Equipping Workers

X-CHANGED LIFE Workers

When we use the term “exchanged life worker,” We are addressing each and every indwelt Christian who has a desire to learn more about allowing the life of Christ to minister (or live) through their mortal being.

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Expectations Of Christ-as-Life Workers

By Stephen Phinney

 

When I use the term “exchanged life worker,” I am addressing each and every indwelt Christian who has a desire to learn more about allowing the life of Christ to minister (or live) through their mortal being.  (Join IFEL Membership)

 

“And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another” (Romans 15:14).

 

God gave us the ability, through the life of Christ within us, to admonish (to put in the mind) one another in order to assist our Groom in keeping each of His Bridal members on the same road.  The question begging to be asked is: What exactly are we to be putting into each other’s minds? That is the question this website will continuously address.

 

The commission to admonish one another does come with some restrictions and guidelines. For example:

 

“And not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6).

 

A worker who is brand new in faith should not be given spiritual responsibility for others.  The person who has not grown through obedience to the Word is not one who has been given the wisdom of competence to minister to others (Heb. 5:12-13).  Also keep in mind that an indwelt Christian who is aged as a believer, but has walked after their flesh most of their Christian journey, is still to be classified as “new in their faith.”  The reason for this is the wisdom of obedience has not settled into experience.  The workers we should consider candidates for overseeing another soul, first, need to be well-groomed in experiential knowledge of Truth.  The life of a worker is to be characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Does this mean that these workers must be “perfect” in function and order? Absolutely not!  It means that to be effective as an Exchanged Life worker, one must show a record of a consistent and lengthy ability to walk after the Spirit.  This person needs historical genuineness, authenticity, and evidence of the overflow of Christ flowing through him/her. This is where we get the idea of a dynamic view of ministry being an overflow of one life into another.  A life that is not full cannot function in overflow – walking by the Spirit in obedience to God’s Truth.  The evidence is seen in the believer’s response to Christ in him day-by-day to what the Holy Scriptures say and certainly, the ability to withstand reproofs of life that come from the hand of God.

 

After the many years of counseling and discipling God’s hurting souls, I have come to embrace one clear factor in determining a person’s measurement of grace in understanding the Exchanged Life.  How does the believer respond to the reproofs of life?  Is he willing to be involved in confessing, confronting, or forgiveness? Is he willing to do whatever is necessary for his own healing, in order to make his life more at rest and peace?  The seven “requirements” for victorious living* need to be evidenced in the qualified worker in order to step into a life of overflow. That way, the worker will not minister to others because he must, or because he has to.  He will, because he is compelled to manifest the overflowing Life of Christ into another. In our present era of the post-modern church (everything is pointless), most minster to others because they are paid to do so, or minimally, want something in return.  What Christ Jesus is hunting for is an urgency in the worker to minister because of what He said: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’ ” (John 7:38). This is the most desired description of an Exchanged Life worker.

 

The apostle Paul described a Christ as Life worker as “filled with knowledge.”  The type of knowledge that he is referencing here is not what he learned by the wisdom of men in the institutions of men, but rather from the mind of Christ (Phil 2:2). In our post-modern times, we lead people to Christ, require them to pay a minimum of $80,000 for a degree in ministry, negotiate a salary, and then commission them to work.  In the days of Jesus, He oftentimes would pick men of higher education, but then He would “dumb them down.”  Why?  So that He could fill them with the purity of the knowledge of the mind of Christ.  The Scripture quoted below is my life passage as an Exchanged Life worker. As an Exchanged Life worker – please take time to read my life ministry passage carefully.

 

 “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

 

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, ‘THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.’

 

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

 

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:1-14)

I consider the above passage to be the absolute key to all believers who have a desire to minister to others.  For the sake of illustration, I want to write a paraphrase depicting the post-modern version of ministry we are faced with today.

 

Post-Modern Incorrect View of 1 Corinthians 2:1-14

 

When I came to minister to my counselees, I did so in superiority of speech and wisdom, proclaiming to you what I learned in school.  For I am determined to know as much as I can from my studies; even how to add Jesus Christ and Him crucified to my method.  I counseled you in strength, confidence, and in much stability. And my message and counseling were in persuasive words and methods of wisdom I learned in school, not by an uneducated view of laymen.  And because of this, I implore you to grow in your faith; but trust your counseling process to me, since I am credentialed to help you psychologically. For I speak a wisdom among those who are mature and degrees to assist the hurting.  As for the wisdom of God, He uses the positions of the world to assist in His children’s recovery progress. (reverse theology) 

 

As for me, the good Lord revealed the root reasons for your troubles through a skill I learned as a qualified counselor.  I have learned to search out your social history and the very depths of your mind through the methods I have learned.  For how can I know your thoughts unless I ask the right questions and test you accordingly? Much like my walk with God, how can I know Him unless I memorize and study His Word? I have received degrees from the world and the Spirit of God, so that I can deliberate on the wisdom I gained in school and those taught by the Bible, combining my degrees of knowledge and Bible reflections. 

 

It sounds like I am down on information and education. Actually I am – at least when it comes to using it as a qualification to minister to others.  Shame on us for implanting a covert and hidden sense of the need of educating Jesus within us once we become born-again!  Nowhere in Scripture does God even hint at sending converts back into the world to be educated to counsel, teach, or preach to the souls of His hurting children – nowhere.  Why has the Church gone emergent or Laodicean?  It is a very short walk in the park for that answer.

 

“The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly. The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil”  (Ecclesiastes 12:10-14).

 

We are told that the totality of the world’s knowledge, at the time of Christ, doubled by about AD 1750.  It doubled again in 1900, again by 1950, again by 1960, and another by 1963.  I have been told that upon the introduction of the information age (internet), it is presently immeasurable as to how much knowledge humanity is exposed to daily.  What that means is knowledge has gone exponential (transcendentally immeasurable).  If our above passage is true, the more knowledge we take in, the sicker we and our society will become.  Every ounce of knowledge requires a pound of actions.

 

If a believer in Jesus Christ is to counsel/disciple, he must know the life of Christ from the inside out and he must be willing to grow in that Truth! This means he must know Christ not only in thought of Him as Savior and Lord, but also in experiential knowledge, embracing that it is His life in us that gives us the source of all wisdom, knowledge, and manifestations of the works of God.  It is only in the measure in which one knows God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as the Source of power and wisdom that points others in the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus Himself.

 

“For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20).

 

Since our goal is not to be degree-qualified, or accepted by the standards and words of man or their institutions, what must a believer do to have this power?

 

 “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you?” (Prov. 22:17-21).

 

First of all, a believer who has a desire to help others must accept the fact that unless a worker is born-again (having received Jesus Christ into one’s mortal body through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit), he has no ability or power to help others.  Anyone who helps outside this requirement is simply putting a Band-Aid on a victim who is bleeding to death.  There cannot be overflow unless one is filled.

 

Secondly, workers must not only know what the Bible says, but also be able to apply Truth to life situations.  While it is valuable and critically important to know the theology of the Word, it is even more critical to know the application of Scriptural Truth to daily living.  Jesus Himself demonstrated this on many occasions, lifting statements out of the Old Testament law and prophecy to explain His own actions or correct the wrong thinking of others.  Not only did He do a refined job of this during His walk on earth, He uses the same technique and methods in and through the believer, by making use of His overflowing Life and the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells each believer.  Jesus often referred to this process as the “key of knowledge.” He was quick to correct the educated theologians of His day for their ivory-tower schooled arrogance, which led them to “know the truth” by book, but not by heart.

 

 ” ‘Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering’ “ (Luke 11:52).

 

How much of the post-modern church suffers with that acute dilemma today?

 

 “Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).

Equipping Exchanged Life Workers  Copyright © 2013 IOM America. Permission to reproduce for educational purposes. Please keep author’s name intact.

 

All Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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