by Nancy Taylor Warner
“…he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” John 6:57
Establishing and maintaining a close personal relationship to Jesus should be central to our spiritual life and ministry. We maybe satisfied that we are seeking a deeper understanding of the Word of God, but it is essential also that we go beyond this level of spiritual desire and recognize that the only foundation upon which our knowledge of the Word can stand is the personal relationship that we maintain with the Lord.
The Lord greatly desires to further make Himself known to us. Most certainly, we are to seek after His anointing and the operation of gifts in our ministries. However, before there can be a quality impartation of “spirit and life” to others through the operation of these ministries and gifts, there must first be developed within us a quality of spirit which is gleaned only through our spending quality time alone with the Lord. Only then will there be a quality spiritual impartation to others.
For us to be willing to spend these extended times of waiting in His presence, there must first be within us a “dissatisfied satisfaction.” We are to be satisfied with all that we have of the Lord and of His workings within our lives, but we must become dissatisfied, knowing that there is much more to be gained in our knowledge of Him. There must be a genuine fervor to spend quality time with the Lord, as we hunger after an increased inward personal knowledge of Him.
As we come in anticipation and wait in His presence, He will begin to reveal to us the things which hinder our relationship to Him, and impart to us the grace to deal with them. It is only the goodness of the Lord and His patience toward us that brings us to repentance, calling us to Holiness, a life consecrated to Him.
As we continue setting apart time to linger in His presence and grow in this consecrated walk, the reflection of the glory which comes from our being in His presence will begin to change us into His image. Even as Moses reflected His glory, we need this reflection of His glory in our lives, along with the gifts and the impartation that results from our being in His presence. As a result of this, others also will be changed.
I have been helped and blessed by being in the presence of some who maintained unusual relationships with the Lord. Along with this, I had the privilege of sitting under some excellent teaching ministries. As a result of what I experienced during these times, long ago I made a very important decision. Rather than seeking after ministry, gifts, and revelations in the Word, I determined my “first priority” would be to seek a closer “personal relationship” with the Lord. I have come to understand that as I spend quality time in the presence of God Himself, there will come into my life everything else that I have need of to fulfill His call, the anointing and quality of spirit, from which ministry, gifts, and revelation will flow.
Some years ago I had a life changing experience. I attended a meeting in which the speaker gave an excellent word. He had an anointing and was reflecting light from his life, yet there was something missing. As I left I said, “Lord, what is wrong? He was a great speaker, with a good word.” Then the Lord brought something to my mind that Brother Follette had said; there is a difference between having truth itself deposited within our heart and made a part of our life, and simply reflecting truth that has come from another person or ministry.
Then I remembered the minister I had heard just a few weeks prior. I had the privilege of sitting under the ministry of the one from whom this speaker, who had left me empty, had received his ministry. There was something in the other minister’s life and ministry that made me just want to sit by her. I did not care whether she talked to me or not because there was such a presence of God in her; I just wanted to be near to her. There was this “little open heaven” right over her head, and I felt that if only I could get close enough to her, I would be under it also.
Then the Lord showed me that what the second minister had ministered was good; and although there was a reflection of truth coming from his life, the truth Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, had not been deposited within his life in the same way that it had been in the other minister’s life. Though very gifted and a good speaker, there was nothing that caused me to desire to linger in that speaker’s presence. Suddenly my eyes opened, and I understood what the Lord was showing me.
As we are blessed by other ministries and their teachings, we must make a personal decision. Do we simply want to reflect the light that is being reflected to us, or do we want to develop within us the relationship from which this revelation came?
Though it was many years ago that the Lord showed me this, I remember it like it was yesterday, and I have made a decision which has never wavered. My ‘first priority’ is my “personal relationship” with the Lord, which I greatly desire above all else. I desire the reflection of His glory in my life.
Each one of us needs to receive a revelation of the relationship available to us, and the necessity of spending quality time alone with the Lord, as we also learn to practice His presence throughout the day, submitting our lives to His working.
We cannot realize all that is attainable until we become willing to go after it.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-12
We are to seek God first and foremost for Himself. He is the foundation of everything that we need. We are to focus our seeking upon the Giver rather than upon the gift; upon the Imparter rather than upon the impartation.
The Lord desires to do a total work within each of our lives. He desires to bring forth the fruit of the spirit from within each of us. As the spiritual gifts which we have received develop, there is to come forth a greater impartation through their functioning. Our entire life is to become a testimony to Him, not just through our words, but through our lives. This will be the result of the “Habitation of God” being established within our being.
The secret of the authority which was evident in the ministry of Jesus was the close personal relationship that He maintained with His Father.
“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” John 6:57
Jesus openly confessed that He was totally dependent upon His Father; therefore He stayed in close communion with His Father.
“Then said Jesus unto them, when ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” John 8:28-29.
The word tells us that people were amazed at His teaching, because he taught as one having authority, not just as a scribe (Matthew 7:28-29).
There is a place by God Himself that has been prepared for those who will “turn aside” to wait upon Him. The Lord is looking for a people who are willing to make available quality time to “come apart” to commune with Him, that He might fellowship with them.
I do not know the author of this little chorus, but it is one I love to sing.
“For I was born to be Thy dwelling place,
A home for the presence of the Lord;
So let my life now be separated Lord to Thee,
That I might be what I was born to be.”
There is a place by God Himself that has been prepared for those who will seek Him, those who will consecrate their daily lives to walk in His presence, and who will set apart quality times to be alone with Him. May the ongoing desire of our heart be even as Paul prayed, “that I may know Him.”
What is your first priority?