Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The relationship that God longs to have with us – if we will let Him
The smouldering wick, also translated spirit of despair (or faint spirit). Are we the ones who fear the consequences of letting God fan us, to burn brighly for Him?
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me… He has sent me… to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Let’s remind ourselves: This is about the Holy Spirit, and how He brings transformation. He is the subject of the passage above!
Yesterday we thought about the experience of being prisoners. Let’s look now at God’s experience of us. What is it like to be a generous and friendly visitor who has brought round something of great value, something to bless and in no way to harm, only to be kept standing outside the front door – spoken to at a distance?
There’s a huge difference in how we live our Christian lives, empowered or otherwise. Do we acknowledge the Holy Spirit, but , perhaps fearing what might happen if we invite Him in, or anxious about what He might find, keep Him talking out on the doorstep? Becoming free is about being able to invite Him in – and being free to let Him rearrange things a bit if He wants to.
Our Father longs for an intimate relationship with us. Jesus removed the barrier to make that relationship possible. The Holy Spirit is the one who creates that relationship – who actively makes it happen. If we keep the Holy Spirit at a distance, we are limiting Him – we are allowing Him to have just a little of us, a doorstep conversation kind of relationship. We’re saying we don’t want Him to really know us. So He can only take a little of us, a little way.
Most of our friends and neighbours experience of life is of living it the hard way, apart from God. Christian life is often lived the hard way, too – much effort from us, wrong directions because revelation and vision is lacking, and a determined kind of obedience rather than joy and excitement. This is creates more smoke than light – a smouldering wick or a spirit of despair.
The word translated “a spirit of despair” or “faint spirit” is the same word we find in the well-known verse, Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out.”
The Spirit of the Lord is intent on transforming our situation from ashes on the head (a sign of mourning) to a crown on the head, and the praise only the Holy Spirit can bring forth from us. It is about an infusion of new life in the context of grace – and however resistant and smouldering we are, God is for us!
He is for us, ready to reveal the ways of God to us, to guide us and empower us beyond ourselves but there is an important ‘if’ – if we will let him. He is ready to transform what is smouldering dimly into a blaze of light, His glory even! Glory that the “people walking in darkness” (Isaiah 9:2) cannot fail to notice around us… He is ready for us, if we are ready for Him.