by Jim Easterly

(Editor’s note: This article was written by Jim Easterly and edited by Bro. Thomas who very much agreed with the thoughts presented here.)

“And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” Heb. 5:4.

The realm in which we operate here in the earth requires that we occupy positions of relative importance. Like it or not, there must be leaders and there must be many others who follow.

Rank and file members of the body of Christ do not exert the influence over the body as a whole that leaders exert. Because of this unchangeable fact, men who occupy positions of leadership carry a much heavier weight of responsibility. However, every member of Christ’s body is important to the whole. We are not complete apart from our brother even though he is weak in the faith or even feeble minded.

Ahab, king in Israel, was disastrously influenced by his wife. I Kings 16:33 makes note of God being provoked more by Ahab than by all the kings of Israel before him. Because of his position of authority, his actions were not limited to affecting only himself or his family. He influenced the spiritual leaders and almost everyone else in Israel. Prophets spoke what Ahab wanted to hear. It became so rare for a prophet to speak unpopular truth that those who dared to do so were either imprisoned or had to flee for their lives, Micaiah and Elijah being good examples.

This principle is still true today where anointed truth is being expressed. The antichrist spirit has always opposed truth and will increase his opposition to such ministries as this age draws to a close.

Men in the body of Christ today who fill positions as elders and deacons carry an awesome responsibility. Any individual who participates in any capacity in body ministry shares this responsibility.

Satan, ever eager to gain any foothold, zeroes in on those who take part in the services in any capacity when God’s people are gathered together. These assemblies, these services are vitally important to the spiritual well-being of God’s people, vitally important to the nourishment of spiritual life in Christians.

Because of the importance of the services, Satan exerts vast energy to affect those who participate in these meetings. This is why it is necessary for such services to be monitored. Without members with discernment and wisdom to recognize and try the spirits of those who minister, Satan will soon invade the group and take it over.

In most instances, Satan is far too clever to inspire a minister of the word to give out strange doctrines or ideas far removed from teaching held true by the body of Christ. With a measure of judgment and discernment working, this type of satanic strategy would not get far. Such teaching would be recognized by the body of Christ and rejected prior to its being allowed to work and bring about very much damage.

It is impossible to have such services apart from subjection and unity. This is why most of the church world has resorted to the one-man pastor concept. Unity is a must if the Lord is to honor us with his presence.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. II Cor. 3:17. At times liberty and the presence of the precious Spirit of our Lord are so prevalent that the anointing has a notably freer outpouring than at other times. When true spiritual liberty abounds, it is then easy to flow with God’s Spirit. At such times, the gospel has free course to touch lives, broken hearts are healed, captives are set free, chains of bondage are broken, even physical healing is not uncommon during such a service.

At these times wave after wave of joy and peace seem to flow over the congregation. Response is visible as emotions often overflow. Praise and thanksgiving go forth from lips of clay in a spontaneous outpouring in response to the presence of the Lord.

It is this glorious presence in the body that convinces men that the Father did indeed send his Son into the world. This is also why Jesus prayed that we might be made perfect in one. John 17:20-21.

Satan ever seeks to prevent such services from coming about. With a slight binding on one person, a little restriction on another, a lack of liberty in another he can (and often does) affect the spiritual atmosphere of a church service. By narrowing his attack to those who participate in the services, Satan can realize the most success for the effort he exerts.

Any person who sings, testifies or in any way participates in ministry needs an understanding of these truths.

Narrowing the main thrust of our burden even further, men who occupy the top positions of leadership in local assemblies are special targets of the enemy. Every elder, every deacon, and in addition, any person responsible for any facet of ministry among God’s people, need the liberty that can only come from putting God above everything else in their lives.

Again, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. This type of liberty enables the anointing to operate. Under these conditions, the burden of the Lord can be delivered. The life of God can be ministered to the people, needs can be met that the speaker may have no knowledge of even existing.

Only in this way can a human being who has limited knowledge and who has only a measure of the Spirit minister the infinite wisdom of God to the body of Christ. Christ will indeed be in the midst and the body as a whole will begin to function and manifest his life. Not only will there be deliverances in the day to day lives of God’s people but the path of the just will begin to visibly be as a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4:18.

God will be, more clearly than ever, revealed as the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus Christ will be manifest among us in an ever-increasing way as revelation has freer course, as glory is rendered unto him to whom it is due and as our persons and personalities dim and fade as Christ Jesus is lifted up.

The body of Christ has abundant truth and light to teach us everything we need to know. If the Corinthian church came behind in no gift and we are complete in him, let us not despair. I Cor. 1:5-7, Col. 2:8-10.

May God grant us grace to walk in the light even as he is in the light. John 1:7. This is why it is so important that those who watch for our souls, unto whom double honor is due, ever seek to put aside self and allow the anointing to have free course.

Never should the pulpit be used to make mention of our side of a dispute or argument that has arisen between ourselves and another brother or sister. Human anger, human ambition and bitterness in any form coming from the pulpit will minister the same to the listeners.

We must exert every effort to be free, truly free, before we stand among God’s people in a “Thus saith the Lord” capacity. Prayerful examination of our thoughts, lest they be motivated or inspired by events which have crossed our path, is necessary.

When self or human sentiment takes control of the pulpit the dove of God’s Spirit takes his flight. Helping God’s people can only be accomplished by the pure anointing of God himself by the Spirit. Seldom will that which is of real spiritual value to God’s people contain very much of our knowledge or our prejudices.

God uses lips of clay, but it is amazing how little of the vessel is manifest when God is flowing, when Jesus Christ is being exalted by the anointing. Therefore, let us as much as possible stay upon our God. Let us earnestly seek to please him and only him in our ministry.

May the words of Micaiah ever be remembered and uttered from the innermost being of any person standing in Christ’s stead: “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.” I Kings 22:14.

Let us be ever mindful of the judgment and discernment that God has placed in the body. Let us not become complacent as the prophets once did in Israel when it was said, “The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? None evil can come upon us.” Micah 3:11.

Beloved, any motivation or any inspiration other than the anointing of the Lord results in this condition eventually becoming prevalent if not checked. Let us search our hearts, let us be quick to hear and slow to speak. Let us acknowledge and desire the judgment of our brethren. Those who, for any reason, escape this discernment and judgment sink ever deeper into a bottomless pit. May the desire of our hearts truly be as Paul’s was when he said, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” I Cor. 2:2.

Let everyone that ministers in any capacity lay to heart and ever be mindful of Paul’s words, “But it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” I Cor. 2:9.

The only source of that which can help God’s people comes from beyond man, yea it must come from the Lord himself.

Return to Library of Articles