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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Agents of change

Before you know it, the Spirit of God will come on you and you'll be prophesying right along with them. And you'll be transformed. You'll be a new person!  "When these confirming signs are accomplished, you'll know that you're ready: Whatever job you're given to do, do it. God is with you!"
(I Samuel 10:6-7)

This passage is taken from the story of the anointing of Saul, the first King of Israel.  Samuel is the prophet in the land at the time.  He had been sent by God to anoint Saul.  In turn, Samuel is telling Saul that he will receive some "confirmation" that God has anointed him.  Those "signs" will be: 1) He will encounter two men at the tomb of Rachel who will share news that his father is worried about his whereabouts and he should return to home; 2) He will come across three men on their way to worship - each carrying a different thing (goats, bread and wine); and 3) He will meet a group of prophets coming out of Gibeah (a Philistine town) - when he does, the Spirit of God will come upon him and he will be transformed!

God's anointing is always followed with an evidence of that anointing.  In Old Testament times, the signs that followed being anointed by God for his service were similar to what is described above.  The Spirit of God came to "rest upon" a man or woman of God in those days - not fully indwelling them.  Why was that?  Simply because the Spirit resident within us was not accomplished until Jesus's sacrifice for the atonement of our sins was accomplished.  The Holy Spirit then became resident within the believer - permanently residing within, not upon.

One thing is quite evident - where the Spirit of God is, there is evidence of his action.  There is a "transformational" process.  The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to a place where we have evidence that we have an exchange or change of character.  We transition from being self-directed, self-centered sinners to being Spirit-led, Christ-centered saints.  The "nature" of who we are is transformed.  As the passage implies, "You will be a new person."  That is as true today as it was when Samuel conversed with Saul those many years ago.

The result of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives is to conform us to the image of Christ - to help us walk according to the plans and purposes of our heavenly Father.  In turn, we are to be active in the mission for which we are prepared.  Most of us get hung up right there - we don't "feel" called to service (like full-time ministry of pastor, teacher, etc.), so we don't "feel" we have a mission to fulfill.  In actuality, scripture reminds us that we are each called to be "ambassadors of reconciliation".  (See 2 Corinthians 5:20)

An ambassador is one that represents another - acting as the authorized agent or representative of another.  In our case, we represent Christ to a lost and dying world.  We are the agents of reconciliation.  Big mission, huh?  Reconciliation is a process of bringing back into harmony what has been affected by something that results in chaos.  In our case, it is the process of bringing Christ into a world affected by sin - sin being the agent of chaos, Christ being the process and person of peace.

Paul tells us in the book of Corinthians that we are ambassadors - as though God were making his direct appeal to mankind through us.  He is using us as agents to spread his message of hope.  We each have a mission - an assignment, a commission, an objective to which we are called.  We cannot escape that fact.  We may not feel "enabled", but that is usually because we are relying on our own strength to fulfill that mission.  When we begin to rely on the strength of God's Spirit within us, there is an enabling that will take us beyond our "feelings".

Just as Samuel tells Saul to be engaged in whatever work God gives him to do, we are being called to that same call - do whatever work God gives you to do - for God is with you!  There is no reason for delay - God is with us.  We have an objective - not to attain something in our own power, but to represent the power of God to a world that desperately needs that revelation of supernatural power.  In ourselves, we are powerless - in Christ, we are power-full!  Isn't it time we step up to the purpose for which we are all called?  It is time to be on "mission with Christ" as his ambassadors to a hurting world!