- Renée Coventry
The Word and the Spirit
It is impossible to separate the prophetic, the testimony of Jesus, from the person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, prophesied over by the Spirit through Simeon, anointed by and full of the Holy Spirit, taught on the Holy Spirit, was empowered by the Holy Spirit, sacrificed His life through the Holy Spirit, and rose again because of the Spirit (Luke 1:35, 2:27, 3:22, 4:1, 14, 18, John 3:34, Luke 12:8-12, Heb. 9:14, Rom. 8:11). Then before Jesus ascended to the Father, Christ gave orders to His disciples by the Spirit and told them to wait for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2-5). So, the prophetic life is characterized by the Spirit alive and at work in and through us.
Easier said than done, I know, particularly when so much screams out for us to focus on ourselves. So often, we find ourselves talking about walking in the Spirit but living according to the law of sin. The two are incompatible. The Apostle Paul described it succinctly, stating, "For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil I do not want…I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. 7:16-24). It is a wretched state in which to be. But, thank God, Paul didn't stop there, following it up with Romans 8, assuring us that we are free and there is no condemnation in Christ.
Because of this freedom from sin, we are to live dedicated to the Spirit. To walk according to the Spirit, we must abide by the law of the Spirit, which requires a change of mind. One which is set on things above, not below. It is a mindset of life and peace. Paul goes on to state, "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Rom. 8:9). So the prophetic utterance must spring forth out of a person living in the Spirit because one outside the Spirit cannot belong or speak for Him to whom he doesn't belong. It's not a suggestion; it's a law established for the good of God's people.
This law is characterized by its fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). The prophetic life requires that we live and walk by the Spirit, putting to death all that is of ourselves so that He might have full operation through us. Imagine such a testimony: everything birthed, declared, warred over, and established in their lives was of the Spirit of the Living God! It puts the enormity of the task ahead of us into greater perspective and the necessity of reliance upon the Holy Spirit. That testimony does not come because of us but because we make a thoughtful decision to die to ourselves.
Think of Mary, a young girl who was willing to take the angel's word at face value and allow the Spirit to have His way in her life. The world has never been the same because she was willing to sacrifice her reputation, her ideas of how her life would play out, and by the Spirit's power, give birth to the Son of God, Savior and Redeemer of the World! Just imagine what God would do through you and me if we were willing to lay aside all that is of us for all that is of Him! Perhaps as we lay aside our passions and allow His Spirit to live His passion through us, the world around us will again proclaim that He is Emmanuel, God with Us!