The Secret of the Saint: Why Receiving Must Precede Releasing


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 6:15 (NIV)

All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


Reviewing . . . 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

What we are witnessing today . . . this is that. 

All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Now Abbot Joseph listened closely to his student, and when Abbot Lot was done speaking Abbot Joseph got up out of his chair, and he reached his arms and his hands up into the air until he stretched out each of his ten fingers and out of the tips of each of his fingers shot pure flame—ten burning candles there in the middle of the desert—and Abbot Joseph said to Abbot Lot “Why not be completely changed into fire?”

What we are witnessing today . . . this is that. 

So how does one become such a character—a real witness of the Lord Jesus Christ; a person who has become completely changed into fire; a soul whose face shines like the sun? 

It comes by transformation. Stephen had become a transformed person. He brings to mind one of my very favorite texts. 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces behold the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:17–18) 

Transformation is not something we do to ourselves. It does not come in response to our efforts or activity. Transformation happens as the transcendent God takes up residence in human flesh. Transformation is a gift we must learn to receive by grace. Just as we are saved (or justified) by grace, so we must also be sanctified (or remade in the divine image) by grace. It is not something that comes in response to our initiative. In fact, any initiative of ours can only come in response to this gift.

By now, most of you are growing familiar with the prayer of transformation we enter into every day on the Wake-Up Call. There’s a lot going on in this prayer. The most notable feature is the way receiving from Jesus precedes releasing on our part. Many have written me asking if we are getting it backwards; that it seems wrong. The thinking is we must release what is sinful or broken or distorted before we can receive what Jesus wants to give us. I agree. I used to think the same thing. 

Then Jesus revealed to me that his Spirit does not work by replacement but by displacement.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)

He is not looking for us to get rid of something so he can replace it; to clean the house before he brings his transforming grace. True repentance does not precede transforming grace. It follows. It is not hard for us to grasp that we cannot save ourselves by our works. For some reason, we believe we must work in order to be sanctified. Friends, salvation and every last ounce of it is by grace through faith. None of it comes by works so that none can boast. Anything we do is only in response to what God has done. The great challenge is to actually freely receive what he has done. We must receive before we can release. Revelation always precedes response. The opposite actually forms the basis of idolatry which is the effort of human beings to manipulate God to act in response to their activity. This becomes the bondage of slavery. 

Jesus always goes first. The great challenge for us is that of simply and freely receiving. Something in us convinces us we need to do something first. That something is the broken thing and Jesus is not waiting on us to figure it out and let it go before he replaces it with his transformation. There is no end to this. It is tiresome and ultimately creates a kind of introspection that not only makes us more self-referenced but it is self-consuming. As we receive from Jesus by his Spirit, he displaces the brokenness and emptiness and sinfulness and on we can go. He simply waits in his willingness for us to freely receive what he is freely giving—which is the gift of his Spirit—which is freedom. 

Can you hear him, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 ESV). 

I believe this is the secret of the Saint—receiving precedes releasing. Spirit receptivity actually requires the death of spiritual activity which then leads to the Spirit’s activity through us—”what I have I give you.”

If we look . . . no . . . behold, I think we get a glimpse of this in the face of Stephen, the witness of Jesus, the soul completely changed into fire. 


Lord Jesus, I am your witness. 

I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness. 
I receive your love and release my selfishness. 

Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen. 


I believe this is some of the most essential, misunderstood, and neglected teaching in the kingdom for our time. How do you relate to it? Does it resonate or do you resist it? Journal your response to this question: What is it about me that makes it hard to receive from Jesus? from others? 


We will sing some choruses today which we have been missing on Friday. You will know them by heart. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P.S. Pray us through the close of New Room today. Pray for the grace of impartation and the movement of demonstration as we depart. 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

  1. I really never thought about sanctification being God’s grace displacing our sinful brokenness but it makes good sense. How could we ever accomplish our own Spiritual kenosis as long as we are still broken?

  2. Good word, JD!
    I had the same conviction about the closing prayer. I thought we’d have to release it before we could receive it. To let it go before we could let God. Yet, because of Romans 5:8, receiving Jesus shoves it out. Either way, I had to do something, release and receive or receive and release. Another yet, what if I don’t have to do either? Simply get out of Jesus’ way and let Him manifest Himself in me.
    That prayer may resemble this:

    Lord Jesus, I am your witness.
    Your righteousness releases my sinfulness.
    Your wholeness releases my brokenness.
    Your fullness and releases my emptiness.
    Your peace releases my anxiety.
    Your joy releases my despair.
    Your healing releases my sickness.
    Your love releases my selfishness.
    Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that your life becomes my life; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, Amen.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

    1. Love this Doc! It was definitely cool for me that JD brought this up today because I was literally thinking about this exact question yesterday!

  3. “Jesus always goes first. The great challenge for us is that of simply and freely receiving.” Let’s receive the Jesus Zone!

    The Jesus Zone is transformative! Living in the Jesus Zone made Stephen’s face shine like an angel’s. I woke up this morning with these thoughts about the Jesus Zone (aka the kingdom of God):

    * Step out of your comfort zone and into the Jesus Zone. Be led by Christ in you! Let the Jesus Zone come with power and release His presence within you! Once a person is born of the Spirit and surrenders all to the risen Christ, the Jesus Zone becomes a daily, ongoing reality.

    * The Jesus Zone is the kingdom of God where Christ the King is allowed to reign supreme. The Jesus Zone doesn’t operate by human knowledge, effort, and organization, but by the leading of Christ in you. Christ-followers are called to forcefully overthrow all our inner resistance to the Jesus Zone and to let Christ rule within us.

    * Seek first the Jesus Zone and Christ-led living and everything you need will be added to you. The Jesus Zone is within you. The Jesus Zone is not in word but in power! Use the keys of the Jesus Zone to unlock your heart for Christ and to lock out and bind all wrongful thoughts, feelings, and desires.

    * Align your thoughts and actions with Christ for the Jesus Zone is at hand! Blessed are those who are persecuted for Christ-led living for theirs is the Jesus Zone. Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Jesus Zone.

    * The Jesus Zone is the straight gate and narrow way. To enter the Jesus Zone you must receive it like a child. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give to you the Jesus Zone. Will you enter in? Let God lead you out of the dominion of darkness and into the glory and delight of the Jesus Zone.

    * You’re never alone when you’re living in the Jesus Zone. Christ-followers are led into the Jesus Zone. It’s their spiritual home. The Jesus Zone is like a mustard seed. It seems insignificant, but when it is cultivated and allowed to grow inside a human heart it becomes huge!

    * In the Jesus Zone no one throws the first stone. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Jesus Zone. The Jesus Zone isn’t about eating and drinking. It’s about Christ-led living, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Jesus Zone is the pearl of great price.

    * Christ still sends out His followers to proclaim the good news of the Jesus Zone. Let Him send you! The good news of the Jesus Zone needs to be proclaimed as a testimony throughout the whole world.

    * Religious Pharisees shut the Jesus Zone in people’s faces. They neither enter themselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Open wide the door of your heart to the Jesus Zone. Do it for yourself and for others.

  4. I love this reminder, thank you! It makes me think. One way to more easily receive and experience transformation might be to relate to God as nature and wild rather than as a person. When we humanize God, it makes sense to bargain and rationalize, but when we think of God as the sun or mountains or forests–abundant and unchanging and powerful, it becomes silly to think there is anything we can do.

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