Have you ever seen something that you've seen a million times and then all of a sudden, it's like you're seeing it for the first time again? I know for me, this happens when I look at my wife sometimes. We'll be sitting on the couch or playing a board game on the floor and I'll look up and everything will just stop. My jaw will drop and I'll kind of just look at her in that "Wow, is this real life!?" kind of way. It's like I've just seen her again for the first time.
Recently, I've been reading the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan. His thesis is that we, the Church, have forgotten a part of God, the Holy Spirit. We have focused so much on Jesus' life and sacrifice and the Father's control and will that we have neglected the Holy Spirit. We have been missing out on a crucial and life giving part of the Trinity because we have forgotten Him and ignored His presence. This book has made me really start praying to the Holy Spirit. I have begun praying for His presence in my life and along the way, I have come to grips with the fact that the God of the universe literally lives inside of me... by choice! He loves me so much that He wants to live in and through me so that I can live the life I was meant to live! This truth is rocking my world.
Focusing on the Holy Spirit's role in my life has made me read Scripture with different lenses. In my devotional times, I have been reading through Matthew. This morning I read Matthew 25 which is a passage I have read and meditated on many times in my life, but today was different. It was if I was looking at Lauren again for the first time. Everything just kind of stopped and I thought, "Wow, is this real life!?" I had been reading this passage and had missed the point of it so many times!
The passage I am referring to is Matthew 25:34-36. Here's what it says:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
When I read this, several questions popped in my head: Why do the righteous ask the same question that the unrighteous people ask (Yellow)? Why does Jesus give them totally opposite responses (Green and Blue)?
And then I had the aha moment! The believers were doing all of these good deeds because the Holy Spirit was living inside of them and working through them. They didn't even realize that they were doing anything special or out of the ordinary. This means that they didn't just hear a sermon and whip into gear, it means that they naturally did the will of God and naturally wanted to help the least of these.
If you are anything like me, you're evaluating the snot out of your life right now. Am I doing the will of God naturally? Do I want to help the least of these without even thinking about it whenever I see a need? Am I a believer or am I just walking the walk and "doing" everything my pastor has been telling me to do?
Hopefully you're don't test positive to the last question, but maybe you do. Then what? Jesus wants to be the Lord of your life! He doesn't want to just be a social benefit, He wants to be your God and live through you! You will start doing things that you never even dreamed of doing naturally because the Holy Spirit will be working through you. When you are changed by God, something happens. You're life will never be the same again.
For me, I know that I believe in Jesus and trust in Him; He is the undeniable Lord of my life. The problem I often face is wanting to actually do something. Sometimes I see a need and think about helping for a minute, but then I shut up the Holy Spirit. I push it deep deep down until I don't hear Him anymore. I don't want to look weird in front of all my friends if I go sit beside that homeless man. I don't want to stress my family out if I give a little more money. I don't want the possibility of looking like a fool and failing. I don't want to step out of my comfort zone. I don't want to take on someone else's problems; I have enough of my own. I don't want to get hurt. I don't want to take an unknown risk. I don't want to, I don't want to, I don't want to!
Have you ever said any of these things when you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart? I know I have. And I am ashamed.
I don't want to quench the Holy Spirit any more. This passage in Matthew 25 really makes me think and ask questions. It makes me test my faith to see if it is real and then convicts me to not just hear but do. The passage in 1 John that I quoted the other day is very pertinent here. 1 John 3:17-18 tells me that I can't just love in word and talk, but in deed and truth. I must allow my faith to be active. I can be saved and just quench the Holy Spirit, but then I am not living the life I was meant to live. I want to live in light of the God of the universe living inside of me. I want to do good naturally and without even thinking about it because the Holy Spirit is guiding my every move and living through me.
God, I want to be, no, I am you're hands and feet. Live through me.