Continuing our Series on the similarities between Christ the Bridegroom and the Church, His Bride, today we come to two more areas where we find stark similarities…
Jesus grew in stature and wisdom in the eyes of man and God by humbly obeying His earthly parents (Luke 2:51-52). In the same way,besides giving themselves to prayers and fellowshipping, the early Christians (who I reiterate are a role-model for all the Christians who followed thence) also grew spiritually by listening to their “spiritual earthly parents”: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42 ESV). Hey, in matters of spiritual growth, it pays a new Christian well to carefully follow the advice cum the example of his “spiritual parent” who preached the Gospel to him whilst winning him over to Christ (1 Cor 4:15-16)!
Mind you, the “new converts” of the Early Church from Pentacostal Day did not stand beside the Apostles to preach. Neither were they used in ministry within 24 hours of receiving “new life” from God. If new birth is a great spiritual experience, the one of being ushered into ministry with due passage of time (but not too soon! See 1 Tim 3:6) would be an equally memorable one.
Jesus’earthly life can be divided into three parts:Preparation (at Nazareth), Proclamation (Ministry largely in the Northern Galilee, beginning after the arrest of John the Baptist –See Matt 4:12-17) and Passion (in Southern Jerusalem). It is important to note that the “proclamation” phase, involving mighty anointing (Luke 4:14/Acts 10:38), was preceded by Jesus’ triumph over the temptations of the cravings of the flesh (Matt 4:1-4), the lust of the eyes (Matt 4:8-10) and the pride of life (Matt 4:5-7). How much more so for a Christian that he/she subjugates these temptations (1 John 2:14-16) before receiving the needed anointing to qualify for any of the five ministries (Apostolic, Evangelical, Prophetical, Pastoral or that of teaching. SeeEph 4:11-15) that Christ would use him in for the enhancement of the boundaries of His Kingdom and for building up the Church to a state of full maturity.
The Apostle Paul sums up the subject on how subjugation of temptations precedes anointing for Ministry aptly in 2 Tim 2:21:“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” (ESV)
It is pertinent to note that the Greek word used for “being set apart as Holy” is “hagiazó”, which means “consecrated” or “anointed”. Virtually by subjugating the temptations, a Christian has proved his trustworthiness for receiving greater responsibilities.
Doubtless, when Peter wrote his epistle to some 3000 who received the Lord (in Pontus, Cappadocia–the very places from which they had come on the Day of Pentecost. See 1 Peter 1:1), and who had stood firm in the midst of fiery trials (see1 Peter 1:7-8), they had already been “anointed” in the intervening period,for Peter exhorts them in the matter of gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11) and pastoralministry (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Be it as it may, what every Christian has to do at all times, whether he is clergy or laity, is be a good witness for the Lord through his life and lip.
Of course, I hasten to add here that anointing also doesn’t make a Christian completely Christ-like. It is s a great experience in itself; yet thereare always rough edges that can be smoothened only with consistent Cross-bearing over a period of time (SeeRomans 5:3-4/James 1:2-4).
While, I have lain before my readership the general pattern of spiritual occurrences in a Christian’s life using my life as an example, the Holy Spirit, who is like wind in that He does not follow one set pattern (See John 3:8), cannot be dictated to; therefore, we cannot expect Him to conform to a set pattern in the matter of His manifestations (visible or invisible) at the beginning, or even at the later stages in a Christian’s life.
All said and done, what ought to matter most to all Christians,in the manner that it was in their Bridegroom’s heart, is their persistent joy of the Holy Spirit, who is also in their hearts (SeeLuke 10:21/1 Peter 1:8/Acts 9:31)!
Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for keeping Your Son’s life as a model for all who would follow Him. Enable us to live lives worthy of such high calling at all times. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Inseperable Duo” mini-series, please click here.)