I believe we can all agree that 2020 was one for the record books. Many people are exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, and simply confused with all the chaos that surrounded this unique year. Going into 2020 many people had high expectations, and if we are honest with ourselves, no one recognized the magnitude of the challenges that we would endure. From social distancing, lockdowns, washing our hands, face masks, virtual meetings, virtual school, loss of employment, no indoor dining, no holiday gatherings, no parties, no hospital visitations, no funeral services, and sadly... having to say goodbye to the ones who crossed over into eternity.
Without a doubt, it was a very troubling year. However, the year wasn't a complete waste. Babies were born, families were reunited, marriages took place, homes were sold and bought, students graduated high school and college, people started new jobs, supernatural healings occurred, salvations took place, the baptism of Holy Spirit was received, many people were baptized in water, books were published, podcasts were launched, birthdays were celebrated, and much more.
Not all of 2020 was the nightmare that our minds will try and convince us it was. Nevertheless, like any year before, all years must come to an end and roll over into a new one. As we have begun the new year, we are still facing the sphere of COVID-19. We still have to deal with face masks, social distancing, lockdowns (specific locations), the possibility of virtual school and meetings, vaccines, and much more.
Peacekeepers vs Peacemakers
Currently, there has been a growing divide taking place within the Body of Christ. From the pandemic to the election, this division has been gaining more and more momentum. There is an ever growing call to be a peacekeeper, rather than a peacemaker. The peacekeepers are willing to give in and give up whatever the mob mentality demands. They do so in order to keep a popular opinion of peace. (Photo via Pixabay)
Peacekeepers want to remain neutral at any cost, never appearing to be controversial. Whereas we all need to understand that peacemaking is not the absence of conflict. Peace (according to the Bible) should never be confused with pacifism, and/or the avoidance of strife. As Christians, we are never instructed to run from conflict (even in turning the other cheek). Peacemakers don't put their heads in the sand, hoping that the conflict will end because of their silence. This modern idea of peace at any price is no where near any biblical command. Any leader in the Church today who is willing to skim over problems in order to act like everything is alright, when it is not, is not a peacemaker. So, what are we to do?
A Year to Trim the Wick
Recently I did a podcast interview for a good friend of mine who asked me what I was hearing the Lord say concerning the new year. My response, "I genuinely believe that 2021 is a year to trim the wick."
Matthew 25:7 says it this way: "Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order [trimmed the wicks and added oil and lit them]."
When we look at every event that is taking place, we are very quick to point out that it is ripe for a spiritual harvest. Many are talking about how these events are truly shaping up to a great end time harvest and/or a third great awakening. Honestly, I tend to agree. When we see great darkness around us, we know we'll see a great outpouring of His glory (Isa 60:2).
There is a greater purpose. We know that the Lord will separate the wheat from the chaff. We know that the Lord will protect the lambs from the wolves. We also know that the darkness can never consume the light, whereas light always overcomes the darkness. I look back at the recent few years and see a steady and rising trend of wickedness, darkness, manipulation, greed, lust, envy, jealousy, and demonic strongholds.
All of these things are pointing to a potential and sincere move of God across the nations of the earth. However, God will not simply move because sin is abounding. God will move because of those who are in covenant with Him, and their willingness to make preparations for His glory. With that said, I do believe that we will continue to see the increase of darkness. It will get a lot worse before it gets better. Don't give up and don't give in. God isn't shaking on His throne because darkness is increasing. There will be a remnant who trim their wicks and add oil to their lamps.
2021 is going to be a year in which your wick must be trimmed. In order for your lamp to shine at its brightest (spiritually speaking) it must consist of oil and a clean (pure) wick. The wick is what makes the light possible to be seen, yet it is useless without oil. Here is a key to remember: for a wick to burn effectively, it must be thoroughly soaked in oil. Why is this important to remember? It's actually the oil that burns, not the wick. Nevertheless, without a wick the oil would ignite and be consumed quickly. Think of lighting a dry wick. You will get a burn that produces smoke with very little to no flame. The wick without the oil never achieves its full potential.
As a wick burns, it collects debris along the top, which is the charred, dead edge. When your wick has debris, it can be a type and shadow of a familiarity that produces complacency in your life. You know enough of the Word to get by. You quote Scripture for common situations and, spiritually, you begin to take His Word for granted. There's no new growth, your knowledge becomes stale and you're not growing up spiritually. Your flame burns smoke, but because it has what looks like the correct outward appearance, the reality is that no one but you can recognize it. Discernment is now compromised to a point where deception is welcomed in. (Photo via Snappy Goat)
We Must Burn Brighter!
There are many in the Body of Christ who must learn to trim their wicks in order to burn brighter than before. We have settled for a tiny flame while complaining about the invasive darkness. We have been waiting on the invitation for influence, while missing our opportunity to invade and overthrow the darkness.
2021 will be a year for you to trim your wick so that the light of Christ within you shines greater than before. It will take discipline. It will take the willingness to be sanctified more than before. It will also take some forms of separation. If the world cannot detect your covenant relationship with the Father, why would the world want to be transformed into the image of Christ? After all, the world has been doing a better job of transformation.
Often we fail to shine His light in everyday moments simply because we fail to burn. When we determine to be purposeful in shining His light, it is the acknowledgment of the illumination of Christ that comes from the kindled wick. However, it is impossible to shine unless it (you) first burns. We must never forget that. If you are willing to shine, it's only because you are first committed to burn.
Too many of us want to shine, but are unwilling to be dedicated to the work in preparing to pay the cost that must be faced in order to illuminate. The wick wastes away, inch by inch, as it gives light to the darkness, but never without the burning of the oil within the lamp.
Lastly, when a wick is trimmed to a sharp central point, it will burn at its best potential. The shape seems to create the best flame, giving the purest light. Think on this for a moment. Now think of how the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. The Ekklesia must continually stay honed in on the Word at all times.
We have to continually keep the edges clean, ensuring that we haven't collected things that are incorrect, that don't belong, that compromise the flame. The darkness isn't our "doom and gloom," rather, it's our invitation to trim the wick that we may shine the light brighter than before.
Though the world is in turmoil, the Kingdom is being equipped and advanced. The harvest is indeed ready, but the laborers are few. God is willing to prune you. Are you ready to trim the wick and add the oil? Prepare the lamps!
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Ryan Johnson Ministries
Ryan Johnson¬†is dedicated in helping equip the Body of Christ to awaken the nations with a prophetic call of a rising Ekklesia. He is a son of God, husband and father of four. Ryan has devoted his life to the righteousness of Christ, with the demonstration of the Father's heart in regions, individuals and the Church across the world. Ryan has been serving the Lord since November 30, 1997, which has allowed him to serve as a pastor, an associate pastor and a student pastor. Ryan is the author of Illegitimacy and¬†How to Contend for Your Miracle¬†(Destiny Image Publishers). He has had many articles released through Charisma Magazine, Charisma News, The Elijah List and Spirit Fuel, and has appeared as a guest on Sid Roth's It's Supernatural.
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