I delight in my son and daughter. I’m delighted that they exist and that has nothing to do with their behaviour. They do things I ask them not to and sometimes we have to have words with them but I love them passionately. Since having kids and delighting in them I have marvelled at how much this is how God sees us.
Look at Psalm 139
1O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
Here we have an intimate picture of King David writing his view behind the curtain and seeing God’s delight in him.
Wouldn’t we be much better followers of Jesus when we realised that God delights in us. Prayer would be more about spending quality time with our beloved Lord and less like a shopping list of needs/wants or anxious thoughts.
Our obedience wouldn’t be something we measure or critique ourselves on, but rather our obedience would be a fruit of us loving and enjoying being with the Lord.
That inspires us to see what Jesus really came for. It reminds us that we can all fall into the trap of beating ourselves up about the things we do wrong rather than delighting the God who is delighting in us and removed our sins from us on the cross by the blood of His son Jesus.
When we chose to follow the promptings of God’s Spirit and walk beside Him in step, we are saying to God, I love you and I chose to delight in You. God desires people who love Him over people that try to get every part of life right. It’s never been about performance but rather about resting in His love and delight in us. When we do that, our love for Jesus increases and we find ourselves naturally desiring to do the things that please God. Prayer becomes a wonderful interaction rather than just a something to do, or guilty because we haven’t.
In Luke 11:9-13 we hear the words of Jesus say to us, Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open to you… How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?
What a promise.
course to set us back to the better way.
Why would God send us a helper? Jesus promised us this helper before He was to suffer on Calvary, and after His resurrection promised to send this helper. The interesting thing is it came with a warning. ‘Don’t leave Jerusalem until you have received the helper (Acts 1:4). We wouldn’t be able to live the better way if God hadn’t sent His helper. We cannot live the way God intended in our own effort; it was never designed to be done like that. Living life in our own strength produces in us, frustration, discouragement, disillusionment or even apathy, that’s not what following Jesus was ever meant to be.
Sending a helper, enables us to rest in Jesus. If we stay connected to Jesus as branches stay connected to the Vine (John 15) the power of the one who walks beside us enables us to live the better way, finding the path Jesus has for us and to produce the fragrant, tasty qualities God looks for in the life of His believers (Galatians 5:22-23).
When we walk closely with the Helper, looking for His directions, change of pace, we find ourselves in a place where God help us produce the things in our life that we can’t in our own capacity. Despite our circumstances we can continue to produce the character traits of our Heavenly Father, those good traits like peace, patience, goodness, kindness that stand out to people as different or surprising within the cultures we live in. Our Father delights when He sees himself reflecting in His children and them reflecting those traits into the world to show who He is really like.
On your own, would you know what path to take? Would you know if it was right or wrong to decide on a good thing, not knowing if it was best?
God doesn’t intend for us to stumble around in the dark not knowing His will for us. Trusting His helper of the Holy Spirit, remaining connected with Jesus in daily spending time with Him can draw us into a deeper, sweeter more satisfying relationship with the Father. Intimacy as it was always meant to be right from the garden.
So, staying connected? What does that mean?
To actively remain in Jesus, we must walk as Jesus walked, not in our own strength and wisdom but in dependence on the Holy Spirit- the helper, and in submission and obedience to the Father and His word. In this way we will walk closely with the helper, hearing from the father what is best for us.
need to achieve and undertake what God has called us to do.
There is something else though that’s even better. The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts that are more than just what we can do or what we are good at, they are special gifts that are to benefit the others in church.
7 The point of the spirit being revealed in each one is so that all may benefit. (1 Corinthians 12:7).
We are all made to be interdependent upon one another, and the spiritual giftings is another way in which God enables us to have unity and glorify Him. Within a church we would expect to have as a broad of a range of gifts as we have people. When one works in teaching all benefit. When another uses their gift of exhortation all in the church benefit. When one prays for healing, that person benefits but all see God do the work and give glory to Him. Not one person has all the giftings, and rightly so, for if we did possess all the gifts who would need each other?
God in His wisdom knows what gifts He will give to each of us so that we may minister to one another. It makes sense that our creator who knows us most intimately also knows what gifts would complement our personality and other natural traits He has endowed us with. We are gifted with what we most need to accomplish what He has planned for us to do.
When we come to a saving faith in Jesus it’s because the Holy Spirit has revealed the truth of Jesus to us in our hearts. This is when the Holy Spirit comes into hearts and sets up shop. He moves into a room of our hearts and begins a programme of renovation and expansion. With Him He brings a uniquely chosen collection of spiritual gifts, things that only God can give that is tailor made for you.
Maybe, like a present we open them and use them, or a present we’ve opened and remain unsure of. Perhaps fear or a misunderstanding of what this means from God can leave us confused so we think the best option maybe just to ignore or overlook this gift. This is a mistake we don’t want to make. God is the giver of good gifts and wants us to be a blessing to others. Some gifts can also be for a season in life, a particular need we may have had to meet. Whatever it is they are there not to make us prideful, but to be a blessing to others, to encourage and support the church, His bride.
Is it time to investigate all that God has given you?
Sanctification is the process in which the Holy Spirit takes responsibility for transforming us into the likeness of the Holy Spirit. To simplify allow me to use another type of example that may help us understand how this is done.
Sympathetic resonance is when a one object such as a crystal glass vibrates to a certain tonal pitch. We have all seen the cartoons where the large opera lady hits the crescendo note at the end shattering all the spectacles and windows in the opera house. Try this next time you are near a piano, without striking, hold down the high g key on the piano, then strike the lower G key. Both will sound out. The vibration will make the held down note sound because it is built with that frequency.
Likewise, we are all built in God’s image (Gen 1:26) so we carry all similar characteristics of God. Everybody in this world you come eyeball to eyeball with is built in His image.
A few years back I was fortunate enough to travel to Scotland and outside of Glasgow I met some very distant relatives. Anne, a woman closer in age to my grandmother met us at her place. Anne was close to five foot and talked like a machine gun with a thick Glaswegian accent. As I was leaving, she commented on how much in my height, looks, humour and the way I held myself reminded her of her brothers. Generations and continents separated us but somehow, I have carried the Maharey family likeness forward. It made me think how much of our makeup is attributed to what we carry from our Heaven Father, how much more do we have in common with Him?
The Holy Spirit uses that Father shaped likeness when we accept the truth about Jesus. The Spirit plays the perfect pitch of God’s tune, and if we chose to emulate that, and allow ourselves to be moved and shaped by that, we can be transformed so that we harmonically resemble and project what the Father is to those around us.
That is the desire of the Father, that we continue to become more like His son Jesus. Now it’s important to note here that God isn’t wanting us to be mini-Jesus’ clones, He has after all made us all very unique in our traits and abilities. No, what God desires is that when we become more like who He created us to be, more like who He intended for us to be by saying yes and being obedient to the Holy Spirit and putting to death our fleshly ‘selfish’ part of us, the more like Jesus we will become, polished and ready to reflect the Glory of God to the broken world around us.
Whose tune are you resonating? The perfect pitch of the Lords or the off key the world drones out around?
Before we come to into a relationship with Jesus, we are spiritually dead, this new life begins to form in us and renovate us to become more like Jesus. This is to enable Jesus to live His life out through us.
As Christians it can be very easy to fall into a wrong view of Holiness. Even though we have the Holy Spirit living within us, we should not shy away from taking Him into our everyday situations. Sometimes we can hide away our belief in Jesus in our work situations like we are guarding a candle against the wind. We cover it we hide it from the breeze that may snuff out or violate something we are trying to foster.
The problem with this thinking is the example lived out by Jesus. He did not believe His holiness was something to be kept separate from the ‘dirty’ world like the Pharisees did. Jesus was not about to undertake ceremonial washings or purification rights that were more made for man than by God. Jesus took His holiness (The Holy Spirit) right into situations.
Jesus ate with the hated tax collectors like Matthew, prostitutes, sinners, the spiritually dirty, those who’s sin had broken them and cost them more than they had. He spent time with the people that the Pharisees considered unclean. The great unwashed, those who found it too hard or too difficult to live up to the religious laws because of the social status, their lack of education these were the people Jesus chose to sit down with and break bread.
It must have been such an honour for some of these to have Jesus who was revered as a teacher, a Rabbi, and his followers (Though how many of these enjoyed these dinners we will never know) coming to spend time with those who would more than likely never get a look in.
Jesus, the sinless son of God spent time with those who would never get a look in the temple. God stepped aside from those who practiced righteousness (albeit their own) to step towards those who were lost, stepped in sin and far from God.
Because…. Jesus believed that His holiness was contagious. He believed that by being close to these people shone a light into them that they craved. Jesus sought to bring healing to the lives of those who would love God when the light was shined into the darkness of the spiritually dead.
He calls us to do the same. To take His Holy Spirit in us into our everyday lives. Not as a candle in windy conditions, but as a light to shine into the darkness of a spiritually dead world. The Holiness of His Spirit will draw people to Himself through us. What an amazing privilege.
Let us this week ask God how we can bring the contagious Holiness of Jesus into our everyday situations and ask for wisdom for who that light is for (James 1:5).