Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Devotion - Keep In Step All The Time

Good morning everyone. Another rushed day but then again what day isn't? I hope soon the summer attitude will kick in and things will slow down for a bit. We are considering 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.

I hope we all understand that the Kingdom does not follow the rules and restraints of the physical world we see. It is hard for us to live here and yet be governed by a law that is greater than this place. We are constantly putting our own limitations on the Father. We say "He could never love anyone like me," because we could never love anyone like us. We refuse to forgive because we don't really trust that we are forgiven. These are only a couple of attitudes that we judge God with but really they only apply to us. There is more than just this place, these circumstances and a life of limitations. Allow me to remind you again that our God is far greater than us:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

This is from a passage where God is calling to those who are "thirsty" to come and he would satisfy their "thirst". I remind you of this because we are trying to live the Christian life without the one ingredient that makes us different than everything else around us. Paul tells the Corinthians that we cannot live life according to the wisdom of man:

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him" — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10)

We are trying to function as Christians without the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who convicts us of our wrong doing, who helps us repent, who grows us into spiritual maturity, who teaches us, who empowers us to overcome evil in us. The Spirit leads us beyond the cross into a rich fellowship, knowledge, truth and love. This is the incredible truth of what we received when we received the Spirit of God:

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.c]"> vv. 10-13

c]">Without the Spirit we are like anyone else believing only what we see, living a life of limitations and shades of grey. The Spirit gives us understanding; understanding of God, the Kingdom and the colourful spiritual world around us. We define everything we experience by the knowledge of God that the Spirit gives to us. Without the Spirit the Word of God is a collection of history, stories and rules. Listen:

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. v. 14

Now understand that just because you have received the Spirit does not mean you are living by the Spirit. You can have the Spirit for the purpose of God guranteeing you the salvation he has promised you, but it does not mean you will get to move past the cross. It is like the difference of John's baptism, which represents repentance, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which represents life in Jesus. In the Spirit we live by his wisdom. But if we try to live without him we live according to the foolish wisdom of this world. We were intended for better:

The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:
"For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. vv. 15-16

As a result of living by the Spirit we have the mind of Christ. It means that our perspective is no longer according to this place but according the Kingdom. Suddenly everything makes sense, the Word is clear and we begin to see the Father's hand in everything around us. Without the Spirit we are blind. Discouragement comes easy. Depression overtakes us. Everything seems completely futile. Life makes no sense at all. Who wants to live in a world of greys when there is so much more offered to us by the Spirit? So, I encourage you with the words Paul used to encourage the Galatian believers:

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

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