He stood, peering curiously over my shoulder as I read. My brow was wrinkled in distaste as I scanned the paper. “What’s wrong?” He asked. I looked up and said, “I hate this. Something about it just isn’t right.” I handed him the paper to read it, pointing out a few of the things that were bugging me, and he nodded his head in agreement, “Yeah, just doesn’t sound right to me. You know what that is, don’t you? It’s the taint of death.”
“The taint of death? Pray, tell. What exactly is that?” And so He began. The Lord explained to me what I perceive in the things I have written that fail to minister. He calls it “the taint of death.”
The first time He spoke this phrase to me, I had no idea what it meant. I prayed about it for months, with no revelation. One day, out of nowhere, He began to speak to me and explain what it is. The taint of death is anything in a ministry that originates from human effort. Any place where human effort replaces the flow of the Spirit in something. The Holy Spirit and the Gospel bring life, and any place where a man or woman seeks to expound on the Word or Work of God without the Spirit’s help is labeled thus.
He explained that it is the taint of death because it is lifeless. No life can come from human effort. Life is a work of the Holy Spirit. Look at it this way, when a woman births a child, that child is born of human effort. Born into sin, therefore, born into death. It isn’t until the child makes a conscious decision to die to self and become born again in Christ that he or she truly begins to live. Because before the Spirit entered that work, if you will, it was tainted by death.
The taint of death is pandemic in ministries around the globe. Worshipers who are so intent on waking up the place and stirring up the people that they forget why, or better yet whom, they are worshiping. Preachers and teachers who stress all week trying to create something to teach their congregation or youth groups. Evangelists worrying about how to get people to come to their revivals. All that effort is tainted with death. Nothing spiritual can be born by human effort.
I have read through things that I have written that still minister to me, and I can see that God was the one who ministered it to my heart. I have simply been the conduit in those situations. I also look back through things that I have written and I know that some things were my best effort … which isn’t ever good enough. And I hate those things. Because I know that they are worthless in drawing people to the Lord.
What I know about the Spirit of God is this: He does the wooing. He does the work. It flows smoothly through the willing vessel and it is created by the Spirit. The things that God has done through me, I can take no credit for, because I read them and think, “Where did this come from?” The things I have done on my own, I loathe to take credit for. It’s embarrassing what my efforts produce on their own.
So I looked at Him and asked, “How can I guard the talents you have entrusted to me from this taint of death?” His reply: “Worship me. Revere me. Commune with me. All these things that I have given you to use for my glory will flow naturally from that relationship. There’s no stress in it. It’s glorious!”
Ok Lord, sounds like a plan!