Most of us are familiar with the story of Alexander the Great. He conquered most of the known world and then wept because there was no more lands to conquer. It makes for good copy. There is more to the story.
After many conquests he and his army found themselves at the foot of the Himalayas. He of course wanted to press further. The problem …. this was new territory and no one knew what was on the other side. His senior officers were troubled by his new vision.
Why? They had gone to the edge of their map. There was no map for the new territory that Alexander wanted to possess. These officers had a decision to make: would they be willing to follow their leader off the map, or would they be content to live within its boundaries? They chose to follow Alexander.
Bill Johnson reminds us that following the leading of the Holy Spirit can present us with the same dilemma.
While the Holy Spirit never contradicts His Word, He is very comfortable contradicting our understanding of it. Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit.
He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know. To do so successfully we must recognize His presence above all.
There is a great difference between the way Jesus did ministry and the way it typically is done today. He followed the Holy Spirit’s leading, even when it seemed unreasonable, which it often did.
The Church has all too often lived according to an intellectual approach to the Scriptures, void of the Holy Spirit’s influence. We have programs and institutions that in no way require the Spirit of God to survive.
In fact, much of what we call ministry has no safeguard in it to ensure that He is even present. When our focus is not the presence of God, we end up doing the best we can for God. Our intentions may be noble, but they are powerless in effect.
I am reminded of the conversation that took place between Thomas Aquinas, a prominent Catholic theologian of the past, and Pope Innocent II. The Pope was counting a large sum of money from the Vatican treasury and as he did so, he turned to Aquinas and noted that the church no longer needed to say, “Silver and gold have I none.” To which Aquinas replied, “True, Holy Father, but neither can the church any longer say, “rise up and walk.”
I encourage you today to allow the Holy Spirit to take you off the map today and live in the Presence of the Lord.