“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” – Eph 4:30 NIV
Have you ever walked around feeling lost, confused and sapped? Just downright “shut down”? Have you ever felt this way and didn’t even have the slightest clue why? I woke up one morning thinking to myself “Man what is wrong with me? Why do I feel so alone and unsure of myself???” Then I reflected on my activities over several weeks and the choices that I’d made or NOT made. I then began to talk to our Father, asking for spiritual insight into my state of mind and was led and convicted to be truthful and admit to myself if those choices REALLY included God or were me instead going my own way.
We marvel at the times when our every move seems to be spiritually ordained and anointed, while at other times God seems about as far from us as we are from the moon. It’s at these times when we are at our most venerable. There are purposes for both of these experiences. One being that God desires maturity in us to move along to the next level. This maturing allows us to rely on our faith, solid foundation and firm connection in Him that even if He “seems” silent He is there and we are growing. The second is a lot more dangerous and where I have found myself at times as well and the subject of this post. The time I speak of is when His presence and anointing have been stifled or removed due to disobedience.
God is long-suffering with His children, but as any parent knows, just because we are patient doesn’t mean that we are OK with our children making the same bad choices repeatedly when they have been instructed, multiple times, NOT to do something. We as human beings have fleshly challenges. Challenges that even our Lord and Savior had to endure, but endure He did! We ask “How did he endure? How did He know what to do and how to do it at all times?” He knew because of the Spirit and by staying obedient and in constant connection with the Father. It wasn’t easy, and it took focused effort, but even Christ pulled himself away to reconnect to His source and to refuel His Spirit.
“16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16 NIV
How often have you and I gotten so caught up in something over time only to lose sight of what really mattered. Being connected with God is more important than anything that may ever come up in our lives. Without Him we can do nothing…nothing that is worthwhile that is. This isn’t to say that anything we do will go completely south but it does mean that it will go 100% BETTER when He is involved. There isn’t one thing that God doesn’t want to help us with. Even something that seems as small as brushing our hair. (I ask for help on this one a lot lol) I’m sure you’re thinking “Man! I’m exhausted just thinking about all the praying that would take” but that’s the whole point it isn’t work, it makes life EASIER! When you have the habit of being “plugged in” to our Lord and God it doesn’t take any effort to be in “constant prayer” and will become like breathing! Praying has many forms. I talk to God all day long in whatever I’m doing. I have times when I go through certain motions in my praying but other times I pray as if I’m talking to my friend and Father. Needing to be in the right place at what we believe is the right time should never stop us from praying and talking to God. I bet anyone who really thought they were about to die, regardless of where they happened to be at the time, would immediately forget about praying the right way! No – they’d just start praying!! God hears us wherever we are. Again that doesn’t negate the need for focused time for prayer, it just means we need to use reason and the brains He’s given us.
Through His great sacrifice He has bestowed on us one of the greatest gifts to aid us along, and that is the gift of His Holy Spirit. But there are choices on our part, one being to stay connected with Him. We must allow His Spirit to dwell and play an active role in and through us. This is achieved by prayer, study of His word and fellowship with others. But most importantly it is through our submission to His Spirit through humility and obedience. We grieve the Spirit by our lack of listening and following His direction (Choosing to go it our way). We have to admit that our society has forever been about “Being our own man and making our own choices”. Yeah that hasn’t worked out too well. We can look at the garden and see how that turned out…
There wasn’t one thing that Christ did outside of the “will of the Father” and His love for Him. Christ states in John 15:4-11 NIV
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
We are DESIGNED to be in HIM!!! We are designed in HIS imagine to be part of His family. Anything outside of that goes against the design and won’t work right (ex. Defective engineering). We weren’t created defective but perfect, but through our sin we introduced corruption. Thank GOD for His gracious sacrifice allowing the offer of the “recall notice” to be sent! (wheeewww!)
Additionally this isn’t about getting dinged on the head if we don’t “sit up and fly right or else” this is about the better way to do things as He is working on us. It’s not about going through the motions by placating God with our outwardly show of obedience. It’s about our sincere innermost desire to spend time and love Him and as He loves us. It also means building habits and strong foundations that will create in us strength and endurance, enabling us to do with ease what at one time we struggled to do on our own. God doesn’t set up commands just because He gets a thrill to sit on His throne to watch us squirm as we struggle with human effort to keep them. He provides His commands because by keeping them He is equipping with the finest material to weather the journey successfully, and hopefully picking up some additional children of His along the way. As the saying goes “Anything of real value costs something”. The value of having His children be with Him eternally cost God His Son and His very life…
In the end “nothing” will end up costing you more than the thing that cost “something” up front and long term. I tell my kids that they eat salads and veggies because that’s what their bodies need to be healthy and feel good, not cheeseburgers and fries every night. Living on junk and snacks isn’t going to work out for us, both physically AND spiritually. If you’ve only eaten “chicken nuggets”, physically or spiritually speaking, most of your life it may take time to learn to make different choices by eating healthier. (working on this one myself…)
Say at the moment your level of time with God is that you’re lucky to even remember to pray at all! Well it’s not about specific sets of rules that are a blanket statement for everyone to be at RIGHT NOW, it’s about the fact that our God meets us where we are to help and guide us on the road to where we need to be. We are all at different levels in our walk and no two paths or purposes are exactly the same. But if we remove God from the equation, and instead try to get to our final destination/purpose by our own means, we are only going to find ourselves lost, frustrated, tired and confused. Even worse we may become so “LOST” that we decide to abandon His path and purpose for our lives altogether. But let’s not get into condemnation but instead learn from our “conviction” to quickly repent and seek God.
So after my bout of being “shut down” I followed my own words, after which I immediately felt renewed, lightened and enveloped in His Spirit once again. Being in the presence of the Father, and having him actively working in our lives, is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Even the trials that are sure to come are so much more bearable knowing that the covering of His Spirit is there. Let’s live be Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:14-21
“For this reason [seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ], I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named [that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name].
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—
To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Be Forever Blessed,