When the disciples questioned Jesus about how to work miracles, His response may surprise you. He said nothing about fasting, intercession, holiness, not even faith - all of which are good and important. They had just watched Him feed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, walk on water, and then cause He and the entire boat of disciples to be translated (see John 6). Not a bad day’s work.
“Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent,’” (John 6:28-29; NASB). Jesus took the answer to their question back to the principle of relationship. In the kingdom of God, everything starts and finishes with relationship.
In Luke chapter 10, they had gotten their wish and were now empowered and authorized to work miracles and cast out demons. After their evangelistic crusades, they came back to Him rejoicing that even the demons were subject to them in His name. Jesus did not budge from the principal. “Don’t rejoice because the demons are subject to you,” He said, “rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” In other words, rejoice because you are now a part of Mine and My Father's family. He was not downplaying deliverance and miracles; He was “up-playing” relationship with the Father.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is probably the most quoted and well-known passage on guidance from Holy Spirit: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths,” (Proverbs 3:5-6; KJV).
The word “ways,” translated from the Hebrew word derek, means literally a “way, road, journey, manner, work.”(1) More often than not, however, it is used metaphorically, referring to the actions and behavior of people.(2) It “has the unusual sense of ‘sexual favors’ in Jeremiah 3:13 and Proverbs 31:3.” Derek is the word chosen for the act of courting in Proverbs 30:19.(3)
Imagine that, courting God.
Consistent with this relational theme, the word “acknowledge” comes from yada, which is the Old Testament word also used for knowing someone in a very intimate - even physical - way.(4) Adam knew (yada) Eve, and she conceived (see Genesis 4:1). Using these concepts and definitions we could paraphrase Proverbs 3:6, “In all you do, pursue and court God; seek intimacy with Him.”
In the “ways” of ministry and life in general, many things are courted: success, advancement, fame, other people, glory, money, favor, and a myriad of other goals we humans strive to reach. Gordon Dahl aptly said, “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship.”(5) Seeking and loving God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength is often lost in the melee. As is our source of strength and life. Nothing will cause the flow of God’s life to abate more quickly than this common mistake.
We must drink daily from the fountain. Sometimes I feel like the small child in the “Family Circus” cartoon who ran up to his mother exclaiming, “I need a hug, Mommy. I used up the last one.”(6) It doesn’t take long to use up our spiritual hugs.
What happens when we pursue God? Courting Him in all of our ways and work (derek) leads to intimacy (yada), which leads to conception. Just as Adam knew Eve physically and she conceived, as we seek and wait on God spiritually, He speaks to us. When He does, the seed of His word (see 1 Peter 1:23) is planted in us, and that which is born from our lives is now of Him. Our visions, plans, methods, ministries, relationships - all can then be born of God, not of ourselves.
God isn’t into surrogate revelation - someone else carrying His seed of revelation for us. He wants to sow it into us personally. He wants to breathe His word into our hearts. Insights we receive from others are good and valid, but if that is the only way we receive, we’re living far below our privileges.
God is not into artificial insemination regarding His words either - placing His seed in us without a relationship. MP3s, videos, conferences, podcasts, and books are all good but they must not take the place of hearing from God personally and directly. Conferences, where the word of God is flowing wonderfully, can become nothing more than a sterile laboratory of information if we’re not careful.
The problem is not receiving teaching through another - this is obviously one of the ways God releases understanding - the problem is when this becomes the primary source of our information. We cannot live only on another person’s revelation. We must hear from God ourselves. And when He speaks to us through someone else, we should still pray and meditate over the information (courting God) until it becomes a personal word of revelation to us.
The Church is filled with people trying to walk out someone else’s revelation, vision, ideas, and methods. These things may have worked well for the person sharing them. But each of us must allow Holy Spirit to show us how to apply truth to our personal situations. What is God saying to ME now? must be the question we ask ourselves.
The works of God are not produced by methods, they are born of the Spirit!
Pray with me:
Father, we are very confident of the coming wave of signs, wonders and miracles throughout the earth. You will obviously release this because Your Word clearly says signs follow the preaching of the gospel (Mark 16). But You also clearly said the key to working Your works is believing in Your Son and building a relationship with You. In response, we draw near to You. We worship You. We love You and Your Word.
As we do so, we ask You to release signs and wonders. Open blind eyes, heal diseased bodies, deliver those bound and oppressed by demonic entities and beliefs. Send awakening to our churches, our pastors, and believers in general. May blazing fire be released, a raging river of Your passion and Holy Spirit flow, and the former and latter rains of revival fall simultaneously.
And we continue to release prayers regarding Ukraine. End this evil, send revival there. Also, send great revival to Russia and all of Europe. Stop Putin and his murderous activities.
Also, we continue to decree that the spirit of Baal operating in the Supreme Court of America is losing its hold. We agree now that the spirit of death reigning in America through abortion is being broken. We ask You to influence the Justices regarding the Dobbs case, and we ask for the turning of a Justice from a Saul to a Paul. Deliver them, we pray, in Christ’s name. Amen.
We decree that a revival of passion and power is coming to America and the earth.
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R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Workbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p 196.
Ibid., p 197.
Ibid., p 198.
Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible - New American Standard, p 1720.
Rowell, Quotes & Idea Starters for Preaching and Teaching, p 181.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, A Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1996), p 99.