Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Danger: Interpreting The Spirit According To Our Needs

We have a lot of responsibilities in a day. As parents we have to get our children up and out the door to school, which includes clothed and fed. Even if you homeschool you still have to do that on top of the responsibility of teaching them. We have cooking and cleaning. Bills have to be paid. Shopping has to be done. Then throw on that the responsibilities we have at work. Plus there is the extended family and our church. However, all of this mess is useless and burdensome if we forget our responsibility to stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

It is a shame that most of us see the physical and spiritual as being separate things. We fail to understand and then live by the principle that the spiritual is impacting the physical all the time, as is the physical impacting the spiritual. We move through our day in the physical world, accepting everything as we see it. We miss the voice of the Spirit as he is wanting to instruct and explain everything we are experiencing. We are like a colour blind person who refuses the help to see in colour. We are dull and boring and often overburdened because we refuse the help of the Spirit to see with Jesus' eyes.

It is not unlike Jesus' disciples as they were crossing a lake. They had suddenly remembered that they had forgotten to bring food. They were so preoccupied by this that when Jesus began to instruct them they interpreted what he said by what was occupying their thoughts:

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” (Matthew 16:6-7)

You may consider this a minor point but it is pretty major in our growth into maturity. We major on what this world would consider major problems; lack of money, lack of job, health problems, overworked and such. Yet, with Jesus' perspective and understanding we are able to see that these things are minor compared to the important Kingdom things we are suppose to be occupied with. The reason the other things are minor is because we have a Father who provides all of it and helps us with all of it when we allow him to. It requires, faith in what Jesus promised. Do you trust what he promised? In the physical, not bringing food for their journey should be a major problem for the disciples, except that they should have learned by now who they were with:

“You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?  Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:8-11)

It is unfortunate that we do not hear the voice of the Lord clearly as we move through our day but instead try to interpret everything according to our needs. How often do we get it wrong? How often do we hear a disapproving voice when in fact Jesus is not even addressing what is occupying our minds? As soon as Jesus removed their worry by reminding them past provision, they were able to clearly understand that Jesus was teaching them:

Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:12)

We keep forgetting that we are not here for ourselves. We are here as the children and servants of our God. We are here because of the mission. As we are occupied with this mission we are being instructed and taught. As we focus on Jesus and others we are able to see, hear and understand clearly as we see the spiritual impact the physical world around us. We receive encouragement, strength and council from the Holy Spirit. We are empowered to impact our small part of the world. Let's not get distracted by majoring on the minor things. Let's not allow our self-centered interpretation of things discourage us. We can be our own worst enemy as we discourage ourselves by concentrating on our own interpretations according to our needs. Let's throw that off today. Push it away and open your ears to the instructions of our Lord. Ignore your needs and look around to see what God is doing and listen to know if he is inviting you to join him there. Perhaps you need that fresh wind and fire today. Perhaps you need your vision renewed. Perhaps you need to clean house so Jesus can take his rightful place. I encourage you, do not let this physical world overwhelm you. Get your eyes fixed on Jesus and get occupied with the mission.

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