It has become far more than a “cliché message” to preach/teach the contemporary church is in a time of transition. While that may be true in any given season of God, it is also true that in learning to walk with God, and in the ways of God, that we are to continually be in transition. Having said that, however, I do believe that the last few years have been a time of vital transition. In effect, it has been a time of crossing over the Jordan of our dreams and God’s visions for our lives which he has been preparing us for. In short, I believe that many Christians, churches, and ministries are in a time of promotion, which will result in greater fruitfulness. Jesus stated that the Father is glorified by us bearing much fruit, and in so doing we prove to be Christ’s disciples. (John 15.8)
The problem, however, with transition unto greater fruitfulness is it always involves the necessity of unlearning some old ways and learning new ways. This scenario in a nutshell is illustrated in Isaiah 6 when God is planning on anointing and releasing Isaiah to become one of the greatest prophets of all time. In verses 1-8 we see Isaiah beholding his righteousness, or lack there of, in the light of God’s absolute righteousness. For Isaiah to enter in to the greater thing God was calling him to change was required.
A popular saying over the last 20 years in many circles has been “higher levels, bigger devils”. While it is true that spiritual warfare usually increases with an increase of anointing and responsibility, it is also very, very true that God always, always, always gives us the tools, the resources, abilities, and power to move in the new things He calls us to. It is not so much “higher levels, bigger devils”, but rather “more of God necessitates more of His ways”!
The inherent problem, however, is that when God is calling us to use new tools and minister/live in new ways we can not apply the ways we used the old tools with the new ones. It’s a little bit like when a carpenter goes from using a traditional hammer powered by arm muscle to a pneumatic nail gun. With the old tool you bang the hammerhead against the nail. To use a nail gun in the same way would quickly destroy it. With the nail gun you simply set it against the spot you want to drive the nail and pull the trigger. With the nail gun you drive far more nails, in much less time, with much less energy but it does call for a change of doing things. We are in a time of increase where many of us will see a greater anointing unto greater fruitfulness, but actually requiring less work on our part.
The promise before the Hebrews who crossed over the Jordan was that they would enjoy fruit in a size and quantity they had never experienced before. However, as mentioned, moving into the land of bigger & better usually necessitates change. The book of Joshua, chapter 5, verses 11 & 12 read: “On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.” Shortly after entering the land they did, in fact, begin to enjoy the greater fruit. The problem, however, was that on the next day the particular supernatural blessings of God which they had experienced everyday for all of their lives completely ceased. The sense of shock and retooling they experienced must have been severe. The manna (bread) and quail (meat), which God had simply given them every day, all of their lives, was no longer there. Instead, they had to begin to exercise a whole new level of faith. (When we say the manna is disappearing we are obviously speaking about the level of God’s provision, not of Jesus- the true Bread of Life)
This faith was a very targeted faith. It was following the specific leading of the Holy Spirit (Joshua 3.3-5). The accompanying problem, however, was that the Lord led them into the seemingly impossible. Joshua 3.13 tells us that the waters did not part until the feet of the priests stepped into the flooded Jordan River. 40 years prior with Moses, the great man of God, he had stretched forth his staff and exercised the authority God had given him while the people simply spectated. This time it was a very different scenario. The time of Moses was over. They had symbolically (at least from our perspective) journeyed from the ministry of Moses, which represented the law or the performance of man to the ministry of Joshua, or Yehoshua, which represents the grace of God for the impossible. The only requirement of God was to actively and obediently follow the Presence of God with faith even if it meant stepping into the impossible!
The previous generation had experienced the same invitation 40 years previously but “the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” (Hebrews 4.2) They had even seen some of the incredible fruit first hand due to the spies bringing some back. They chose, however, to lean unto their own understanding and failed to believe that God could accomplish the miraculous against the fierce enemies and giants of the land.
Today, despite the economic chaos, which is gripping, much of the world God is calling us to initiate new endeavors in reaching out to our cities, cultures, and nations. Common sense would tell us to simply hold the fort until things change financially. God’s seasons, however, seldom coincide neatly with our seasons and perspectives. Like the Hebrews who crossed over God is calling us to confront giants and fierce enemies of the gospel (at least, in a spiritual sense). The promise of His word is that “the righteous will prosper even during a time of famine”. The key prophecy of Haggai, chapter two, is to not be afraid of the outward situation because the Spirit of God is with us (if we are truly with Him)! In fact, Haggai went on to say that the riches of the world, would, in effect, fund the work of the kingdom of God. The fresh call on God’s leaders today requires three things, I believe. 1) We must not lean to the their own understandings, but to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts 2) We must keep our eyes focused on the Holy Spirit, for He is about to lead many of us in ways we have not gone before. 3) And if we will accordingly sanctify ourselves (be open to change) He will do wonders in our midst. (Joshua 3.3-5). His promise is no matter how large the enemy or how thick the armed fortress’ we will come into the land of greater fruit. The price tag is being willing to change from the blessing we know, to the greater glory we don’ so much know.
Marc A. Dupont
Mantle of Praise Ministries