Are you afraid to argue with Jesus? There are days when He wants us to be so moved with compassion or faith or love that we press Him, like Abraham did with his intercession for his nephew in Sodom, or like the Gentile woman did for her daughter, who was possessed by a demon, or the persistent widow, who simply wanted vengeance against her adversary. Jesus told the story about the widow so that His listeners would always pray and never give up on their requests (Luke 18:1-8).
When Jesus left there, He withdrew to the area of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came and kept crying out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly tormented by a demon.”
Yet He did not say a word to her. So His disciples approached Him and urged Him, “Send her away because she cries out after us.”
He replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But she came, knelt before Him, and said, “Lord, help me!”
He answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to their dogs.”
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table!”
Then Jesus replied to her, “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.” And from that moment her daughter was cured.
(Matthew 15:21-28 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
A good plan for moving deeper in the Spirit and gaining more of Him is to increase the level of your surrender. The more He has of you, the more you will have of Him.
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
(Romans 12:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
The message we have received and which we hold onto and hold out to others is the word of LIFE. It has benefits of wisdom and health and love and joy and comfort and fellowship, but they are not the message. They are the results of holding fast to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing. But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.
(Philippians 2:12-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the hearts of the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith, and by telling them, “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.”
(Acts 14:21-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
Paul spent much of his time teaching people about the Kingdom of God. In the first few sentences Luke wrote of Acts, he said Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom. In the last few, said Paul was teaching about the Kingdom.
In Acts 14, Luke recorded a snippet of Paul’s teaching about it: we get there through troubles. I infer that if our path is cluttered with troubles, we could likely take that as a confirmation that we are on the correct path. I also infer that if we spend most of our time avoiding troubles (including people who fit that description), that we may be straying from the shortest path to walking in the Kingdom now and preparing for walking in it later.
As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.
While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
(Matthew 9:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
“The house” was, perhaps, the home of Matthew. Don’t be too hard on the Pharisees for not being able to understand the ministry of Jesus and the callings He placed on the lives around Him. John wondered about the same things (Matthew 11:2-3).
When Jesus doesn’t give us details about what He is calling us to until after we surrender to the call, we wonder many things, too. We also wonder about the validity of each others’ callings when they don’t make sense.
The answers to our questions for clarity and validity will always come from Jesus. Modern Pharisees, or even modern leaders like John who have not received revelation about some new thing Jesus is doing will always persecute what comes next. Don’t join them. Ask Jesus what He thinks about it. Join Him.
Every spiritual servant from Heaven is not an angel. “Angel” is a partial translation of what would be “messenger” in English if fully translated. Some spirits are powers, some are princes, some are “creatures.” Some are seraphs, cherubs, etc. Not all are messengers.
In Acts 12:1-19, Peter was told what to do by a spirit Luke called an angel while he was delivering Peter from prison. When Paul was writing to congregations in Galatia about the purpose of the laws given through Moses, he said that the law had been their tutor. The scene he described was of the heir in a household being under the authority of a servant when he was a child, but growing into his own authority in his father’s household, he inherited the tutor as a slave he owned (Galatians 3:19-4:7).
Servants from Heaven, including the messengers, are responsible for leading and protecting us until we are mature enough to begin leading in our Father’s enterprises. Shifts in our relationships with them will be that we begin to work with them, we begin to have revelation that they don’t, and we are therefore leading them, and at some point we judge them.
There are people in the earth now who are getting revelation about this sequence of shifts. They may be friends of yours. You may be one of them. Pay attention to the process, wherever you fit into it. It’s important.
It is not likely that Jesus wants to teach you that you need to sell all you have and give the proceeds to the poor through what is recorded in the New Testament of His instructions to a rich young ruler.
I suspect, though, that He does want to impart some instruction to you by His Spirit as you listen to what He told him and then His disciples. The story’s in Luke 18:18-30.
Not many people are technology-free enough to have a watch that needs to be wound. When winding watches was the norm, though, if you didn’t do it, your watch failed to keep the right time because it stopped ticking.
If you carry your lunch to work or school, you have to prepare for having it when you need it. You either need to pack it the night before, or get up in time to do it before you leave home, or your mom does it.
Your mom isn’t preparing you for a day in which you walk in the Spirit. You need to take responsibility for submitting to Him yourself. You need to do something that resembles a preparatory request for filling and leadership, and an ongoing submission in the form of listening for it through the day.
Paul wrote this about Abraham’s confidence in Yahweh’s habit of keeping His promises:
He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness.
(Romans 4:20-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
What has He promised you? Don’t grow tired as you wait for Him to fulfill it. He is full of faith, and wants to empower you to be full of faith. Expect better than the best you can imagine.