The Atmosphere is Ripe
I heard the Lord say, “If you want me, you get me.” Doug Addison and many other prophetic types have been saying that the supernatural realm is more active right now than many of them can remember. My wife said just yesterday that she was reading somewhere and the writer said that the “veil is really thin” right now.
The atmosphere is ripe for supernatural life. I believe this is because so many over the past several years have been asking Mr. Holy Roller for more of Him. The Shulamite in The Most Wonderful Song did this. “Draw me into your heart and lead me out. We will run away together–into your cloud-filled chamber (SoS 1:4 Passion).” She was asking for more and more of Him, for more and more of His goodness and supernatural passion.
We, the church, the Bride of Christ, have done this for years. Over the past ten years I’ve heard countless Christ Followers crying out for a more romantic encounter with Him. Just last night at church I heard the Lord ask us if we would be His bride. I saw a picture of Jesus on one knee proposing in front of the globe. He had a diamond ring in a simple black velvet case that He was presenting to us. We are Legendary Lovers with Jesus!
We are betrothed to the King of Kings! He’s heard our cry for more and He has gladly offered more of Himself. Again, the Shulamite experienced this in the next chapter of The Song. “Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling. Come along with me! I have come as you have asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out (SoS 2:10 Passion).”
The King is saying, “Yes! You have asked for more, and you can absolutely have more. Drink! Drink deeper and deeper and be intoxicated with Love!”
Guard Your Vineyard
I want to offer some encouragement about sustaining this supernatural atmosphere. Don’t confuse the word sustain with the word work. It is necessary, however, to steward His presence, something I’ve learned from Bill Johnson’s book Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda.
We must guard ourselves from letting anything or anyone into our vineyard that will erode the good work being done. Again, we’ll go to Song of Songs for an example. The Shulamite is feeling overwhelmed in SoS 1:6. The King has just told her how wonderful she is, but she’s looking at herself and at how dark she is and tries to explain. “My angry brothers quarreled with me and appointed me guardian of their ministry vineyards. Yet I’ve not guarded my vineyard within.”
We must not allow ministry work or anything else get in the way of our romance with the King of Kings. It is up to us to guard ourselves from those things that would take away our focus from Him. It’s time Christ Followers start learning how to say no sometimes. Doing the work of ministry is good, helping people is good, taking on responsibility at work is also good. However, if it’s something that’s going to take away your time with Him, it’s no longer good. You can’t be of service to anyone unless you’ve had time to get boozy with Jesus. You need to allow yourself time in the “house of wine” and time to be revived with His goblet of wine (SoS 2:4). Let yourself get completely and undoubtedly lovesick with Him (SoS2:4).
What Is The Vineyard?
There is a vineyard on the inside that is such a special, secret place. It’s a place no one else on earth has access to. My wife doesn’t have access to this secret vineyard, and we share everything! Marriage is a mirror of our relationship with Jesus and still my wife cannot access the secret place, the vineyard within me. This is because it’s meant for me and the King….only. Our vineyard within is the place we get to go and enjoy Mr. Delightful. It’s a forest of delight–a wooded area of Heavenly Pleasures where I get to enjoy God in the most righteous levels of Christian hedonism imaginable. It’s the place where Jesus offers me His cup and tells me to drink and be satisfied.I am undone there and go on ecstatical adventures in Him. I enter into His heart and find myself on the inside of the inside–I’m in the secret place and have been swallowed up by the Lover and am inside Him. I’m hidden in Love. See how no one else has access to that vineyard? You have a place just like that.
It’s not to say that you can’t give someone else or something else access to it. But why would you want to? If you let something into your vineyard, you’ll defile it.
The King tells the Shulamite in SoS 2:15 “You must catch the troubling foxes, those sly little foxes that hinder our relationship. For they raid our budding vineyard of love to ruin what I’ve planted within you. Will you catch them and remove them for me? We will do it together (Passion).”
It’s clear that the foxes are people and projects and “stuff” that get into our secret place and root around until the place is a disaster. I think, for many, this is work. We get so bogged down by work, even good work, and prostitute away our secret place that was meant for only a Bride and a Lover.
We let people in and little projects and hobbies. Anything that takes away time with our Heavenly Husband is a fox in our vineyard. This isn’t to say that you can’t work or have friends or take a spouse or have kids or enjoy hobbies. Yes! Enjoy life! But if you can’t seem to carve out time to wine bib with the Lover because of your busy life, how can you expect to be romanced and whisked away into the ecstasy of God?
Being whisked away into the ecstasy of God is our number one priority. This is stewarding His presence in our lives. If you’re not living from His presence, what are you living from? Last week’s stale message preached by a bored church leader? The five minute devotion you read while on the toilet before skipping off to work? The three verses the radio announcer read on your local Christian radio station?
If spending copious amounts of time with Jesus sounds boring or unattainable, perhaps you’ve allowed foxes into your vineyard.
There’s good news though! God says that He will help us remove them! “Will you catch them and remove them for me? We will do it together (SoS 2:15 Passion).”
Ask Jesus to help you pinpoint the foxes in your vineyard and remove them. How do you do that? You find them and then get rid of those distractions. I don’t encourage you to throw your spouse out the door. Just rearrange time. Maybe shut off the television, or stop volunteering for every extra project at work (those people aren’t impressed with your work ethic anyway-they’re using you), or stop “serving” in the church nursery or the youth group or in the prayer circle, which is really just a Christian gossip club anyway. All those things are fine, they’re okay. Do them. But don’t do them all. Steward your time with God, get in His presence, and guard your vineyard. If you do that, more good and more favor and blessing will fall down on you than you ever thought possible. People of Presence always have exciting lives.