Do not quench the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5: 19

 

Have you ever known someone who was always giving gifts? This is that person who never forgets to bring something to the hostess at a party, who keeps track of birthdays, and who just hands you a simple but heart-warming package on that day when you are feeling down and unappreciated. That person is modeling one of the least thought about attributes of God, for Christ is the perpetual, everlasting, and unstoppable giver of gifts.

 

He has given me the life that I live, the very breath in my lungs is a gift from God. The fact that my soul is alive and that it has permanence is Christ’s immeasurable gift to me. In His Spirit, the Lord has taken up residence in me, and He provides all of the wisdom, counsel, and encouragement that I need in order to live out His victorious life plan each day. Yet, when it comes to this last aspect of my relationship with God, I am often the one who acts as if I am ungrateful. I set the glorious gift on a shelf in order to deal with something that has attracted my attention. Thus, I function like an overzealous fireman by pouring chilling water on the invigorating fire that God is building in my heart.

 

The Spirit of Christ is the constant reminder of God’s love for us and for all people. The Spirit removes the portions of our hearts that have been damaged by sin, and He fills the voids that are left behind with newly formed living tissue. Our lives are given focus, direction, meaning, and empowerment through the interaction of the Spirit. Heart fire is cooled by doubt, fear, self-centeredness, personal control, and lack of trust. The Spirit’s fire is stoked by prayer, God’s Word, acting in faith, loving as Christ does, sharing God’s truth with others, and by seeking His will in all aspects of life. What do you do that cools the flame of the Spirit in your heart? Turn this over to God and start to live in the invigorating heat of a Spirit impassioned heart.

 

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all.

1 Chronicles 29: 11

 

Too much of my life is lived at a pace that keeps my eyes focused on the road ahead and my mind churning in order to stay in front of the curves. There is a form of necessity in this approach, and it has been learned the hard way. You see, the film that is my life story has a lot of those train wreck scenes that were a part of the rather black humor that was central to the silent film era. So, in order to avoid the pain of these crash and burn moments, I carefully check my maps, consider the road, and take a firm grip on the wheel. These are really not bad things to do. However, for me, at least, the real issue isn’t safety, it is control, and I want it! Need it! Am uncomfortable without thinking that I have it!

 

The flaw in this sort of thinking and living is that I will never have true control in the sense that it will achieve my desired outcome which is security. There are too many variables in this world and too much weakness in my own understanding of righteous living for me to maintain the proper course at the best speed on my own. In simple terms, God is a lot better at this sort of thing than I will ever be. The attributes of God that David expresses in this prayer 1 Chronicles are really striking to me. God not only is characterized by greatness, power, glory, victory, and majesty, but He is the source or the author of these life qualities. All of the greatness, power, glory, victory, and majesty that is to be found anywhere in creation is there as a direct result of God’s presence. To repeat, all of it comes from and belongs to the Lord. None of it is of my crafting and none of it is in my control.

 

Yet, God reaches out of His majesty, and He chooses to touch my brokenness with His restorative grace and love. All of creation belongs to God, and He decided to grant me a place in His plan for its management that is important, especially designed for me, and that He invests in continually. When I consider who God is and how He interacts with this world of His, I begin to understand that I really don’t need to be in control of it all. I serve the King who is totally in control, and He is a very active ruler. He is also a truly engaged communicator. God speaks to His people and His word is the only reliable truth that we need in order to have the sort of true security that my heart desires.