The following is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, RELEASE THE RIVER WITHIN YOU: Increasing The Anointing Flow. Follow this link to obtain your copy of RELEASE THE RIVER WITHIN YOU today.
And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were TO THE ANKLES. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were TO THE KNEES. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were TO THE LOINS. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. Ezekiel 47:3-4
Just as a river takes time to carve out the channel in which its waters flow, God’s preparation in our lives, a preparation which enables us to be used as a blessing to others, does not happen overnight. It takes time, and it comes in stages.
Ezekiel saw water rising in three stages. First it came up to the ankles; then it came up to the knees; and, finally, it came up to the loins. This progression speaks to us about the process of growth that takes place in those who have chosen to be used of God in His Kingdom.
I see a likeness in these stages of spiritual growth to the corresponding stages of physical and emotional maturity that we experience as we grow up: first infancy or “babyhood,” then childhood and, finally, maturity or “manhood.”
Jesus revealed this same process of three stages of maturity in the parable of the vine and the branches. He said:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:1-8
It is important to note that we should bear fruit from the very beginning of our Christian experience, and any branch that does not bear fruit is in danger of being eliminated: “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.” So every level of the Christian life is a level of fruitfulness, even the very first level, which corresponds to the infancy stage of our natural growth. We are born into the Kingdom to produce fruit for the Father’s glory.
But we are not meant to continue forever on the first level of productivity. God has greater things in store for us. Just as we would all be disappointed, and even alarmed, if our babies didn’t grow, God’s plan for our lives will be thwarted if we do not steadily grow into the stature He has envisioned for us.
And, precisely because He has greater fruitfulness in mind for us, God must begin in each of us a process of purging or pruning: “every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” This process of pruning does not represent a punishment, as some imagine. God isn’t angry with us when we experience His purging. He is not trying to rob us of our joy. To the contrary: God is trying to prepare us for the greater things that are in store for us.
God cannot be satisfied that we simply bear some “fruit.” He wants us to go on to greater fruitfulness, to bearing “more fruit.” It is with this holy desire in mind that He applies His loving discipline to our lives. Every branch must be pruned, and the intended purpose is that it bear even “more fruit.” Don’t resist this process. It is for your benefit. It will make you a better man or woman in God. It will cause you to be more productive and lead you to the second stage of opportunity for faithfulness in the Lord.
But God is not even satisfied when we bear “more fruit,” and we must not be satisfied either. He cannot be satisfied, for He knows our true potential. He has destined us to bear “much fruit,” and nothing less can be satisfactory. We are to move from the initial stages of bearing “fruit” to bearing “more fruit,” to bearing “much fruit.” This is God’s will for every believer, and it should become our goal, as well.
Such a goal can only be accomplished as we learn to allow the anointing of God’s Spirit to move in us and through us, to deepen and widen the channels and to constantly increase its movement, until it becomes a raging torrent within, a river of life, flowing out to all.
What you just read is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, RELEASE THE RIVER WITHIN YOU: Increasing The Anointing Flow. Follow this link to obtain your copy of RELEASE THE RIVER WITHIN YOU today.