But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
John 14: 26
There are many lessons, or truths of maturity, that the Lord has been speaking to me over the previous season of life. I’ve learned that my body no longer enjoys a good buffet like it used to. The feeling of being full doesn’t resound in a 40 year old body like it once did in my 20’s or 30’s. I’m learning the power in measuring my words and steps. Just because I received a thought does not mean I am released to act on it. I am also learning to listen, and maybe more importantly, take notes of what I am hearing from the Lord.
As I reflect on scripture I see a consistent stream of God giving His servants the answers to the test before the test arrives. There are many examples, but off hand I think of Joshua and how the Lord repeatedly charged him to “Be Strong and Courageous” for the season and assignment to come. In the testimony of Peter, there are moments of divine affirmation as Peter is praised for the impartation of revelation, then immediately rebuked due to the remnant of his human nature. King David was promised a throne he had no claim too, and given a promise that he could not attain long before it was eventually realized.
Just as meteorologist forecast the weather in the natural, the children of God have access to the voice of heaven in preparation for the season to come in the supernatural. This comes with intimacy in covenant with the Lord. It is sown in holiness, and harvested in expectation.
Jesus promises that we will be tested. John 16:33 tells the church to remember that “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” Jesus is not only the answer to every question in the local Children’s Ministry Q&A session with our young people, but He is the Living Hope to the trouble and test we face throughout life.
So…now that I’m done preaching, what does this look like practically.
In preparation for the season and test to come we can…
Get alone and quiet yourself long enough so you can hear the Shepherds voice. Not every thought that goes through your head in a day comes from the Lord…but many of them are. If the Lord is placing a person, a word, or a vision in your spirit allow space for it to take root. Sheep learn to listen…and so should the children of God. If you listen and the Spirit in you is stirred, then more then likely it is from the Lord. Look, God isn’t waiting for you to figure it all out before he chooses to use you…but he is waiting for you to listen to what he has to say.
2. Write it down.
I love to use the “Notes” section on my Apple products to document or lay “stones” of reference for a later time of refection and expansion. Think about it. If the Lord is preceding the test with His word…that means you will need to do the necessary preparation in the preceding time period. Remember when you were in school and the teacher gave you a study guide? He or she would tell you that “Everything you need to know for the test is on this document.” That usually meant that you had the answers, but you just weren’t clear on what the questions were going to be. The Word of God is the truth document of your life. Test the answers before you receive the test. Over and over again in my life the Lord has proceeded the shifts in my life with his word. This can be a prophetic word, repeated subject contents within conversations, paying attention to numbers that continuously come up…etc.
3. Lean into it.
In my own theology and tradition we (Wesleyan’s) acknowledge Jesus as not only the Son of God, but in his incarnation he was both fully man and fully God. Now thats kinda crazy to wrap your brain around if you sit on it for awhile isn’t it? With that said, the next question I ask is “Why”. There are too many theological reasons to lay out on a blog post…but one that has pricked my heart recently is this; So he could pass the test that we couldn’t on our own. The two largest test in Jesus life and ministry were the ones experienced in the desert, and then on the Cross. In both instances Jesus received audible public affirmation of his role as Messiah from the Father prior to taking the test. (Jordan River Baptism, Mt. Transfiguration) In the desert the enemy tested Jesus three times. The hard thing to swallow for most Christians is in the human side of Jesus. Scripture tells us that he was tempted in everyday we are yet was found without sin. Catch that truth…Jesus was tested. That tells me that in both instances Jesus considered, even flirted with the option of disobedience to the Father. Yet, Jesus leaned into his test, and so should we.
Don’t be fearful or intimidated by the test that is forecasted in front of you. Everything that is commissioned must first be examined. Lean into it. You have the Holy Spirt in you. The Lord will remind you of what He has spoken over your life, and the prophetic cheat sheet he has previously sprinkled into your circumstances. Leaning in means getting closer in proximity, and receiving the full affect. Jesus leaned into the desert and walked out “In the POWER of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4), he then leaned into the Cross and overcome the curse of sin, hell and the grave. Leaning in = Walking out in Power
4. Refresh and Reset.
In both of these instances for Jesus he felt the wear and tear on his physical and spiritual person. In both instances, after the desert, and in the garden the Lord was renewed and refreshed by angelic attendants. We have this at our disposal as Children of the Most High King ourselves. Some test are sent to expand your capacity for holding more. This means an extended season in the testing may be happening. But after the test…give it a rest. Let the ground rest so that it can began preparation process for the next harvest. Jesus and his yoke are easy. I wonder how many servants of the Lord have wasted divinely inspired ideas and resources due to sowing seed in the wrong season?
In closing; God has you. He is speaking. Be mindful, discerning, and patient in the listening…because he may just give you the answers to the test coming in your future! ♦
For more by Pastor Jeremy Barkley, visit his blog.