by John W. Follette
We live in a time in which the “spirit of the age” has spiritually, made inroads upon us. The influence of this world colors our spirituality, and leaves its mark, even upon our soul.
We are slow to learn even the simplest lessons in the school of the Spirit. We should never become involved in doctrinal issues, arguing or splitting hairs over minor points of no real spiritual significance. Rather, we are to respond and move in spiritual quickenings and revelation, heeding the words of Christ:
“But when you do alms, let not your left hand know what your right hand does. That your alms may be in secret; and your Father which sees in secret Himself shall reward you openly.” Matthew 6:3-4
This concept of secrecy should not to be limited to the act of giving, as the principle holds true in all areas of Christian witness and ministry.
It is a fundamental fact that man seeks expression. He should do so to develop a normal personality and character. This places a responsibility upon us, as the flesh nature has become so dominant in man’s methods, that we may unconsciously allow its ways to sweep in and rule even in our spiritual life experiences.
We must remember this clear-cut and poignant truth: “Than which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). This is a truth upon which all real Christian life and spirituality is built. It is basic and fundamental.
We should not restrict the meaning of this phrase, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh,” as referring merely to a function of our physical body. This is a true concept, but far too limited. Whatever has its inception and is birthed from a fleshly origin, forever remains in the realm of the earthly, and flesh. These cannot under any circumstances become spiritual, or bear spiritual fruitage.
On the other hand, whatever is “born of the Spirit” (whatever has its inception from, and is birthed through the Spirit) is always spiritual in issue and fruition. All the service and work of man (though they may be considered as being “spiritual” by some) are merely a natural and religious expression. They have their origin from within the good, religious nature of man’s being, and he gives it free expression in the form of service and works. Not being born of the Spirit, however, they can never be spiritual, nor can they ever merit a spiritual reward.
The “ways” and “methods” of man by nature, are diametrically opposed to the “ways” and “laws” of the Spirit. The question in the last analysis is not, “Is this a true ministry?” It is, rather, a question of motives and the birthplace of its manifestation – is it of the “spirit,” or of the “flesh?”
This is the day of exhibition and exploitation. Many struggle to be seen, heard, and known. This is what man does, but not the Spirit.
“He shall not speak of (or from) Himself (that is, on His Own initiative) … He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.” John 16:13-14
The Spirit does not detract from, but rather, focuses the attention where it belongs – upon the Lord Jesus. If the ministry is truly in the Spirit, the instrument will be hidden. Self-effacement will be the atmosphere. How awkward and reluctant the “Adamic nature” is in getting out of hearing, and out of sight.
In these days of man’s exhibition, we often have become suspicious of his motives. In some cases one hardly dares to be kind of courteous, for he will be misunderstood. Someone might think we are attempting to “put something over” if we are polite. But the Word tells us, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).
The disciples, on their way to Emmaus, were courteous enough to invite the Stranger to walk with them, and to enter with them into their destination. As the result of a simple act of kindness, a revelation came to hungry hearts. So much of value and real worth often hinges upon a seeming trifle. “Little is much, if God is in it.” Do not fear to obey His commands; they are not grievous.
He is seeking refreshment today. Can you not spread before Him a humble meal in the quiet, hidden place of your heart? But remember, He may not wear the form you are expecting. He often “hungers” in the form of broken humanity.
The forms He wears are many. So, serve the deep hunger of the needy one, and satisfy their need. In so doing, you may open the door to a deeper revelation of who He really is.