“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).
As a teenager, I had doubts about God and I started looking into other religions. At that time I found the Baha’i faith appealing because it basically says that all religions are true and all roads of faith lead to heaven. But then I read the great Christian author C.S. Lewis who corrected my loosey-goosey thinking. He wrote that all of Christianity rests on one question: Was there a resurrection or not?
If we cannot answer yes to this, then it doesn’t matter whether there was a literal Noah’s ark or a six-day creation period or an actual Garden of Eden. If Christ’s resurrection didn’t take place, none of those things matter at all. But if there was a resurrection, then everything else became possible: Lazarus could be raised from the dead, people could be healed, sins could be removed, heaven could be a reality. That is resurrection power—and it gives us something Paul calls our blessed hope—“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
The more I read as a teenager, the more I came to a firm belief about the witnesses who saw Jesus after His resurrection: “Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6). I began to see the resurrection as not just an additional event, but the culmination and consummation of the work of Jesus’ death for us. And the blessed hope that was planted in me became a source of life each day.
If we don’t claim Jesus’ resurrection power in our everyday life, we won’t experience what His resurrection won for us.
The unique will of God has led me into many places throughout my life, and it has been an incredible journey. However, we must learn to do the first things first. Come back to your first love if you need to; open the Word of God and begin to read it. Don’t live in an illusion that one day this mystical will of God will fall into your lap while you are choosing to ignore the revealed will of God.
Scripture says, “This is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). The revealed will of God is this—doing good; speaking the truth; caring in an uncaring time; praying when nobody else prays; studying when everyone else is writing off the Word of God; speaking the name of Jesus when everyone else wants to curse His name. This is where character is formed! You have to win battles in secret before you can win them in public. Remember, you will not become a super evangelist who loves everybody if you have not learned to love people in private. That is how it works. So do not worry so much about finding the unique will of God for your life; it will come to you. Concern yourself today with the revealed will of God, and the unique will of God will surely follow.
Paul said in the book of Ephesians that we “should do the will of God from our hearts” (6:6). I encourage you to ask God for the will to do His will. Come to Him and say, “Lord, open my heart to what You have for my life. Don’t let me consider anything as too small or undignified. Help me to be the one who sees a piece of paper on the floor and picks it up. Help me to be kind, truthful, and faithful; a builder rather than a destroyer. Help me to be the one who will promote unity in the midst of a divided society. Yet, let me also be willing to take a stand for truth when everyone else is content to deal with lies. Lord, give me the courage to follow You fully.”
As you trust God for the will to do His will, I believe Jesus will be revealed to You in a way that you have never known Him. You will be absolutely amazed at where God is going to take you and what He will do through your life.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.
Consider these promises God has made to us and see if your response to them is “Yea and Amen”:
1. The Lord has established you, sealed you, filled you and anointed you with His Holy Spirit. “He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21–22).
You can’t walk in the Spirit until you believe you’re filled with the Spirit. And the truth is, the Holy Ghost is with us at all times, even when we have done wrong. In fact, we need Him as much when we have done wrong as when we’re doing right.
2. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would “abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth. . . . He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:16–17, 26). In short, the Spirit fills our minds with truth and guides us by that truth. So, have you committed a divine “yes” to this promise? Are you able to say, “Amen, Lord, let it be so in my life”?
3. Jesus promised that the Spirit would be the inner voice to guide us, to glorify Christ in us, and to show us things to come. “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth . . . and he will shew you things to come” (16:13). Are you still wavering as to whether such a great promise could be true? Does it seem just too good that the Spirit wants to direct you in every step of your life? Or can you say, “Yes, Lord, let it be so”?
4. God has promised to provide you with direction for all your ways. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6). Have you accepted His direction for your comings and goings—literally every step of your week, your day, this moment? Have you fully committed to this kind of walk? Is it yes and amen to you?
I asked the Lord to open up to me the meaning of Paul’s phrase, “Let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). As I approached this subject, I prayed, “Lord, make it all clear and understandable to me.” Here is how I believe the Spirit answered me: the golden key to understanding our walk in the Spirit is not complicated. It requires no theological training. In fact, it’s so simple that most of us can’t see it. Yet, if we’re able to grasp this one truth, we can enter into a life that’s free of distress, full of assured direction, and marked by perfect rest. The Spirit impressed on me these three simple words: “Just say yes!”
JUST SAY YES!
As soon as this phrase flashed into my consciousness, I replied, “Lord, that truly is simple. But what does it mean?”
It all goes back to a verse that Paul wrote to the Galatians. The apostle boldly stated, “All the promises of God in him are yea [yes], and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians1:20). According to Paul, walking in the Spirit begins when we give a confident, intractable “divine yes” to all of God’s promises. It means having the unwavering confidence that the Lord will keep every promise in His Book. It is saying, “Father, I have read Your promises, and I say yes to all of them. I believe Your word to me.”
Consider James’ admonition: “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (James 1:6–7).
Now we know what a “divine yes” is. So, what does Paul mean by the “Amen” in the same verse? The word itself means, literally, “So be it. You can trust it.” In the context of the passage, “Amen” means saying, “I believe Your word to me, Lord. So be it in my life.”
“Whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord” (Numbers 9:22–23).
The cloud that guided the children of Israel through the wilderness was eventually lifted up to heaven. But another cloud descended from heaven centuries later, at the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The Holy Ghost—the same Spirit who had hovered over the wilderness tabernacle—came down and hovered over 120 worshipers who had gathered in the Upper Room after Jesus’ death. This cloud came farther down, into the very room where the people sat, and it dwelled upon the people’s heads as cloven tongues of fire.
The Greek word for cloven means “thoroughly distributed.” In short, this cloud of fire had split up and sat on each person in the Upper Room. Then the flames possessed the people’s bodies.
At that point, Jesus’ followers were “in the Spirit,” with the Holy Ghost living in them. Yet it is one thing to have the Spirit abiding in you, and something else entirely to live in total submission to the Spirit. You can be filled with the Holy Ghost, but that doesn’t mean you’re walking in obedience to His leading and allowing yourself to be governed by Him.
We who love Jesus today also have a cloud to follow. We may be filled with the Holy Spirit—praying and singing in the Spirit, or experiencing manifestations of the Spirit—but we still have to commit to taking orders from Him. If we don’t wait for His direction in all things, we simply aren’t walking in the Spirit. Paul’s instruction makes this distinction clear: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).