speaks to a glorious church and says, “Here's the reward I have for every conqueror, everyone who keeps at it, refusing to give up: You'll rule the nations, your Shepherd-King rule as firm as an iron staff, their resistance fragile as clay pots. This was the gift my Father gave me; I pass it along to you” (Revelation 2:26-27 – The Message)
The church is in the midst of a great ‘adventure’ as we pursue all that the Lord has planned for our future – and his plans are more than we have even contemplated up till now. We might sometimes feel that we had reached the ‘peak’, but in the same way as when climbing a hill, there always seems to be another slope to negotiate. The Lord has tremendous joy for us to experience as we pursue him in the secret place.