Posted July 20th, 2013 at 3:41 pmNo Comments Yet
Shawn Bolz: “The Baptism Of Fire”
I met with a pastor, recently, in one of the cities I was in. Over the past twenty years, this man was used by God to host some of the most strategic events in that region. He also held a place of passion that was esteemed by pastors of many denominations in the area. His church was large and his vision endless. When I met with him, there was a large gap between those glory years and where he and his church were at now. He was at a completely different place than even five years ago. He doesn’t attend regional meetings anymore, let alone host them. He is still in ministry, but it took him a lot to even consider meeting with a prophetic voice, but nevertheless, he arranged the meeting.
Before my meeting with this man of God, I spent time with another leader in the city. That leader found out about my appointment and said, “Oh, he is jaded and disillusioned…he has lost his ground. I think God is giving his mantle to someone else.”
I understood why this leader would say this but this statement was narrow-minded and self-serving. It wasn’t a Kingdom perspective but more of a western world corporate perspective, and it was offensive.
When I met with this man of God, I went into a vision. I could see countless saints who are all around the world today who have been used greatly by God but have not entered into their greater works that were promised. I believe many of these saints are going through one of the hardest but also greatest seasons they have ever been in. This is a season of both a purging of self and imbuing of the Divine nature of Christ.
The Furnace That Prepares Us For The Baptism Of Fire
When someone is going through a firing, they are being stripped of any other identity that satisfied them outside of being the one who Jesus loves. They are also being delivered of self. I was given the passage of scripture in 2 Peter 3:14-15–“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him (God). Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.”
In these sometimes long, drawn-out seasons, God is training them to be an overcomer, to have wisdom and understanding, so they can be mentors to a generation of those who are about to come into the Kingdom. The Lord is patient to fulfill the fullness of His purpose. We have to see the eternal perspective like Peter and Paul did, so that we can be patient for the Lord’s purposes.
Let me state that I am not addressing people who have fallen into sin and immorality. I am not addressing those who have been in a ministry and have failed in holiness (although the good news for those is that we have all fallen short of the glory of God). That is a different subject. We are talking about those in the church who have been set apart to be ones who overcome in this generation and are going through a wilderness of God’s proving love. Jesus went through this sort of wilderness and testing. This is not a wilderness of discipline for disobedience like the children of Israel, though both are important to understand.
God is after a quality of obedience in a people that is based in the surrender to the divine love of Christ. This will define the people He had foreknowledge of. These are His friends who have understanding of the reality of the cross and the resurrection, by experiencing it in their own life.
The cross and resurrection can be confusing to an immature Christian who rides the current trends of the church and calls it a deep walk with the Lord. Those who have a deep and mature walk are not dependant on conferences, books, television shows, radio programs, or even their local churches, these are just supplements, if anything, to a very deep and personal faith.
Many who God has been maturing can’t find any joy in the establishment of the church right now because the western church appeals and teaches towards the new believer and the novice. God’s intention is to gather His remnant, and not only save them, but take them deeper into His heart. This is not the focus of many churches, but it is the focus of the Kingdom. God wants mature lovers. He wants those who eat the meat, the Hebrews 5:14 solid food of His nature.
“I Am Calling The Deep Deeper”
I heard the internal, audible voice of the Lord last year, and He said, “I am taking the deep deeper.” I had an understanding that He is about to take those who have a relationship and depth in His heart to a whole new level of depth. “And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The mature of the church are getting their next installment of transformation which leads to the next increase of glory. We get to go from glory to glory. If we stay in one glory it means we don’t have the evidence of Christ increasing in His church.
In 2 Corinthians 2 Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is searching the depth of God and brings that depth into our very nature. He has to first prepare us to sustain what He brings. That is why He is putting us in the furnace–for firing–a beautiful preparation when understood.
The Baptism Of Fire
It’s no small thing that we are at the anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival where the baptism of the Spirit was reintroduced. I believe we are at another divine juncture in history. It’s a time when those who have been fired in the furnace of God’s heart are about to be baptized by that very fire. It is also when they are infused with everything they need from heaven to enter into their destiny for the greater works on and in their lives.
I believe these are commissioning years for many. People who have lived in obscurity for a time will start to be released into more anointing because they have been gaining a place of authority that is dependant on a relationship to eternity.
I remember our high school tennis coach telling us it was the only sport that you could never get better in unless you played someone significantly better than yourself. This is reflected in Kingdom growth. God has created a dependency on unity. Some of the highest realms we can experience on this side of the eternity of His glory comes through the generations mingling their anointing so that we can all advance in love. This is why one age group is not more important than another in the Kingdom. If we continue to feed off the milk and never graduate to solid food, we will stunt our growth.
Now, back to my story about the pastor that I started this article with. As we spoke, I could see a man who was not satisfied with what was currently being called anointed in the church. He was jaded, not against God. He was jaded against the lesser forms of the ways in which spiritual gifts had been being championed in his region, as well as, by the lack of those who will pay a price for love. It was a privilege as I spoke with him because the wisdom that was in his pursuit with God was so obvious.
As we conversed, I realized that hidden in this man was the Spirit of Truth, and that he is not settling for success but was longing for the fullness of that which was promised to Him. He asked me, “How many of the greater works have you seen performed in or through your own life that you have longed to see?” By greater works he was speaking of the actual manifestation of the promise of Jesus that had been entrusted to be revealed through his life. I had to agree that I was not satisfied with my own answer.
He responded, “I am longing for the greater works of the Kingdom that only come from Heaven, and I am longing for the day when I am ready for the Lord to do these through me. Until then, I steward faithfully what He has given me. I get discouraged, but I don’t live in discouragement.”
I loved his answer because I to am longing to see the greater works which is not just miraculous power of arms growing back where there were no arms. Greater works are also not just miraculous food provisions in places where there is no food. It’s not just speaking in tongues of men and angels. These are a byproduct of the greater works. The greater works are lives that have fully embraced the divine nature of Christ and can manifest His nature on the earth. Lives that live in agreement to the Father’s plan, a full manifestation of His Son-ship on the earth.
This is what Romans 8:22-24 talks about, that all creation is groaning for this manifestation of love. If you listen deeply enough when you look at the state of the church right now, you will hear these very same groans from those who have any depth or maturity.
We Are Almost There
I believe that our generation is about to walk into this place of being baptized by the Spirit AND by fire, so that we can enter into the fullness. Paul prayed that the Ephesians would enter into the fullness of God’s love in Ephesians 3:19, and I believe that they did for a season. What happens when a generation, who is called to see the return of Jesus, enters into the fullness of not just the revelation but the cooperation with eternity as mature vessels of honor? This is why we are being prepared, and this is why we are being baptized by fire.