by Rod Nichols
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By Rod Nichols (Rod@RodNichols.com)
Do you remember taking swimming lessons as a child? You arrived at the pool and the instructor immediately threw you into the deep water and expected you to swim, right? Of course not; that would be ludicrous and the instructor would be immediately fired. Yet, how many Christians think of God as that kind of instructor? They think that He expects them to jump into the deep spiritual things right away. Well, if you’ve been thinking something like that, I’ve got good news: God doesn’t throw His babies in the deep end and expect them to swim.
When we receive Christ into our heart for the first time, we are literally born again. Physically we do not change, but spiritually we are just a baby. Babies don’t belong in the deep end of the pool. That’s why they made wading pools.
Ezekiel 47:1-5 (NIV) shows our spiritual progression: “The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side. 3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.”
Swim lessons teach us to survive in the deep water. God’s lessons teach us how to thrive in the deep water of the Holy Spirit (deeper anointing). The scripture we just read; shows the progression from anointing that is ankle deep to a raging river. Most Christians never progress past God’s wading pool, because they aren’t willing to learn the deeper lessons. God doesn’t want His babies drowning, so He checks our hearts for willingness, before taking us into deeper water. How is your willingness level? Are you ready to go deeper?
There are five keys to going deeper in God’s anointing:
1. Meditate the Word of God – The Bible is both an instruction and relationship manual. It teaches us what we need to know to excel in both earthly and eternal lives and also teaches us how to have an intimate relationship with God and other people. Joshua 1:8 (NIV) says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Would you like to be prosperous and successful in all areas of your life? Then meditate on the word night and day. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to quit sleeping, eating, working, and living life to devote yourself to constant study. Rather, it means that you should read and study the Word until it is ingrained in your very being. You will be pondering scriptures as you drive, in the shower, and at night when you can’t sleep. Do you have a daily time slot for reading the Bible? If you want to go deeper, you’ll need to devote at least 30 minutes every day to meditating over the scriptures.
2. Prayer – Going deeper with God means getting more intimate with Him. You wouldn’t consider yourself intimate with someone you just met, would you? Hopefully not! Intimacy takes time. You have to invest time and conversation with a person before you (and the other person) begin to feel close. Developing a more intimate relationship with God requires you to invest time with Him. Set aside time each day to sit in God’s presence. Instead of asking Him for a bunch of stuff (He’s not Santa Claus), why not ask Him to speak to you and then sit quietly? At first it may seem awkward, but soon you’ll be tuned in to His still small voice.
3. Fasting – Throughout the Bible you will find individuals and groups of people fasting. Kings called for corporate fasts in times of great danger. Moses fasted for forty days on the mountain and experienced the Glory of God. Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert and then returned to Galilee in the “power of the Spirit.” (Luke 4:14 NKJ) Jesus then taught His disciples about fasting: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.” (Matthew 6:16-17 NIV) Clearly Jesus intended His disciples to fast, as He said, “When you fast . . .” not “If you fast . . .” Later, Jesus taught that some situations require fasting. After the disciples had attempted unsuccessfully to cast out a demon, Jesus told them: “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21 NIV) There are certain situations that require more than just prayer. We must go deeper than what prayer alone will accomplish and that calls for fasting. Take the time to learn more about fasting, before you begin. There are many good books available. I would recommend Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer Towns and Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting by Mahesh Chavda. Both of these can be found at www.TruthandGraceBooks.com. If you have health issues, please check with your Physician before beginning a fast.
4. Worship – So many of us think of worship as singing songs in a church service, but it is so much more than that. The Greek word that translates as worship is “proskuneo” which means to show respect, kneel down, and kiss the hand. When we are in the presence of royalty, worship would be proper protocol. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJ) says: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace . . .” The scripture is speaking of God’s throne. The King of Kings. We are to come boldly to the throne. However, we must also know the proper protocol. Respect, humility, and brokenness will grant us an audience with the King. Worship is the key to the inner courts of God.
5. Service – It’s one thing to have an audience with the King and learn many great secrets and mysteries. It is a whole different thing to go out and use what you have learned to better our world. Jesus said to go and make disciples throughout the world. He didn’t say, go and get them all saved. He said make disciples. First, they must receive the Lord and be saved, but then they too must learn how to go from the wadding pool to the deep end. They must go from milk to meat. Your job is to help them move from the wading pool to the deep end. For some, all you can do is take care of their physical needs, by providing them with food, water, clothing, or shelter. Jesus always took care of the physical needs before He taught people the truth. For others, your service will be in the form of mentoring, coaching, sharing, teaching, explaining, and even debating at times. This part will require a solid knowledge of the Bible, however you don’t have to wait until you know the Bible word for word. Jesus came to serve, not to be served and He expects us to do the same. He also taught that to be great in the Kingdom of God, we must be servants. Serving is the final key to going deeper in the waters of God.
Each of these five keys will take you further out into the deep water. Just like with swimming, this isn’t going to happen with the first lesson. It may take months or years. God isn’t in a hurry. He doesn’t want His babies or children or adults drowning. If you are willing, the great Swimming Instructor will slowly teach you what you need to know and do, in order to survive in the deep waters of His anointing.
Rod Nichols is an Associate Pastor at Truth and Grace Foursquare Church in Tacoma, WA. He is also a published author and accomplished public speaker and teacher. Rod’s latest articles and books can be found at www.RodNichols.com. Rod is married with five children. He and his wife Karen live in beautiful Washington State. Rod is available as a freelance writer. If you'd like to hire him, e-mail Rod@RodNichols.com.
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Our walk with The Lord truly is a journey through the river. Thankfully we have His Grace to keep us on our journey. Thank you for this Word. Praise God for giving us the opportunity to say "Yes" when He wants to take us deeper, even though there may be tests and trials, the character of The Lord Jesus Christ is priceless, and worth "dying to self" for.