Cultivating a Life in the Spirit for Global Proclamation

By John Brown

John is the senior pastor of Harmony Vineyard Church in Kansas City, MO.
We live in crucial but very exciting times. The hour we find ourselves in is filled with seeming impossibilities and is fraught with unprecedented opportunities. Our only hope to free the millions trapped in darkness is to develop and deepen our walk in the power of God’s Spirit.

A few years ago the Lord moved on my heart to view my life in Him and His life in me from a new perspective. The phrase that the Holy Spirit breathed into my understanding was “co-resident living.”

This co-resident paradigm birthed a new understanding in me about the truths of my being “bought with a price” and that my life was not my own.

Galatians 2:20- I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me -took on new meaning as did much of John chapters 14 and 15.

Our Lord Jesus lived this way. As the verses above illustrate, He only did and said what He saw and heard the Father saying and doing. This required an amazing awareness of and sensitivity to God’s Spirit but it produced incredible results.

I believe God wants us to live and minister in this way. When we are aware of being a co-resident; of sharing our body and our life with the Spirit of God things happen. When you share a dwelling place with someone you get to know them intimately and love them deeply.

Your communication is meaningful, frequent and impactful and you find yourself living in a manner that brings pleasure and honor to them.

This brings a wonderful sense of connection to the flow of Life that His Spirit brings and it empowers us to become effective co-laborers for the Gospel.

Jesus calls us to co-labor not just to labor. Our impact, effectiveness and fruitfulness are entirely dependent upon the Spirit’s initiative and involvement in what we do.

We must be instructed by His Word and empowered by His Spirit in order to touch people with His Life.

John chapter four is a good example of how Jesus ministered “out there.” (John 4:7-42) He met a Samaritan woman at a well in the heat of the day and she has a prophetic encounter with Jesus.

He had a word of knowledge (See below I Corinthians 12:8) concerning her marital history and her present relationship which causes her to see that God knows her heart but loves her and has “living water” to give her.

This revelatory information brought her to faith and forgiveness and her testimony resulted in many of her neighbors believing in Jesus. (John 4:39) Jesus knew by revelation what this woman needed to hear and He spoke it with an unction that made her response easy and natural.

The Holy Spirit residing within us longs to lead us and to make us fruitful. He wants to become increasingly familiar with His promptings so we can grow in our capacity to “know” what God is doing in the present-tense and get in on it.

Early one Saturday morning, I was praying in our church sanctuary. It was still dark and there were no lights on in the building but I had done this several times before so I simply paced and prayed in front of the altar as I often did.

I had only been praying for a few minutes when I was gripped by a lovely fragrance that filled the air. I thought I was experiencing a special heaven-sent scent so minutes later I got up to walk and pray some more only to find that some ladies of the church had put several Easter lilies on the platform the night before in honor of the upcoming Palm Sunday.

I told the Lord that I was sorry and felt foolish and I heard from heaven in my heart “John, too often you walk right past things that I want you to see, at least this time you waited before Me to see what I was doing.” I told the Lord that I “got it” and I logged the experience and went on.

Winter came and I was speaking at a meeting welcoming in the New Year. I had delivered my message and was praying for people when the Lord brought this Easter lily story to mind. I shared it with the couple I was praying for and told them that I sensed that lily fragrance when I began to pray for them.

I said to them that the Lord wanted them to know that their lily would “come out of the dark” just as the sunrise made the lilies “live” that morning. I told them that before long the Son would shine on their lily and it would live, too.

They wept and rejoiced as they told me that their only grandchild, a little girl named Lilly was gravely ill and had been so for several days. Needless to say, Lilly got well and God got glorified!

I did not know these people nor did I know that my “lily” story would mean anything to them, but the Holy Spirit knew and He had deposited this story in me to release to them as the present-tense word of the Lord to them for their encouragement and Lilly’s well-being.

Psalm 37:3 instructs us to “dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” I believe as we learn to live in the Spirit and experience Him living in us we do grow in our ability to know and trust His faithfulness to be Himself in and through us.

God really loves people, so much so that He will use people like us to prove it to people everywhere on a regular basis.

The Bible says in Matthew 4:4 “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” I like to call this His “proceeding word.” This is the Holy Spirit telling us what God is saying and doing in the now.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to remind us of the words of Jesus and to lead us into all truth. Most of us have studied what God has already said (His Word) and the Holy Spirit simply lives in us to tell us what to do with His truth and how to apply it.

Jesus tells us in John 10:3 that we can hear Him speak to us and that He can lead us. I have never heard His audible voice but I count on hearing His still, small voice every day. After all, I am one of His sheep and I do have (spiritual) ears to hear what the Spirit is saying and so do you!

In Acts 10:38 we read about Jesus and “how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power and how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Sadly, I think many in Christian ministry today “go about doing good” but they do not live in an anointed condition, they are generally powerless and not many are healed of the enemy’s oppressing ways.

Jesus died, rose again, ascended to the Father’s right hand and poured out His Spirit so that we could walk in newness of life and do the things He did and beyond. (See John 14:10-12)

Developing a co-resident life with God’s Spirit is one way to see His power work through us and to see much fruit and see that fruit remain. So let it be Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (New American Standard Bible)
4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

John 5:19-20 (New American Standard Bible)
19Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20″For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

John 8:25-30 (New American Standard Bible)
25So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26″I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” 27They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29″And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” 30As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

John 14:10-12 (New American Standard Bible)
10″Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11″Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12″Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.

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