The following is the continuation of a series that began with a post titled Seeking God For Arkansas, which I highly recommend for the context it provides.
We need the help of the Holy Spirit to truly comprehend the heart of our Father in this passage. This text has weighed heavily on my heart since the beginning of this journey. Here the Lord speaks of Israel, His people, as a luxuriant vine enjoying His provision. Yet, the more Israel prospered, the more prideful they became. They built altars to their own success and securities to reduce their dependence on God. They began to worship the provision instead of the Provider and became apathetic and, at worst, arrogant in their prosperity. Jesus has a controversy against this arrogance in the church today.
On my journey of “breaking up my fallow ground,” the Holy Spirit has been highlighting this same arrogance in my own life. Just as Israel did, I have caught my heart seeking security apart from my Father’s provision. Absolute dependence on God has always been a position of great discomfort, and I have scrambled at times to alleviate my discomfort by finding alternative sources of security, whether financial or otherwise. The Holy Spirit is challenging me in my faith, and I am asking the Lord to show me areas where I have trusted in provision instead of the Provider. My spiritual hunger in this season has motivated me to overcome my discomfort and lean into this correction in my own life.
God’s grace is enough and his strength is perfected in our weakness. I will always resist the work of the Holy Spirit until I embrace my position of weakness and overcome my discomfort with dependence. I naturally fight for independence when dependence on God is the strongest place to be. So it is with the church.
Antithetically, how easy it is to claim responsibility for God’s provision once it appears! Sin becomes compounded when God’s faithfulness produces arrogance. Our witness before heaven quickly turns to dust. When provision (or revival) produces pride, correction becomes our dearest hope.
Jesus is zealous for the affection of His church. It is all too easy to become so focused on the needs of our ministry assignment that we gradually lose sight of Jesus. Our vision grows dim as our spiritual hunger fades into ministry management. We cannot claim dependence on God while subconsciously trusting in the provision rather than the Provider. We must embrace the tender leadership of the Holy Spirit as he corrects the subtle areas of our hearts.
I believe that Jesus is calling us to something greater than our ministry assignment. We have a higher calling. Make no mistake, Jesus will break down our fame and destroy every false security until we return to the place of total dependence upon and desperation for one thing: Himself. The Holy Spirit mercifully addresses our arrogance before our sin is compounded by revival. This correction is a beauty treatment to prepare the Bride of Christ for greater works. Coincidentally, Mike Bickle just released an Open Letter to the Prayer and Prophetic Movement that I believe relates to this message.
Please know that I do not share this from any position of moral of authority, but as a call that has resonated in my own life and shaken me to a place that I have never been. The leadership of Jesus is perfect. He is the only one worthy of our absolute dependence and attention. We must not be guilty of speaking “mere words” and “empty oaths,” but embrace this correction with wholehearted obedience. This is the time to break up our fallow ground and to seek the Lord together for the future of Arkansas.
Lord, don’t build me up. Strip me down until all that’s left is yours.