In this time of preparation, we will be set apart to be instructed by the Holy Spirit, and for each person, the preparation may be different.
For me, one of the things God had to remove was influences so I could hear Him clearly. Influences are a major problem, and they are all around us. One of the biggest influences for me was religion. I would read all the latest books and go to all the conferences. But one day, God cut all of that off, blocking me from outside influences. He wasn't saying that these things were bad. He was saying that I needed to go to Him, not man, for answers.
Now I only read a book or go to a conference when I feel the Holy Spirit has prompted me to do so. And when I do, I listen to see if it confirms what the Lord has already spoken to me and if it is new to me, I test the spirits and search the scriptures to see if it is of God.
Throughout this period of being separated from outside influences, my friends would ask me where I was going to church. When I would say "nowhere" they would tell me I have to connect somewhere, or I would become apostate.
I have to comment apostasy. It is not leaving the church. It is leaving your faith. People are not in apostasy for leaving a church. Many have left for many reasons, some good, and some bad. Some were even pulled out by God.
I am in fellowship with many churches and Christians. I am called on often to minister to God's people by those who know my spiritual gifts. For now, I am not a member of any particular church because I am a member of the Body of Christ, and I go where God tells me to go. God may change that in the future. One thing I do know is that my relationship with the Lord has flourished and grown significantly since I have gone to Him instead of man for guidance.
Now please don't confuse this with the gypsy spirit that has found a home in the discontented saints. Too many are justifying not being connected to a body of believers as a way of remaining unaccountable and usurping any governmental order. This is dangerous in that it opens the door to rebellion and can give place to the renegade or gypsy spirits. Wandering spirits have long been agents of the evil one, leading astray those whose heart is deceived through the unresolved issue of spiritual orphanage.
"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. ... But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually." - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 18-27 NKJV
Here God shows us the importance of being connected, and it is He who places people where He wants them.
Please understand, I am in no way advocating that being set apart, means that we are to become an independent operator, nor am I justifying any lone ranger mindset. Everyone should learn to hear from God for themselves.
Since my wilderness experience, God has matured the spirit of discernment within me. In my season of maturation, I have been able to identify those congregations that flow in the old wine skin, as opposed to those who live in the new wine skin (led by the Holy Spirit and submitted to the Lord's agenda). This makes it difficult for me to sit in those bodies of believers who are married to their programs and traditional ways of producing ministry. However, these ministries serve their purpose and have done well to bring many to the throne of grace, including me.
When it is time, God will show me where He wants me. He will also show you where you belong and where He needs you to be. There was a time that I needed to be in a structured environment for teaching and training, and there was a time where I needed to be alone with God. Being set apart does not mean being separated and isolated completely. Even in my time alone with God, I was surrounded by Christian family members who were wise enough to know God was working on me and let Him do it without interference, but they were available if needed.
If you recognize that someone is being set apart for a season, offer to be there for them if they need it and pray for them. Also, realize that God is working on them and help them keep focused on God and His redemptive work without being a Job friend.
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