“Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God . . .” (Ephesians 4:30)
Have someone ever hurt your deeply? Has a person you trusted turned against you? Remembering those things still brings pain, doesn’t it? Often we choose to protect ourselves by avoiding such persons and being very careful in choosing those to whom we make ourselves vulnerable. It hurts too much to take big risks!
God is not like us. He risked and received great pain by becoming human. Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him. He invited and then accepted their decision. But how it must have hurt when those He invited turned away. He went on to suffer rejection, shame and even death at the hands of human beings.
God goes ever further. Now, He actually lives inside those who follow Jesus. He knows our thoughts, sees our actions, and, I’m sure, cringes at some of the things we do and say. We can’t possibly understand the the risk to which God exposes Himself by being intimately personal with us. As author Philip Yancey puts it, “Words fail to capture the enormity of descent when a sovereign God takes up residence in a person and says in effect ‘Don’t hurt me. Don’t push me away.'”
Don’t reject Him. Trust Him. Listen to Him. When we do, we find that He, who risks being hurt by us, will never hurt us back.
The sovereign God gives a choice. We can turn away, or we can turn toward Him, honoring His presence in our lives by making Him our first priority. Then, our hearts will be overwhelmed by the constant attention of our great Lover, who simply asks that we don’t hurt Him.
“My precious Lord, I want to be often and long alone with You.” – Gary Thomas
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
Have you ever wanted to be extraordinary? To be stronger, wiser, and more insightful than other people? Maybe you are and you just don’t know it. Here’s a clue:
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, calling them out for bragging about which leader they were loyal to and then fighting with others about whose leader was more spiritual, had better ideas, or had superior credentials. Paul reminded them that when they behaved this way, they were acting like mere humans, just ordinary people (1 Corinthians 3:4). He goes on to tell them, as followers of Jesus Christ, they were much more than mere humans. Why? Because God was living within them.
He lives in us, too!
It is so easy to get caught up in intellectual debates or in following the latest teacher or preacher. It is tempting to get involved in political arguments or interpersonal conflicts. But, God is telling us we are better than that. We need to step back and realize our true role: To be occupied and controlled by the Holy Spirit. To be a holy temple for God himself. We are above the muddy fights. We are no longer mere humans. We are God’s ambassadors – His hands and feet and face to the world around us.
Knowing this challenges me to follow Jesus’ example of loving, helping, listening, touching, and, yes, sometimes confronting evil. He was not a mere human and His followers aren’t either. We are extraordinary, God- empowered humans. Let’s live it out!
“My job is not to solve people’s problems or make them happy, but to help them see the grace operating in their lives.” – Eugene Peterson