Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.
“Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Last semester when I participated in “prayer force training” I was reminded of a message Pastor Chris had delivered in the past regarding “control.” It’s origin can be read in Ezekiel 47:1-12. The prophet Ezekiel had a vision in which a river symbolizes the presence of God. The bottom, or the ground, which includes the bank of the river, represents the world.
When our Lord asks us to be obedient…partial obedience won’t cut it. Partial obedience is not obedience. Our Lord expects us to fully surrender every area of our lives to Him….not just the parts that we feel we require assistance.
This past weekend as I was preparing the lesson for the “prayer force” small group I am leading this week on “The Presence of God,” this passage hit me in the face. God revealed something significantly profound to me that changed the posture of my perspective in a particular area of my life. I now comprehend more clearly that I must “sell out” to God in order to sense the full presence of the Lord in my life. This attitude of “surrender” or “sacrifice” will allow more freedom than I could ever imagine. In turn, when I release my hold on anything in my grip……I can be assured that it’s in God’s grip….and really always was….but I had to “let go” in order for Him to manifest His power. Who am I to think that I am more qualified to handle a challenge in my life than the Creator of the Universe and the Author of my beautiful Salvation?
Picture yourself in the following four positions. This may apply to control in any area of your life. The four levels of control can fall under “control in worship” “control in finances” “control in relationships” “control in outcomes of any form” ETC …..check it out:
Ankle Deep – We can enjoy refreshing in God’s presence, but we are in full command at this level. We are able to splash and play, then choose to walk out of the river with no lasting effects on our lives.
Knee-Deep – The current of God, His manifest presence, can be felt, but we maintain restraint. It’s still relatively easy to subdue the flow. In knee-deep water, we can view the “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11), but the riverbank is still our security.
Waste-Deep – Here the stream of His presence is strong. We’ve walked out into the river into deep water, fighting the current and struggling to keep contact with the bottom, or the world. Often fear of man or fear of losing control will tempt us to go back to the river bank. It is at this place that we make a crucial decision: “Who will be my master, me or the Spirit of God?”
The Middle of the River – This is where we are out of control! We give up control to Him and sever the influence of the world. We let go of our own will and desires. At this place we are going wherever He is!
(Material above taken from Church of the Highlands Prayer Force Manual 2008)
When the Jewish people offered sacrifices to God, the animals were killed and the meat was presented to God. As Christians, we are the “” to present to God. Like rams, goats, and lambs that were once presented at the alter, we, too become His. The only problem is that because we are LIVING sacrifices, there is the temptation to crawl off the alter. That’s why we must make it a practice to “die to self” every single day in order to be in full submission to our Father!
We become “living sacrifices” when we choose His will over our own and we follow Him instead of the world. () Everyone worships something or someone……but who will we worship? When we present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, this act clearly demonstrates our desire to follow God. When we lay down our lives and our desires, and trust and depend on Him completely, He will carry us, and He is eager to bless us and favor us with anointing and fruit more than we could ever fathom. When we allow the Lord to take us completely, we find TRUE LIFE.
“Christ is the way…Sometimes we feel so torn in two. Our human flesh cries out for comfort and direction, for some control, and yet we are called to live above that…Surely, it is on the path with Christ that we will find rest. And when we are there, we will no longer wonder about God’s will for our lives — WE ARE LIVING IN IT.” ()
HIS SPIRIT SMILES AT OUR SACRIFICE!
RELEASE CONTROL, AND YOU WILL FIND TRUE FREEDOM!
GO WITH THE FLOW OF THE SPIRIT!