Pitiful! But for the Grace of God

A few years ago the Lord challenged me about my level of spiritual hunger. I was beginning to realise that I wasn’t as passionate for Him as I thought I was or I had been in previous seasons. At that time the Lord was saying, “There is a transition! I am bringing you into another level. You have growing pains – but you need to get hungry, even desperate. You’re just not hungry enough, nor desperate enough. I want you to want Me more than anything.”

Suddenly I began to have a vision. In my mind, I could see a vessel containing the finest oil, I was looking at the vision from inside the vessel, and I could see a shallow stream of golden liquid flowing out onto a surface. The oil on the surface was only a few millimetres deep.

I began a conversation with the Lord.

“What are You showing me?” I asked.

“This is the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life,” He answered.

It was not an encouraging picture; it was pitiful! The capacity of the vessel was huge – enough to convey litres of oil. Yet only a trickle was evident.

I wanted to ask the Lord why there was so little oil in my life. His answer stunned me. “Those represent the times when you said no. Why should I increase the level of anointing if you aren’t available to use it?”

I was reminded of these words from a song:

And what I’ve done, before thy throne

I here confess, is small.

How many times had I been in the habit of asking for more of God’s power and anointing? But what did I use it for? He doesn’t send anointing just to make me feel good.

This vision challenged me deeply. I wrestled with it in my spirit trying to identify the times and circumstances when I had called on the anointing and not used it for His glory. What the Lord then said left me speechless: Set your heart to be an “anointed observer.” God wanted me to watch and observe in preparation for what the Spirit is saying in the Bible about His anointing as it progressively unfolds.

To “watch” I had to position myself to receive strength from the Spirit to love God even more. It became a place of empowerment, obedience and unfailing love. It is presumptuous to seek to do this without being connected to the Spirit.

With a heart of faith, I climbed my watchtower:

‘I will climb my watchtower now and wait to see what answer God will give to my complaint.  And the Lord said to me, “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others.  But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!’ (Habakkuk 2:1-3 TLB)

I quickly realised that instead of the trickle of oil I need a reservoir of fresh oil in the Holy Spirit if I am to sustain through the hour of trail that is to come.

The “oil” from that time has taken on a fresh anointing and power. It speaks of the presence of the Spirit touching my heart as I spend time with God. The oil of the Holy Spirit now touches my heart in different ways:

  1. It tenderises my heart, enabling me to feel more of God’s desire for me.
  2. It enlarges my desire for Him by encountering His desire for me.
  3. It illuminates my understanding with revelation of God’s beauty.
  4. It imparts a new fervour for righteousness, which helps me in our struggle with besetting sins.

He gently drew alongside me and whispered in my inner man: “This is your job. Make My people hungry. I want you to make My people hungry. I want you to stir My people. I want you to make them desperate for My presence.”

Oh Lord my prayer is that I may fulfil your call.

I bring to thee my heart to fill;

I feel how weak I am, but still

To thee for help I call.

In joy or grief, to live or die,

For earth or Heaven, this is my cry,

Be thou my all in all. – Herbert Howard Booth

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