Recently, I was reflecting on the impact of our ministry compared to the impact of other ministries. Like everyone else in a ministry context, I want to have a bigger impact than I am having. However, I don’t want to have it by compromising, and yet as I pursue truth, I keep getting farther away from the mainstream positions that allow you to have a large following. And as I was sort of putting this thought before God and reflecting on those who were on the margins in terms of their beliefs and yet amazingly effective in long term impact for God, I felt like He said “They were in the inner court” (a metaphor from the Old Testament Tabernacle). And I saw suddenly that being in the inner court was no small thing. It wasn’t something that you just give a Charismatic teaching on, get filled with the Spirit and arrive. That being in the inner court had to do with true intimacy with God. Nothing that a doctrine can replace. All the teaching in the world won’t put you in the inner court. This revelation I’m about to give you won’t put you in the inner court. The only thing that will get you there, is being totally remade by God. And all of this made sense to me because I have seen how the more our ministry gets aligned with God, the more He just does things kind of on His own. He creates a kind of gravity to what we are doing, that without him we just don’t have.
Later that night as I was talking with Joel, I felt like God added to it something like “and I’m inviting you to the inner court.” Which in context was a staggering thought. And I saw that in the outer court there were a huge multitude of people. Like 99% of all of Christianity was there. And they were wandering around talking to each other, maybe like a huge crowd before a major event. But there was a lot of confusion. Everyone had their theory on how to get to the Inner Court. Some theories were pretty good, and others were completely wrong. People would talk to each other a bit, and then wander around a bit more looking for the inner court, but most would never find it. The crowd was so vast, that the crowd itself was like a maze. You couldn’t just walk out. And if you only followed the directions of others, you couldn’t get out either, because you never really knew who was right. So the only way out of this maze was to hear God himself and start moving in the direction He was showing.
And then God showed me that this was why recently our team has started to have a kind of shared experience when we meet with other Christians. I feel like I deeply relate to and understand where the person is, but it seems very far away at the same time. Someone tells me “I don’t know if God loves me” and I know exactly what that is and how it feels because I’ve been exactly there, but at the same time it’s very strange to me. Like meeting someone from a different culture. I don’t have an experience like I’m looking down at them, but more like I’m just completely not there. I understand these things, but they are foreign. And God was showing me that this experience was coming because as a team, we were starting to break away from the crowd, and get within sight of the inner court. And that we can help guide others in that direction, but that even with guidance, for the eager and willing, it can and will take many years of wrestling and changing to come close to that point. We’re really just able to offer breadcrumbs. Nobody can get you there except you responding to God.
Joel then began to share the deep cry of his heart for relationship with God, and it was truly profound. If you know Joel, you know that he is the guy who you would say more than anyone has the relationship with God that you wish you had. Yet, he’s still seeing something that he doesn’t quite have. And I saw how the place of the inner court was a place of pure relationship, one that could only be had by keeping your heart pure and open enough to really see God move in and through you. A level of purity you will not see or experience over night, but that has to be cultivated over years of dealing with layers of sin. And that one of the true marks of the inner court kind of relationship is when you come to the place where all you care about is the relationship. All you care about is the intimacy.
And that’s not in a self-centered or withdrawn from the world kind of a way, but it’s alive because you can’t be in real relationship with God and not feel His burning heart to touch this world and bring people to know Him. So it’s an intimacy that is developed from walking with Him. When we think walk, we think of this self-centered stuff, but remember the disciples who actually did “walk” with Him developed their intimacy through ministering together with Him, not meditation. And so if Jesus is the perfect model of that you see that He did everything together with the Father. He had deep private moments, but there was also a profound intimacy of doing everything together with His dad.
But anyway, in this kind of intimacy, ministry is and relationship fuse together. You don’t go do ministry. You go do things with God, your friend, who you know and relate to all the time. It’s normal for the super-normal to happen because God is God. He’s naturally supernatural. And then God showed me that this was this is what it was like to minister from “behind the veil.” When the people saw Moses he was glowing and they were amazed and wanted Him to put on a veil. Yet, that’s not what Moses saw. He didn’t see any glow or anything strange. The only thing he saw was the veil of separation between where he was and where the people were. When you are behind the veil, the supernatural is just as normal breathing. It’s not particularly amazing or remarkable. You’re hanging out with the creator so of course there are angels, lightning, amber lights, spontaneous healings and most of all impact to the world around you. Until you have that kind of intimacy with God, you’re not in the inner court. Remember only the priests could enter the inner court. And what a priest was was God’s representative on earth. Until you have a oneness with God operating in your life, you can’t really minister in the inner court.
And God showed me something very interesting: the inner court has different “tools” in it. In the outer court, all you had to work with was the bowl for washing and altar for sacrificing. That’s your only ministry tools. Basically stuff for dealing with sin. You can stay forgiven from sin and you can minister it to others. However, in the inner court, there are some really fascinating items. There is a lampstand, a rod that budded, some showbread, and some incense. These are much different tools with very different purposes. And I saw how the power of coming from the inner court was because you have access to the much more impactful tools. The lampstand is a light which shines before men and draws them in. The rod that buds is fruit that grows out of that which is dead, etc. (I’d have to do a study to really understand all of this stuff). But craving the impact of these tools will never get you inside the inner court. Only becoming so united with God that you feel at one with Him will take you there.