Are you moving and operating at the impulse of the Holy Spirit? Do you regularly ask for and wait for His empowerment before you begin a task? Or is it more common for us to move ahead by our own designs—possibly under our own steam?
It is easy and natural for us to rely upon our own strength, especially for familiar tasks we feel we have mastered. “I’ve got this!” But is that the right approach? Or what our Lord really desires? Perhaps this is the step we should take instead: Go; but wait.
A Very Sudden Stop
“If only I had waited a few more seconds!” That was my lament a few months ago when I pulled out of my driveway and backed into a neighbor’s car. Our driveways are at a right angle to each other, making it impossible to see any car backing out of their driveway until the very last second. If only I had taken just one more second to check!
The timing, unfortunately, was perfect. Their car moved behind mine at precisely the right moment to remain invisible to my back-up camera and to position itself directly in the path of my car. Imagine my shock at the sudden, jolting stop and the sound of the window of my rear hatch shattering. If only I had waited one second before proceeding!
I wish I had heeded the words you are reading right now! Go; but wait.
Our Great Commission
This incident somewhat inadequately portrays the negative side of a positive truth I will present in this letter. Still, it was a bad result from ignoring the advice: Go; but wait.
For the “GO” side of that phrase, I will be referring primarily to what we all know as “The Great Commission.” Clearly, the Lord has called you and me to go. We find one of the most definitive renditions of the mandate Jesus issued to His disciples in the last two verses (19 and 20) of Matthew 28: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you….”
In Mark 16:15, we see this same command to go. “And He [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” The mandate couldn’t be any clearer. Jesus has called us to go! So where does the “wait” come in?
What Are We Waiting For?
The flip side to that basic “go” command—the “wait” component—appears in two main places. In Luke 24:49, Jesus says: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
The Lord conveys this same instruction to His disciples in Acts 1:4—just prior to His ascension into heaven: “And being assembled together with them, He [Jesus] commanded them [His disciples] not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me.’”
Preparing them for the experience ahead of them, Jesus says in verse 8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Going Without Power
What are the implications of these seemingly opposite truths? How do they apply to us? You and I may be “raring to go.” But if we are not willing first to wait for the promised Spirit to empower our lives and our work, we run an alarming risk. If we fail to wait on the Spirit, we could find ourselves trying to do what God has assigned for us without the power He has promised for us to do it. Here is our mandate: Go; but wait.
Is it possible that much well-meaning Christian activity and ministry around the world is lacking the very power for which Jesus commanded us to wait? In our zeal to get started right away on God’s command to move forward, are we overlooking that one essential step which must precede every task we try to perform? Go; but wait.
The Promise of the Father
In “Vocal Gifts: An Unknown Tongue,” a foundational message by Derek Prince on the power of the Holy Spirit, he talks about the command Jesus gave for the disciples to wait. This is classic teaching by Derek, and it reinforces the precept: Go; but wait.
He [Jesus] said in Luke 24:49: ”And, behold, I send [in modern English: I’m going to send; I’m sending] the promise of My Father upon you [the baptism in the Holy Spirit]: but tarry ye [wait] in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
Jesus set an absolute, specific terminus. They had to wait until something happened. After that event happened, there was no more waiting.
In the opening part of Acts 1, verses 5 and 8, Jesus again spoke of something that was to happen in the immediate future. “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] not many days hence.” We know it was ten days hence.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus said: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me….”
All three of those verses set a terminus. Up until that terminus, the disciples had to wait. After that terminus, there was no more question of waiting. They then had to go ahead and use the power that Jesus promised would come.
Taking the Simple Step
Our response to the message of this letter doesn’t need to be complicated. At its irreducible minimum, here is what we need to do. In every situation, before stepping into any task we must perform, you and I take a simple step. We wait for the Holy Spirit.
Would you like to join me in committing yourself to that course of action? Let’s do so right now with the following prayer together.
Dear Lord Jesus, You have commanded us to go in obedience to your Word and fulfill Your mandate to touch those around us with Your truth. But You have also commanded us to wait for the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, who will provide the power we need to fulfill every task.
In Your name, Lord Jesus, I commit myself to that action. As an act of obedience to Your commands, I will take time to ask for and wait on the anointing of Your Holy Spirit. I don’t want to serve You in my own strength. I want to do so with the full empowerment of the Spirit of God.
With this prayer, I make my promise. Before I take a step to “go into all the world,” I will first wait for the Holy Spirit. I will go; but wait. Amen.
Strengthening Our Resolve
The declaration you and I have just made in prayer may seem so basic as to be inconsequential. It is not. By promising to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit, we have transformed our service to the Lord. Now, far beyond the best we can muster in our own strength, our work will be in His strength. I can assure you: this is an important step.
Any time you and I make a new commitment in our relationship with Jesus, we can be sure that the enemy of our souls will work to oppose us and throw up a smoke screen. All of us at DPM want to stand with you in this inevitable battle. One sure-fire way for us to gain strength is through solid Biblical teaching. It just so happens that DPM has an abundant treasury of such teaching, and we are glad to share it with you.
Why not take us up on our free offer for “Vocal Gifts: An Unknown Tongue,” the message from which we drew Derek’s quote? We know you will enjoy this classic teaching from Derek Prince. You can download a free MP3 of the message below—our way of expressing sincere thanks to you for your faithful support and your powerful prayers for us.
Let me conclude by providing a practical way for us to follow through in obedience to the truth we have seen. It comes from one of Derek Prince’s disciplines in his ministry.
Routinely, before Derek would speak or minister in any venue, he would take time to get on his face before the Lord. Basically, this was his simple prayer: “Lord, if You by Your Holy Spirit do not give me something to share with these people, I have nothing of value to give them. Please speak through me as a conduit of Your voice to them. Amen.”
You and I can take that very same action every time we are faced with any task. Rather than darting right out to start whatever assignment God has given us, you and I can take a moment. We can place our faces on the floor, telling the Lord that unless He empowers us by His Spirit to do the job, the results will be less than what He desires.
By this simple act, you and I can obey the command Jesus gives us: Go; but wait.
All the best,
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