When I was finding my way in ministry, and discovering the joys of being led by the Holy Spirit, I noticed a curious phenomenon. My weekends were always packed with spiritual activities, and Yahweh would meet with us regularly, flooding our gatherings with outpourings of His Spirit. I would go home on a Sunday evening exhausted but spiritually euphoric, frequently feeling that, at last, I was ‘getting there’; finally learning how to live in and be led by His Spirit. Inevitably, I would ‘come down’ from that high as the realities of the everyday unfolded. What, I frequently asked, was the secret to a constant life of overcoming victory and joy?
At the beginning of Yahshua’s ministry He was baptised in the Jordan by John, and as He was coming up out of the water Yahweh declared, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” [Mark 1:11NIV] How amazingly encouraging! Yet immediately afterwards the Holy Spirit led Yahshua into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan; and He was there, among the wild animals, without food, for forty days. The first time I spotted this connection, I paused in my reading feeling startled, I read it again, “At once…”
The more I pondered on this and explored the writings of others, the more I grew to understand that battle after blessing is a spiritual norm. We are engaged in spiritual warfare and our Commander knowns exactly how to train and toughen His troops! Musing on this, Aphra White wrote, “The time of testing that distinguishes and greatly enriches a person’s spiritual career is not an ordinary one but a period when it seems as if all hell were set loose.” It is a fact of Spiritual life that great blessing frequently precedes a time in one of life’s deserts, or maybe, even a personal Gethsemane. “He lifts you to new heights to strengthen you so that you may go deeper still.” [George Matheson]
As we emerge from the blessings of the recent Feast let us allow our Father to have total control, and rest in His enduring, loving plans for us.
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