I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)
God desires for us to become living sacrifices. This is our first step on the road to discovering His will for our lives. Many people try to skip this step because it will require us to place our self-nature on the altar and crucify our flesh. In chapter 1 we talked about dying to self and the thought of presenting ourselves as living sacrifices is key to be able to do so.
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (Acts 1:4)
Jesus told the disciples to “not depart from Jerusalem” just before His ascension. They were instructed to “wait” for the “promise of the Father” which was the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not tell them to go immediately as soon as He was caught up. We have already talked about the need for patience in discovering the will of God. It is not easy to wait but if we will our lives will be transformed. Paul was in Arabia for three years, Jesus in the desert for forty days, and the disciples in Jerusalem for one hundred and twenty days. The exact amount of time required for us to be apart with Him will differ for each of us. Regardless of the amount of time, if we are going to become living sacrifices that have completely died to our self-nature we will have to wait. If we can do this God will be able to mold and develop us to the point where we are useable, and He will be able to trust us with His anointing.
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)
The harvest is ready to be brought in but unfortunately labourers are few because we have tried to rush through our time of preparation and are not useable. This is the reason that Jesus said the “labourers are few”.
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. (John 2:23-25)
John tells us that many believed in the name of Jesus because of the miracles they saw. Their believing was based on what they were seeing and experiencing. I cannot help but wonder what our reaction would be today if we saw miracles like this drawing multitudes of people. It seems like the average preacher would try to mobilize the crowds, put tracks in their hands, and send them out. We can see though that this is not what Jesus did. He knew the people’s hearts and that they were not ready to be sent out. There is no evidence that even one person in the multitude was sent out to ‘witness’. I believe that Jesus is more concerned with the quality of ministry then He is about the quantity. We can mobilize hundreds of people from local churches to go out and hand out tracks but struggle to find the person who walks in an anointing. Throughout Church history we have accounts of men and woman like Smith Wigglesworth, Charles Finney, and Kathryn Kuhlman who walked in the power of God. Unfortunately, people like this seem to be the exception rather than the rule because the majority are unwilling to pay the price they paid for the anointing. John said that Jesus “did not commit himself to them”. He knew that they were not ready and could not be trusted with the anointing. His disciples spent three to three and a half years with Him but even they were told to wait before going. There is not a shortage of people desiring to serve today but there is a shortage of people that can be trusted with the anointing! Our ministry will be from our natural abilities and never do more than scrape the surface of the spiritual realm if we do not first become living sacrifices before going out. Kathryn Kuhlman talked about making a choice to sacrifice everything precious to her for the anointing of the Spirit. How much are we willing to sacrifice to become a living sacrifice for His service? It only takes one person to make the choice but very few do because of the cost required to become a living sacrifice with everything placed on the altar to be consumed. All ministry should flow out of the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit but most of what we call ministry today does not. There must be time spent out of the sight of people where we are alone with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
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