Balancing the Word and Spirit for Effective Ministry
Balancing Word and Spirit for an Effective Ministry
by Jasmin Michelle Smith
When Jesus came down to Earth to dwell among us, He was both the Word and the Spirit wrapped in flesh (John 1:14; John 4:24). As Apostolic Pentecostals, we should understand that just as Jesus cannot be separated from the Word and the Spirit; the two can not and should not be separated in any context, for without one the other is not truly complete. Neither can there be truth found separate from the Word, for God is truth and He is the Word. If we understand this, then it becomes clear that there is no other way to truly serve God in any ministry without both the Word and the Spirit.
The point of ministry is to fulfill the great commission; to reach lost souls in some way. For example: the true goal of cleaning the bathrooms is to make visitors feel comfortable and show a respect for the physical building of the church, feeding the homeless allows us to shine the love and light of Christ into the lives of those who have fallen on hard times, intercessory prayer bridges the gap for those in need who may or may not be able to pray on their own behalf, and preaching the word of God causes those who hear it to be either encouraged, convicted, or challenged and ultimately draws them closer to God. Even the ministry of the Old Testament prophets can be boiled down to calling people to repent and obey God, while proclaiming the Gospel. Despite the fact that the Holy Ghost had not yet been poured out, they were in tune with God’s spirit through consistent daily prayer and were intimately involved with the Word.
“Truth has power within itself. Nothing needs to be added to truth in order to set men and women free, change people’s lives, or bring hope to any situation. It need only to be clearly communicated for this power to be released into human lives. […] After all, truth is not a collection of dry, arcane facts. The truth is a person who clearly proclaimed, ‘I am the Truth.'”
– from “We Preach” by Jerry Jones
The Word is Truth. No matter the ministry we have been called to or positioned in, our number one priority needs to be sharing the Truth with those we come into contact with. If we do not know the Word intimately, for ourselves, how then will we be able to share it with others? If we are only sharing our own opinions with people, rather than the Truth of the Word, then our words will have no power to transform lives or give real hope. It is only the truths of the eternal Word that command a life changing response from those that hear it.
When we maintain a consistent and intimate prayer life and walk with Christ, we are in tune with the Spirit inside of us. In order to allow the Spirit to lead us, rather than the desires of our flesh, we must also disciple ourselves with fasting. When we are able to do humble ourselves in both prayer and fasting willingly, we will begin to truly be moved by the Spirit. It will order our steps and motivate our mouths to speak whatever God’s desire is for us to speak at a particular moment. The Bible tells us in Luke 12:12, that when questioned by those who do not believe or understand our belief that “the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” If we do not nurture the Spirit, through consistent prayer and fasting, we may not be prepared to heed to it at the necessary times.
To effectively fulfill the role in ministry that God has given us, we must strive to achieve this balance between the power of the Word, and the authority of Spirit. According to Jerry Jones, we must “learn to recognize the moving of the Spirit and move in that flow,” while also having the knowledge and understanding of the Word in order to speak it in full authority and power. Although God can and does use nature itself to speak of His greatness, we were made to do more than rocks and trees. We are all called to minister in some way, in order to spread the Gospel for the advancement of the Kingdom. We must not take it for granted. We must do our part to draw closer to God; nurturing the Spirit with the Word, with prayer, and with fasting.