SPIRIT AND THE WORD
Matt. 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
It’s funny how some things can have a long lasting, life changing impact on our lives. Years ago, in the very beginning of my ministry, Dick Mills told me about the importance of having a ministry characterized by the Word and the Spirit. I even remember him saying that John Calvin had been the one who preached the importance of the Word and the Spirit in our lives and ministries. Brother Mills didn’t just tell me about the importance of this balance in ministry, he displayed in his actions. Brother Mills loved to study the Word of God. He had an insatiable appetite for the Word and spent as much time as possible devouring Bible translations, commentaries, and word study books. Before I had really embraced the importance of study, he would often send me study books to help point me in the right direction. When Dick was in town, off we would go to the Bible book store and he would always buy me a commentary, a Bible translation, or a word study book.
In his services Brother Mills displayed the importance of the gifts of the Spirit. He would allow the Lord to use him through prophesy, words of knowledge, and words of wisdom. His services were far beyond just preaching and teaching, there was always a time for the Holy Spirit to minister through His gifts.
Recently I came across this quote of John Calvin as he shared the importance of the Word and the Spirit in a believer’s life.
“It is his will to govern men by his word: but as the bare voice, if the inward power of the Spirit be not added, does not pierce the hearts of men, both must be joined together, in order that the kingdom of God may be established. We therefore pray that God would exert his power, both by the Word and by the Spirit, that the whole world may willingly submit to him. The kingdom of God is opposed to all disorder and confusion for good order is nowhere found in the world, except when he regulates by his hand the schemes and dispositions of men. Hence we conclude, that the commencement of the reign of God in us is the destruction of the old man, and the denial of ourselves, that we may be renewed to another life.”
As Calvin brings out, this two fold emphasis is not just for the ministers of the gospel but is necessary in the life of every Christian. He shows that the Lord wants to display His kingdom in the life of the Christian but is often hindered by the carnality in their life. He goes on to say that the Lord is able to change us by the combined power of the Word and the Spirit. If you are facing challenges living a consistent Christian life, take the advice that I received as a young pastor, “you need both the authority of God’s Word and the power of the Spirit in your life”.