Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Walking With God

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There is a man in the book of Genesis, who I find very interesting. Though his life is summed up in just a few short sentences, I find in him a source of encouragement as to the walk with God we mere human beings can actually have if we’ll go for it.

I have written before about the famous quote that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. However, no matter how many of us use that quote over and over, most of us fail to cultivate a deep friendship with God that carries for more than a few days or weeks before we lose it again. Something about a lasting relationship with Him seems to be unattainable in our mountains and valley journeys of spiritual life and if we’re honest, also too mystical to actually hold real value in our daily activities. Being too heavenly minded to be of earthly good, or something like that.

The man in Genesis seems to be exactly that kind of guy, though. His name is Enoch and all that the Old Testament has to say about him is this:

When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch…When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:18-24)

It is that last sentence that I find so amazing. I mean, can you even imagine having a friendship so deep with God that one day He decides He wants you to be with Him completely, so He just pulls you out of your life and takes you away? Enoch didn’t die. He just ceased to be, at least in terms of a corporeal existence within time and space.

Enoch Got What He Wanted Most

On one hand, this story is actually kind of unnerving. In our minds there is something “not right” about the fact that God would just take you away, forsaking everything you’ve spent your life building – family, relationships, work, etc.

On the other hand, though, I love this story. See, to have the walk with God that Enoch had, it takes a lot of time and effort and passion. I honestly believe this takes more of yourself than pursuing any human relationship ever can. And yet Enoch pulled it off. He pursued a life with God above all else and he absolutely got the reward He was seeking – life with God.

With this “reward” in mind, it is interesting to read the New Testament account of Enoch’s life.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Now I do notice that this does not say he “walked with God.” Instead it says that he pleased God. But with a little word study what we learn is that the New Testament writer would have been reading the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament, the translator of which could not distinguish the idea of “walking with God” from “pleasing God” in the original Hebrew. They meant the same thing.

Why is that worth mentioning? Because after reading Enoch’s story and recounting it in verse 5, the lesson the author of Hebrews passes along is this:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

What I find very interesting is after seeing that the reward for Enoch’s pursuit of God was the he got God without limit, the writer now tells us that “whoever would draw near to God (like Enoch) must believe… that (God) rewards those who seek Him.

like a twinkie in zombieland

Let me use one of my favorite movies as an analogy for this. In the movie Zombieland, the character known as Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson, has lost everything that meant anything to him in life in the zombie apocalypse and now has one driving pursuit that keeps him motivated every day. He wants a Twinkie.

Early on in the movie there is a wrecked Hostess truck on the side of the road. Hoping to find a Twinkie, Tallahassee risks a zombie attack to check it out, but when they open the truck up, a pile of Snoballs falls out all over the ground. Tallahassee was not happy about this, and goes to stomping on all of them. Why? Because if all you want is a Twinkie, a Snoball is not going to cut it.

The Reward of Your Pursuit Must Match Your Desire

Now let’s look back at our verse. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that…He rewards those who seek Him…” There is a desire. There is a pursuit. And there is the promise of a reward. If your desire is to draw near to God and you pursue Him, what reward other than getting God Himself is going to fulfill this passion? Nothing.

When God is your ultimate desire, He will give you exactly what you are after.

Jesus Himself said this same thing.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:10-13)

So the ask, seek, and knock verse is not an open promise that we will receive whatever we go after in prayer. It is instead within the context of asking, seeking, and knocking to receive more of the Holy Spirit in a desire to reach a new depth in your relationship with God. And the reward is that He gives you more of Himself.

This is the same promise God made to exiled Israel in the prophecy of Jeremiah:

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Just like Enoch, I absolutely believe that when the deepest desire of our hearts and the pursuit of our lives are in seeking more of God and to have a deeper friendship with Him than we do right now, He will reward us by giving us exactly what we seek.

The question is, do you really want it?

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Would Jesus Lie?

In John 14:26, Jesus tells the disciples that, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Jesus goes on to say in John 16:7, “I tell you the truth it is to your advantage that I go away…,” which most modern Christians fundamentally disagree with. After all, if Jesus was here, things would be way better, right? And we’d know exactly how to live the Christian life because He’d show us, right? But He still says His leaving was to our advantage because, “if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.”

So Jesus said that it is to the benefit of the church that He has left the earth because He has sent the Holy Spirit in His place. This is a benefit because the Holy Spirit will not only remind us of what Jesus said, but He will teach us the full truth of the Gospel, revealing to us the Kingdom of God in fresh and deeper ways every day.

Would Jesus Lie to Us?

Now, let’s get real for a second. I don’t think there is a single person reading this who doesn’t stop for a moment and think, “Yeah, having the Holy Spirit is good and all, but I think it’d be better if Jesus were here to fix everything.” For those of us raised in the rationalist, naturalist worldview of the west, we fundamentally cannot imagine that an unseen, metaphysical presence of God is better than the physical, touchable, seeable and hearable presence of God in Christ. We are convinced that physical reality is better. So the question is, would Jesus lie to us?

In mentally resolving this issue, it can easily become a test of faith for us as our logical mind, clinging to primacy of Jesus’ physical presence, is placed against our faith in the very words of Jesus saying it’s better that He goes away.

In fact, Jesus even tells us that there are things we need to learn, but that they had to come from the unseen Holy Spirit, and not from Him directly.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:12-13)

An Issue of Identity

I believe our desire to have Jesus with us comes from a place of misunderstanding about the identity and calling of the church. See, Jesus said He would establish the church, which throughout the rest of scripture, after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, is called the “Body of Christ.” In essence this is saying that Jesus’ hands and feet have not left the world, but in His going and sending the Spirit to dwell within the church, His hands and feet have been multiplied millions of times over. Christ has physically left, but it is Christ’s Spirit that is now living and active in the church when we learn to follow His lead.

This is why so much of Jesus’ teaching time with the disciples was spent telling them, “This is how things work in the Kingdom…” “This is how you engage with God…” “Where is your faith?” “Don’t be afraid.” “How long will I be with you? You have to learn this…”

And it seems that when Jesus left, He really did expect that all of the things He has been doing on earth (including the crazy miracles and such) would continue on in the church, as we learned to walk by the leading of the Spirit. He even says so in John 14:12

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Yet the works that Jesus did were only the works that He saw the Father doing through the leading of the Holy Spirit:

“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19)

And the words that Jesus spoke were only the words that He heard the Father speaking through the Holy Spirit:

“The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” (John 14:10)

Claiming Our Calling

So if the church is to be the hands and feet of Jesus, active in this world, and continuing the ministry of Jesus, then the only way it’s going to happen is when we learn to pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading as He teaches us what to say and do.

We can no longer just passively sit back, watch the world go to hell in a handbasket, and think to ourselves, “I can’t wait until Jesus comes back and fixes this mess.”

When Jesus gave us the authority of Heaven, He was telling us that it is our job to be cleaning up this mess ourselves. We are to seek Heaven for the transformation of our world, and then be the active agents through which that change comes.

So it’s time for the church to come alive again. It’s time for the disciples of Christ go, be who God is calling us to be, and do what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do. I believe Jesus is still sending us out with the same instructions He began with:

“Go…And proclaim as you go, saying ,‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleans lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; now give without pay.” (Matthew 10:5-8)

Life in the Book of Acts – Part 3

For the last couple of weeks I have been sharing my observations of characteristics and experiences had by the Christians in the book of Acts. If you have missed them, be sure to read part 1 and part 2. And then today, to close it out, here is the final section of the book of Acts, covering chapters 21-28.

The Christians:

  • sought out other disciples while visiting new towns — 21:4,7
  • prayed together, for one another — 21:5
  • prophesied, even women — 21:9
  • were warned of danger in advance by the Holy Spirit — 21:4, 10-11
  • were ready to die for the name of Christ — 21:13
  • shared testimonies and rejoiced in stories of salvation — 21:19-20
  • took on religious vows — 21:23-26
  • caused city-wide uprisings — 21:30-36
  • used personal testimony to share the gospel — 22:1-21, 26:4-29
  • saw their testimonies rejected as false — 22:18, 22
  • were appointed by God for Christian life and ministry — 22:14-15
  • fell into trances in the Spirit — 22:17
  • utilized privileges of earthly citizenships — 22:24-29
  • were visited by Christ, post-ascension — 23:11
  • were plotted against to be murdered — 23:12-14
  • took “pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” — 24:16
  • had the ear of government leaders without exploiting it — 24:22-27
  • professed the resurrection publicly, even in court — 25:19, 26:6-8
  • were found guiltless by governing judges — 25:6, 26:31-32
  • heard the voice of Jesus – 26:14-18
  • believed the Gospel fulfilled Old Testament prophecies — 26:22-23, 28:23-24
  • made life-altering decisions that could have been viewed as mistakes if it wasn’t for God’s directing them — 26:32 in light of 23:11
  • had divine insights — 27:10-11, 31-32
  • still faced the same difficulties through life as unbelievers did — 27:13-20
  • delivered good news through divine insights — 27:22
  • were visited by angels — 27:23-24
  • were protected from physical danger by non-believers — 27:42-43
  • defied pagan superstitions — 28:4-6
  • healed non-believers — 28:8-9
  • used persecution and imprisonment testimonies to share the gospel — 28:17-22
  • welcomed all visitors, even in the midst of trials — 28:30
  • proclaimed the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ with boldness — 28:31

So, after reading through these three posts on life in the book of Acts, what stands out to you the most? Has anything been especially encouraging or caused you to open the Bible and see for yourself? Have I missed anything you think should be added to the list? And maybe, if there is there anything in particular that causes you to want pursue God in a deeper walk with Him or seek for a more spiritually empowered life, be sure to share those things in the comments.

Life in the Book of Acts – Part 2

Last week we began looking through the book of Acts at the characteristics that marked believers and the things they experienced as they followed the Holy Spirit in this new life, then known as “The Way.”

As I have continued in this study in my personal time, it became clear to me that two posts would not be enough to contain it all, so this week we will look at Acts 15-20, and will close out the book next week starting with Paul’s return to Jerusalem, his arrest and the journey to a Roman prison.

As I said last week, not all the things I mention here applied to all believers, and some were not repeated again in scripture. Yet it is still helpful to us to know how our God has moved among His church in the past because though times change, He remains the same.

In Acts 15-20, the Christians:

  • Were still seduced by the law — 15:1
  • Did not always agree on the application of some scriptures — 15:2,5
  • Took joy in the salvation testimony of others — 15:3
  • Submitted to apostolic authority — 15:6-11, 19-21
  • Refused to put heavy burdens on new believers/non-Jewish believers — 15:10-11
  • Believed in salvation by Grace alone — 15:11; 18:27
  • Submitted to scriptural authority — 15:15-18
  • Encouraged one another through human means (writing letters) — 15:31
  • Encouraged one another through supernatural means (prophecy) — 15:32
  • Saw ministries split over personal preferences — 15:39
  • Acted contrary to personal liberties for the sake of other’s consciences — 16:3
  • Were sometimes forbidden by God to share to gospel — 16:6-7
  • Received instruction through visions — 16:9-10; 18:9-10
  • Were committed to prayer — 16:13
  • Observed Sabbath rest — 16:13
  • Baptized new converts with water in Jesus’ name — 16:14-15; 19:5
  • Showed great hospitality — 16:15
  • Were followed around by the demonic — 16:16-18
  • Cast out demons — 16:18
  • Upset human economics — 16:18-20
  • Upset local governments — 16:20-22; 17:6-8
  • Were arrested, beaten, and jailed — 16:22-24
  • Worshipped through their trials — 16:25
  • Utilized the privileges they had in earthly citizenships — 16:36-39
  • Upset the Jewish religious leaders, and were followed around and opposed by them — 17:5,13; 18:12-13; 20;19
  • Did not always face controversy head-on — 17:10; 19:30-31
  • Proclaimed the Gospel from the Old Testament — 17:11-12; 18:5, 28
  • Were provoked to action by viewing the idolatry of others — 17:16-21
  • Utilized local culture (art, poetry, folklore) to proclaim truth — 17:23,28
  • Worked to provide for the continuation of the ministry — 18:3-4
  • Were “occupied with the Word” — 18:5
  • Did not take rejection of the Gospel personally — 18:6
  • Were encouraged by God to press on in the mission — 18:9-11
  • Took on religious vows — 18:18
  • Proclaimed the Gospel in established religious arenas — 17:1-2, 10, 19; 18:19; 19;8
  • Strengthened one another as disciples — 18:23
  • Received baptism in the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands — 19:2-6
  • Preached the Kingdom of God boldly — 19:8
  • Were spoken evil of by non-believers — 19:9
  • Spread the Gospel across Asia — 19:10
  • Performed miracles — 19:11
  • Healed and delivered people from demons through inanimate objects that had only touched the believer — 19:12
  • Were mimicked in attempts at power by non-believers — 19:13
  • Were known by name in the demonic realm (for the threat they posed) — 19:15
  • Confessed their false spirituality (witchcraft) and burned the remnants of it — 19:18-19
  • Turned people from handmade idols — 19:26
  • Threatened national idolatry — 19:27
  • Caused riots in whole cities — 19:28-41
  • Preached long sermons (too long?) — 20:7,9
  • Raised the dead — 20:9-10
  • “Served the Lord with humility and with tears” — 20:19
  • Taught the Gospel publicly — 20:20
  • Taught the Gospel in homes — 20:20
  • Expected affliction — 20:23
  • Declared the whole counsel of God — 20:27
  • Expected wolves to come from within the flock — 20:29-30
  • Tried to live like Jesus — 20:35
  • Prayed together for one another — 20:36

(Click here for Part 3)

Life in the Book of Acts – Part 1

Lately I have been spending a lot of time in the book of Acts, just making observations in my journal of the characteristics that marked believers and the things they experienced as they followed the Holy Spirit in this new life.

In this post I share my findings from the first half of the book of Acts. Not all the things I mention here applied to all believers, and some were not repeated again in scripture. Nevertheless, these things are recorded as part of our “family” history. This is the start of the story of the church.

As I share these characteristics this week and next week, I hope you are encouraged to trust more in Christ, to strive for a bolder obedience, and that your faith will increase to see Him move mightily. (Also, if in your own study of Acts, you find anything that I missed, please share it in the comments.)

Here we go.

In Acts 1-14, the Christians:

  • wait on God’s promises, especially for the baptism of the Holy Spirit — 1:4
  • receive power from the Holy Spirit in order to be Christ’s witnesses — 1:8
  • spread the Gospel beyond cultural and national boundaries — 1:8; 11:16-17, 19-21; 12:24; 13:4 to end of Acts
  • are unified together — 1:14; 4:32
  • are devoted to prayer — 1:14; 2:42
  • are filled with the Holy Spirit, both Jewish and gentile converts — 2:4; 10:44-45; 11:16-17
  • are given the ability by the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues — 2:4; 10:46
  • are given the ability to prophesy, dream dreams, and receive visions by the Holy Spirit — 2:17-18; 11:27-28; 13:1-2
  • come under conviction that leads to repentance — 2:37-38
  • sit under spiritual authority (apostles and church elders) — 2:42; 14:23
  • are devoted to fellowship (church community) — 2:42
  • take the Lord’s Supper together regularly — 2:42
  • are in awe of God — 2:43
  • share all their possessions to the point that no one lacks anything — 2:44-45; 4:32-37
  • healed the sick and performed miracles in the name of Jesus (this includes both apostles and non-apostles) — 3:6,16; 4:10, 30; 6:8; 14:8-10
  • were refreshed by the presence of the Lord — 3:20
  • kept getting into trouble with the Jewish religious leaders — 4:1-3
  • feared God more than men — 4:19-20; 5:21, 29; 13:51-52
  • sought God for boldness and received it — 4:29,31
  • continued to be tempted toward sin — 5:1-3
  • still struggled with fear of men — 5:13
  • healed people simply by walking by them — 5:15-16
  • were protected and delivered by angels for God’s mission – 5:19; 12:6-11
  • caused problems for the Jewish religious leaders — 5:26
  • “filled Jerusalem with their teaching” — 5:28
  • rejoiced in suffering and persecution — 5:41-42
  • were continually making more disciples — 6:1; 14:21
  • saw Jewish religious leaders converted — 6:7
  • did not separate the Old Testament from the gospel — 7:1-53
  • were persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, stoned, and killed for their faith — 8:1-3; 12:1-5; 13:50; 14:5-6, 19
  • used signs and wonders to confirm the Gospel message — 8:6; 13:12; 14:3
  • received instructions from angels — 8:26
  • received instructions from the Holy Spirit — 8:29
  • were physically “transported” from location to location by the spirit — 8:39-40
  • were known by their way of life; called people of “the way” — 9:2
  • were saved through visions of Christ — 9:5-6
  • were led through visions to lead others to Christ — 9:10-12
  • were obedient to the Lord and it was met with the miraculous — 9:10-19
  • enlightened the religiously educated by their faith in Christ — 9:22
  • were reconciled with their enemies — 9:26-28
  • used miraculous means for evangelism — 9:32-35
  • were “full of good works and charity” — 9:36; 11:29-30
  • received faith through prayer then commanded reality to follow — 9:40
  • raised the dead back to life — 9:40
  • were set up with divine appointments for evangelism by the Holy Spirit (even to the point that the lost were seeking out the Christians) — 10:1-48
  • went into trances led by the Holy Spirit — 10:10
  • saw ‘truth in action’ through visions from God — 10:10-17, 28
  • received visions that were very specific; not vague (even to the point that in some instances they confused reality for visions) — 10:30-33; (12:9)
  • always shared a “Jesus-as-the-Jewish-Messiah” apologetic — 10:34-43; 13:13-41
  • followed salvation with water baptism — 10:47-48
  • were criticized by those believers still bound to the law — 11:1-3
  • were unified through revelations of the Holy Spirit — 11:1-18
  • began to be called Christians at Antioch — 11:26
  • received miraculous answers to prayer –12:5, 12-17
  • upset the government by following God’s directions — 12:18-19
  • saw God curse and/or kill those who were against Him — 5:1-10; 12:20-23; 13:11
  • sought God through fasting alongside prayer — 13:3; 14:23
  • rebuked those who stood in the way of the Gospel — 13:9
  • were confused with gods because of God’s power in them — 14:11-13
  • refused to receive for themselves the glory due to God alone — 14:14-18
  • were followed from place to place by those antagonistic to the Gospel — 14:19

(Click here for Part 2)

Rules Don’t Equal Righteousness

What is the essence of true spirituality? What does it look like for someone to live out  in the world the life they received through new (spiritual) birth in Christ?

These questions have been weighing on my mind a lot lately as I have been discussing with others the call of the Christian as an individual and the capacity for great impact by Christianity on the wold.

Talking to one of the workers in the guesthouse I am staying at, it was explained to me the differences between Catholics and Evangelical Christians teachings in Haiti (at least according to his perceptions). He said that both groups worship the same God, and share the same bible, but the Catholics don’t believe there is any requirements placed on your life beyond faith, so you can live your life any way you want with no restriction. The Evangelicals on the other hand call people to change their actions through lists of restrictions and rules that one must obey to be a believer.

Now, certainly I disagree with the Catholic view as presented to me, as I know Christianity calls us to marked life change. However, though I would consider myself to be Evangelical, I don’t agree with a call to a new set of rules and regulations that one must obey to be a believer either.

I think all of these thoughts floating around in my brain came to a head the other night when one of my good friends posted to twitter: “If the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ happened w/o human thought and moral effort, why did Paul list them and urge the Galatians to develop them?”

Now, I know my friend’s heart was not at all a press for legalistic rules and regulations to  lead us by “works” to that spiritual fruit, although that was my first interpretation of the quote. And as I have not had a chance to talk through the issue with him, I won’t even assume to speak for his intentions. I only quote it hear to say it directed things I had already been meditating on this week to the point of having to sort through this issue.

Upon reading his quote my mind immediately went to Paul’s quote in Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

My fear is that too often in Christianity we push people toward fleshly discipline as a way of maturing them spiritually. However, Paul himself says that never works:

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:20-23)

In fact, as I recently read through the book of Colossians, I made the following notes in my journal (with minor edits here for readability):

Don’t be deceived by spiritual looking actions no matter how universally they are taught or commanded. They don’t carry any real spiritual authority or power, or impart Christ-life to the soul. (Col 2:16-23)

Instead, realize that your life is in Christ who dwells in Heaven, sitting on the throne that is above all thrones. So then, to live “on earth as it is in heaven” means that our lives are lived from heaven to earth (Col 3:1-4), and so, like Christ did, we determine to follow the Spirit as He prompts us to “do the will of our Father.”

The natural outflow of this spiritual obedience as opposed to the keeping of fleshly rules, is that it will put to death what is earthly in us (Col. 3:5-11) and we will put on the heavenly nature we have in us because we are now in Him (Col. 3:12-17) This isn’t supposed to be dead religion that we live in. Instead, it truly is us discovering that we live a new, abundant, and spiritually overcoming life as Christ lives through us.

The reality is that Christ does call us to repentance (Matt. 4:17). He calls us to be holy just as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). And he desires that our lives will be marked by obedience to Him (Matt. 28:20). The question is, what actions on our part will actually take us there.

I am convinced that the quickest way toward a renewed life is not to cultivate rules and regulations that make us look holy or pious, but to in fact, cultivate a spiritual intimacy with God in prayer and learn to walk daily as He leads us, allowing Him to renew us in His image. This does indeed take action on our part. But I find that these actions are more grounded in the New Testament practice of the faith, than most of the modern commands we find in too many churches. So instead of the old Baptist creed, “We don’t drink, and we don’t chew, and we don’t date the girls that do,” we are told, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17), “Walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), and “Let all that you do be done in love”, on which hangs all the Old Testament law (1 Cor. 16:14; Matt. 22:37-40). These then, should be where the majority of our spiritual pursuits lie.

Or to put it very simply, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17)

Christ in You: The Hope of The World

I have slowly been working my way through a very large book called, “John G. Lake: The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings” compiled by Roberts Liardon. Last night, as I read one of Pastor Lake’s sermons from April 26, 1914, I was stirred to pray that God would give me the grace to become the type of person being talked about in his message.

One small paragraph caught my attention while looking over my highlights, and grieved me that this may very well be the type of Christian I, and many of you, feel most comfortable becoming. He said:

“The Spirit of the Lord, as we prayed, told my soul that the peculiar sin of the present hour among the children of God is a peculiar spiritual lethargy that has been permitted to gradually steal over our souls, robbing us of the quickened consciousness and understanding of the blessed Holy Ghost and of His peculiar presence. That instead of lifting our hearts and welcoming Him, we have descended into a study of the understanding of His ways and works and methods until a dimness has come over our spirits.

What he says there is that too many of us fall into a category of Christians who spend all our time seeking head-knowledge of what the Gospel means and how it should be lived out, but we seldom pull our heads out of the books and pursue life-knowledge of the Gospel. We study, but we don’t act on what we find.

This brings to mind the famous quote by G.K. Chesterton, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” I think that is true to what I am saying, but also not quite complete. If I were to dare add to his words, it would say, “it has been found difficult, uncomfortable, humiliating, and threatening to the preservation of our egos and status, and left untried.”

As I read the words of Pastor Lake, and was praying that I would not be the type of Christian who is consumed only by spiritual head-knowledge, God brought to mind the verse of scripture that says, “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

Immediately I flipped over the that passage to see what God was wanting to say to me, but before I even got there, I felt like God told me the problem is that I have held a wrong view of this truth. What He showed me is that I have tended to think of it that Christ lives in me and this is the hope of glory in my own salvation. The Holy Spirit, however, pressed on me that I am already sealed for salvation. It is now Christ living in me that is the hope of glory for the people around me. Christ is in me so that He can leak out through my actions and interactions with others, making Himself known to the world

It is Christ living in us that allows us to fulfill the command to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

The problem with the head-knowledge Christian is that they study and study to make sure they have Christ inside and understand the depths of that truth, but they never live a life where Christ leaks out of them and touches others, offering the hope of glory to the lost world.

If Christ is living in you, it is so that you can live Him out in the world. This is why Paul goes on to say in verses 28-29 that it is “Him we proclaim…” and, “For this I toil, struggling with all HIS energy that HE powerfully works within me.”

Now, don’t misunderstand me. It is a good thing to spend time in prayer, and in the Word, and even in the books written by so many of our great Christian heroes. We need to have a biblically grounded view of the spiritual life. But it is only beneficial if it leads us to a life overflowing with the reality of Christ in us. That is the hope for the world, and that is when we will be most useful to the Kingdom of God.

Christ is living in you. That is where the hope for the world is found. Let Him leak out!

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