What’s In a Name?
August 16, 2008 By Phil
Some were too cryptic, some were too boring, some sounded high-falutin’, and some were just plain lame.
In the end I asked myself “What am I all about?” The answer to that question took about 3 seconds.
God has brought me to the place in my life and in service for Him where I finally know that without Him I can do (precisely) nothing. (John 15:5) Nada. Zilch.
Oh, we all know that!
Yeah, yeah. I “knew” it for years too. But now I do know it … really … with understanding and with conviction. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a huge part of me that wants to jump in and make things happen by my own strength and “wisdom”. I have a hunch I’ll be battling that temptation for the rest of my life. But I’m learning every day to wait on God for His strength and leadings, and just be obedient.
I’m no longer surprised when I read that Moses was held out in the wilderness for 40 years before God called him back to Egypt to lead the Israelites. That’s about how long it can take to get it. I’m 41 years old, and I think I finally got it.
Jesus gave his disciples a three year intensive crash course before ascending into heaven. And some of His last words to them were that they should “tarry” in Jerusalem (that means “sit down” and “wait”) until they were clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) The Holy Spirit would come as Christ’s Advocate and bring them the mind and presence of Christ continuously. Without Him they could do nothing.
Just a few minutes later Jesus was taken up out of their sight, and an angel repeated the instruction to get them moving. (Acts 1:10-11) It was THAT important. It’s like the angel was saying “You heard the Lord … hurry up and wait!” And the disciples obeyed.
Of course we all know what happened about 10 days later on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came as promised, and the Church was animated with His life and power. They could never be the same again.
Now some would say, “Well that’s it. The time of ‘tarrying’ was done. The disciples waited, and the Spirit came.”
Yes … and NO! Yes, the Spirit came and thrust the church out into mission. But I put it to you that those disciples never lost sight of their call to “tarry”. Their story, recorded in the book of Acts, is a story of prayer meetings, of waiting times, of “tarrying”.
They waited for empowerment. They waited for boldness. They waited for instructions. As a result, they were continually filled with the Spirit and bore fruit as Jesus said they would. These were the people who “turned the world upside down”. (Acts 17:6)
We need to reclaim the lost art of tarrying. The Church has never been so busy and yet so barren. We are living the Laodicean tragedy, for “(we) say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that (we) are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:17) That is always the sum total of what the Church can produce when she will not tarry.
So, by the grace of God I intend to tarry. Every day God is helping me. I see His power at work. I sense His presence more and more. And my need to tarry is not diminished, it is increased. Because the minute I say “I can take it from here”, I am done. Nothing will be achieved of any consequence from that moment.
Samuel Chadwick said it over a hundred years ago, “Christianity is hopeless without the Holy Ghost.” Amen!
Filed Under: Articles Tagged With: holy spirit, laodicea, pentecost, samuel chadwick, tarrying, the tarrier