“I give myself away,” those were the words that I sang from the bottom of my heart when God first called me into ministry thirteen years ago. That sweet, but powerful song, by William McDowell, caused something to rise up within me. And I realized that if I truly wanted to be usable for God’s glory, I would need to give up my own selfish desires to do His will.
I would need to surrender my own plans, and the desires of my flesh, to do all God was calling me to do. My hearts greatest desire was to be, and continues to be, totally surrendered to His will and not my own.
We also sing this powerful song in the jails and prisons. These men and women are also beginning to understand the great need to be set apart—to truly repent and completely turn away from the very appearance of sin. They are seeing God move in power. And, the idea that God can, and wants, to use them in powerful ways inspires them.
When inmates come into a church service where the power of God is present and moving, something changes in them. They begin to desire more of God. And not just inmates, but almost all who truly experience God’s power and a genuine touch of the Holy Spirit, will begin to desire more of Him.
The men and women I minister to in jails and prisons are experiencing physical healing, salvation, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Some of them are falling under the power of the Holy Spirit. (slain in the Spirit)
And they know that what they are experiencing is real and genuine. They know it is 100% God, and not me. I’m not pushing them down, or shoving them to the floor. In fact many times I’m not even touching them. It’s the undeniable power of the Holy Spirit alone. I’m simply a conduit of His power.
But, I have seen a trend in a lot of pastors—some in my own denomination—that has been very disturbing. Many pastors are surrendering to the influence of the world. Just this week alone, I saw a group of pastors arguing about whether or not it’s okay to drink alcohol.
I couldn’t get over the number of pastors who were insisting there is nothing wrong with drinking socially. They began to refer to those of us who abstain as legalistic. Their argument quickly turned to the sin of gluttony. That weak comparison seems to always rear its ugly head, and it infuriates me. Yes, we know gluttony is a sin.
But, I’ve seen and heard of many innocent people killed by drunk drivers. To this day, I’ve never heard of one innocent person killed by someone who has had too many cheeseburgers.
I realize some people consider drinking to be a gray area. Having been delivered from alcohol myself, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that consuming alcohol would be a sin for me. Honestly, I never did one single thing to glorify God while under the influence of alcohol nor have I witnessed anyone else who was drinking.
But, even if I had never even tasted alcohol, I wouldn’t want to do anything that even had the remote possibility of making me unusable for God’s glory. I have given myself away to Him for His purposes. If there are any gray areas, I choose to err on the side of caution.
Why? Because more than anything else, I desire to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. I long to see souls saved, and I will do whatever it takes to be completely submitted to God’s plans. I do not want anything to hinder what God wants to do through me.
And, if I can’t surrender something as trivial as a social drink, what else am I unwilling to surrender?
You see, I’m not special. I have no power of my own. That is obvious. I have no special talents, nor am I an eloquent, theological speaker. But, I know what the power of God looks like on a life. I know what it feels like! I know that He can empower those who truly desire, more than anything else, to be usable for His glory.
Therefore, I don’t want to do anything to grieve the Holy Spirit. He is my best friend. I don't dare offend Him. I love Him! I would be totally useless without His power. He leads me, teaches me, comforts me, empowers me, and corrects me—quite often.
So my question to you is simply this, “What kind of power do you want to walk in?” We don’t like to talk about holiness much anymore. A lot of people have tried to pass holiness off as legalism. And, I know there are some legalistic things out there to avoid. But, I also know there is a huge deficit of holiness today.
When did we stop doing everything we could to please God, and start looking at everything we could “get away with,” and still be a Christian? God hasn’t changed, we have! If we want to see a genuine move of the Holy Spirit, God’s going to need some genuine Christians to work with.
What kind of power do you want to walk in? What are you willing to give away so that you can be usable to Him? There are some things that might not even be considered sinful that God wants you to walk away from. It’s about being totally surrendered to His desires and not your own.
Instead of looking at what we can “get away with,” we must start looking at what we can “get rid of,” in order to look more like Jesus. So, if you want to have a ministry that is alive with the power of the Holy Spirit, what are you willing to surrender?
I firmly believe there is a direct correlation to the amount of holiness we strive for and the amount of power we walk in. I’ve had to walk away from a lot of things to experience His power working through me. But, I long to surrender even more, so that I can obtain more of His power!
I want to be a good steward of His presence so others can feel His power and expect something from God. I want others to be uplifted and encouraged to do more for God as well. We are in the last of the last days and there are so many lost people in the world headed for a devil’s hell. We must be powered up to reach them and lead them to Jesus.
I speak this to you with as much love as I possibly can. We live in an hour where people need to see that God truly is Who He says He is, and that He still moves in power today. People need to know there is hope, and they need to know they too can walk in power.
Who will heed the call to be set apart? Who will desire holiness more than worldliness? Who will give themselves away to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit?
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
2 Thessalonians 1:11
To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will consider you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power
Click here to find out: What God's doing in prison
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.