Be Filled by His Spirit
Each person has a unique way of sensing the world around them. We all have a way of absorbing information whether through seeing, hearing, or doing. This fact becomes important when we realize that most people learn about God from another person. They learn about a God experienced by another person in the way that person is capable of explaining our infinite God. People fall short of God’s glory when they rely solely on other people for their information. In an even more fallible attempt to find God, people rely on Old Testament law. The law gives a rigid structure God was forced to give this fallen world when sin made it necessary. Laws were meant to guide His lost people back to Him and eventually toward the need for a savior. The rigidity of the law will leave a legalistic follower empty because God is not found in the law. Believers must rely on the Holy Spirit given when faith in Jesus, as our sacrifice for sin, removes our need for the law. We have access to the Spirit of God which is fluid and completely fills the human heart. The voids left through reliance on the law are erased when the Spirit fills God’s faithful and begins to mature and making the true nature of God clear to everyone. Knowing God involves allowing His Spirit to guide us to His nature as well as letting God speak directly to our heart. There is no better way to know God’s truth than letting His Spirit reveal it directly to our heart, without interference from a sinful mind. The renewing of our minds is found through revelation from His Word followed by reinforcement from the maturing in His Spirit.
God structured His laws in the Old Testament to keep His people faithful to Him and to keep their focus on the things that transcend this earth. He organized His people to move through history and bring about His will, our Savior! He gave that Savior a lineage and a people. Many of the things God did were meant to guide His people through empires and times that would have destroyed all other unprotected groups. God insured His will would be done and His people would thrive even in the hardness of their hearts. It was unfortunate that they became so attached to the rules in their culture that they were unable to see God when He became man to bring about reconciliation. They killed their Messiah because they could not see past the law. They missed its purpose. In the same way God structured the church to move through time. He created a hierarchy in Catholicism that moved His word all over the world. In just the same way human nature took over and God was missed as people were asked to rely on man-made rules and rituals. We now live in a time where technology allows each of us access to God and His word. This access to His word allows each of us to have a personal relationship with Him and be filled with the Holy Spirit. This spirit allows our new hearts to transcend this old structure and these laws that fall short of the glory God desires. We cannot make the same mistake and miss this access to God and kill His full glory with laws and hierarchies. Develop a relationship with God that transcends any available on earth. Take advantage of what God provides to you: His time capsule of Love, Grace and Mercy.
(James 1:26-27) If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Religion is worthless if it doesn’t involve seeking God’s face (His will and His guiding light) and allowing His Spirit to create a new heart within His people. There is no God in human ritual if the heart is absent. There is no God in lofty words if the source isn’t a Spirit filled heart. There is no God in focusing on the laws of the Old Testament if they don’t lead you to salvation through Christ and God’s Spirit filling your heart. There is no God in judgement, period! Religion created by man is worthless to God. Religion takes the focus from Jesus and puts it on human action. Religion takes the glory from God and puts it in a building made by man. God’s Religion is based on the two greatest commandments given in Jesus: (Mark 12:29-31) Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” If religion is based on anything other than these, it is like soiled rags, like all of our best efforts in the sight of a Holy God. God seeks our heart, not our lip service.
(James 1:22-24) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
Trying to change your actions and your character by being mindful is pointless. Your mind changes and forgets things continuously. We must instead focus on changing our heart which drives our character and never forgets. The heart is consistent as our minds wander. Allowing the Holy Spirit to live in our heart gives us the ability to mature into the nature of God through sanctification and bypass the wandering and forgetfulness of our sinful minds. Our minds are emotionally variable, making them potential tools of the deceiver. If he can convince us to stay convicted only in thought then we will destroy our connection to God and His ability to work through the Spirit in our heart. The content of our heart is what people really see in us. Trying to cover up a sinful heart with mindful action inevitably fails. Having a heart filled with the Spirit of God allows our faith to be alive and clear through our works, making us a source of God’s light in this dark world.
(James 2:26) For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Just as your heart without the Spirit is dead.
Think back to the Garden of Eden. Think about the devil and his temptation of Eve. What does he tell her eating the fruit will do? (Genesis 3:5) “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” We have been victims of this desire ever since. This original sin and the resulting knowledge of good and evil made man his own judge. It made man think that he could rely on himself. It made the law necessary. Man judging himself drown out the true nature of God. Man’s judgement created condemnation. We forget that God is the only judge. People lose sight of the love found in God and develop a legalistic view of God disproven when His son hung on a cross to take away the law and give us a spirit that allows God’s true nature to dwell in our hearts. The Spirit of God convicts, in doesn’t condemn! Not only should believers not judge others, we should avoid judging ourselves. People overlook the grace and mercy of God and place a weight on their shoulders that they were never meant to carry. Eve’s experience in the garden shows that sin has placed judgment of others and of ourselves on our shoulders where love and mercy were meant to flourish. The darkness of this would make it difficult to move past our desire to be like God in judgement. This sinful desire in the people around us gives believers the opportunity to show the world the light of God through His Mercy and Love. Show the world who our Heavenly Father is and don’t let them think that taking His place as judge was ever meant to be our burden.
How many times have we seen a child of God broken down when life becomes difficult? We know that God puts difficult times in our lives to draw us closer to Him as we rely on His provision. What if God puts hardship on the shoulders that He trusts to carry it? What if God tries those that He knows hold the faith to overcome that situation? In fact, that’s what the entire Book of Job is about. When things grow difficult we can know that God trusts that our faith will endure and persevere in order to bring about His will. Maybe we are meant to show what reliance on Him looks like to people outside the faith. God has an amazing way of braking down our self-sufficiency and defeating our pride. He does this because His strength is found in our weakness. His glory is found in our reliance on His provision.
(2 Corinthians 12:9) “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
How many of us have met people who identify as Christian, but their life doesn’t seem to comply? As we live life in the light of Jesus they seem uncomfortable with our commitment. I found myself in this position as I went through a ‘life redirection’ that God placed into my heart. I was on a path that didn’t rely on the provision of God, but on my own power. We are all guilty of trying to take control as we think we know better than the Creator. I knew there had to be more. Jesus give us access to the same Holy Spirit that worked through Him, the same Spirit given to the Apostles at Pentecost in the Book of Acts. I found God’s answer to the emptiness of my heart in His Word. I found the importance of community, not just a Sunday service, in Colossians 2 where we are to be woven together to more fully understand God. I discovered how the Spirit acts to mature us in 2 Peter 1:7-9. This passage sounds like steps toward spiritual maturity. Blog coming soon! According to Ephesians 4 it’s that Spirit that guarantees our inheritance. Being a follower of Christ is so much deeper than people believe. As you dig deeper into God’s word you see how truly narrow the path is and how lost this world is. Even people who identify as believers are swimming in the shallow end of the word. It’s in the unimaginable depth of God’s word that we grow and reflect the light to this dark world. It’s in spiritual maturity that God’s power can be shown through us, and the lost can take notice and gravitate toward true salvation and sanctification.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for thinking I can move in this world without you. Help me to realize you are the breath in my lungs. My heart beats because you allow it. I want to be led by your Spirit, Lord. I want it to be a shining light that the world cannot miss. I want to be an example of You, here. Please allow me to let go of the worldly things that keep me in the shallow end of your Spirit. Take me deeper and show me your desire for me. Forgive me my sin and keep me from sin so that the Holy Spirit has a clean vessel to work through. I love you enough to trust you and give you control. You will give to me greater things than I can imagine. It’s in the perfect name of Jesus I pray, Amen!
Throughout the Old Testament (2 Kings specifically today) I see a trend in God’s people that continues to plague us. As we study, we see God ‘delivering’ those who don’t follow Him into the hands of His people. We see God ‘driving people out’ of lands He desires for His people. God’s provision in terms of land, both to live and farm, and dwell safely is clearly repeated many times. It’s only in the people’s disobedience and ‘turning away’ that His provisions are left unprotected to be taken by foreign kings. God must continually show His people that all they have is because of Him.
God physically set His people apart in the Old Testament. Today, as believers, we are set apart spiritually as we work toward Christ likeness. This Christ likeness is a process of becoming holy known as sanctification. The definition of holy is ‘set apart.’ As God’s chosen He sets us apart from the darkness of this world just as He set apart His people in their own lands long ago.
Just like then, we still seek the things that we are meant to be set apart from. At that time people continued to offer sacrifice to the gods of the previous inhabitants. They sought comfort in the ways that God had removed from them. These types of acts were evil in the sight of God. As we read these stories of God handing over armies and land, then His people building an altar to a god that had just been conquered, it seems absurd, and it is! Yet we do the exact same thing today. God delivers us from the sinful nature of the world, He gives us Jesus to reconcile us to Him and His Holy nature. Yet each of us returns to the comforts of this world in an attempt to sooth ourselves, whether it’s food, drugs, sex/pornography, wealth, status, control, etc. The list could go on. We all miss the facts shown the Old Testament that God is the source of all of our provision, a provision that is always better than the tainted versions found on earth. The fullness found in the holy provision of God is missed by those unwilling to let God have control of their life. We should take a moment to see the mistakes by those from long ago, learn from their mistake, and ask God to be our only provision. We should trust that His provision, in His timing, will bring us into His fullness and truly set us apart.
We can never be too late. It’s intimidating to walk into a congregation of life-long church goers when you are still new to the word. You meet people who went to church camps and bible school and feel that there is too much catching up to do.
Know that you were called when the Lord wanted you there. Relish in the fact that you have been called and that you were able to hear your calling!
The service in the Tabernacle in Numbers didn’t begin until the age of 30 (Numbers 4:22). Jesus did not begin His ministry until the age of 30. King David did not begin his reign until 30 years of age. (2 Samuel 5:4) Just because your children’s bible isn’t full of your crayon markings doesn’t exclude you from His purpose. Your purpose is unique. Sometimes, God’s plan requires a person who has been beat down by the world, and sometimes sin has hardened a heart that must first softened through pain inflicted by the world. It’s when we realize our best efforts to comfort our longing for God with the riches of the world are always short of what we need to be complete. Our wholeness is only found in God and His desire for our lives and this world.