Attaining the Power of His Resurrection
Nov 21, 2009
A musician friend of mine came to town last night to minister in a nearby fellowship. I went to the meeting to see him, and as I drove there, I was praying that the Father would show me some further details in regard to the idea of death and resurrection.
So, of course, the message was specifically on the idea of death and resurrection. One of the main points he made was that the promise or dream God has given us cannot die. The purpose of death is to remove the flesh from getting in the way. That which God does in us can never die.
This is why we go through this "dying" process. Our first instinct when we get a revelation promise of God is to try to fulfill it by the power of the flesh. That is how we are oriented, and we really can't help but do so. It is part of our concept of obedience, for we have not yet learned that there are two types of obedience, one fleshly and one spiritual. It is not that these two works have different actions, or that one is lawful while the other is lawless; rather, it has to do with WHO is doing the action. Is it the flesh or is it Christ in you that is doing the work? The flesh can only attain partial success in fulfilling the law (i.e., the word; commands of God); but when Christ-in-you does the work, it is by the power of the Spirit, and it cannot fail to fulfill the whole law.
So God has to bring us through this death process out in the wilderness, not to kill the vision but to kill the flesh that is trying to fulfill the vision in its own strength. By the time we come out of the wilderness, we have learned something about distinguishing the power of flesh from the power of the Spirit.
Yet it seems that we often need more than one course of study to learn this principle more fully. How long this takes really depends upon how great the vision is. The greater the vision, the more the flesh must die in order to see the power of God released. The ultimate vision was the resurrection of Jesus Himself. He could go to the cross with JOY (Heb. 12:2).
This "joy" did not mean that He really looked forward to the death that lay between Him and the resurrection power that was to come. No, He was troubled greatly when He went into the garden to pray just before His arrest (Luke 22:44). The disciples slept peacefully while he was in agony, because they still lacked the vision of resurrection that He had.
But yesterday morning, as I awoke, I felt troubled and apprehensive about the time of death and resurrection ahead. For this reason, as I drove to the meeting later, I prayed to know more about this. The Pastor is a genuine Spirit-filled man who speaks from the heart out of his own hard experience. He knows the principle of death and resurrection. He has seen virtually every miracle in the book, but to get there he had to pass through a wilderness of his own.
I came away from that meeting with the knowledge that the flesh is once again being set aside in order to be raised up with the empowerment of Elisha and to see the move of the Holy Spirit in this nation and in the world--the outpouring of the Spirit necessary to save the earth from destruction in the collapse of Babylon.
In Mark 1:12 we are told that the Spirit "drove" [ekballo] Jesus into the wilderness. But in Matt. 4:1 and Luke 4:1, we are told that He was "led" [ago and anago] into the wilderness. The distinction in wording applies to us. Cattle are driven; sheep are led. The first implies overruling the will of the cattle. The other implies that the sheep are willing to follow. There is an attitude shift here that is important for us to understand.
Back in December of 1981, I was driven into the wilderness. It was good, and it was necessary, but it was definitely not my first choice of action. Through the years, as we passed through this same window of time, I saw others (like Pastor Red Thomas) experience a similar wilderness experience in 1985/1986. All of these experiences were for our learning.
We are now revisiting this whole theme once again. Yesterday's revelation was that this time we go as sheep that are led, rather than as cattle that are driven.
"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Himendured the cross. . ." (Heb. 12:2)
The whole purpose of death is resurrection power that sets us free of fleshly limitations. For most of us, it involves the death of the flesh, or, as Paul put it in Phil. 3:3, to "put no confidence in the flesh." Why? "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection" (vs. 10).
The only power big enough to save the earth now is resurrection power. Nothing less will be adequate to the task that lies ahead. I am reminded of a word that I received back in 1982 while I was in the first wilderness. At that time, I wondered why God was "abusing" me so much. His answer was, "You have asked a great deal of Me." In other words, the vision that God had instilled in me was what I had asked Him to fulfill in my life. It was a lot to ask. I did not realize at the time that the greater the vision, the more I would have to learn to die.
Our flesh wants to be rewarded for its activity. But God just wants to kill the flesh. The flesh does not understand and thinks it is being abused unjustly. I remember saying, "I wouldn't treat my dog this way!"
I have a much greater understanding today than I did back then. In looking back, I can honestly say that I would not trade those hard times for anything in the world.
I do not know how this theme will play out in the days and weeks ahead, but I do know one thing beyond all shadow of doubt. We are being led by the Spirit. Even a simple answer to pray such as occurred yesterday confirms the vision that we have been given and gives us strength to go wherever the Spirit leads.
Dr. Stephen Jones