Posts Tagged ‘Sanctification’

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“REAL WALLS OF FAITH” – Nov 27

November 27, 2013

“Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it. And let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.”  Micah 1:2

dbking / Foter.com / CC BY

Masonry commands a certain gravitas in architecture.
Stacked stone hints at an ancient permanence.
The repetition of form in a brick wall assures one that chaos does not reign.

wallyg / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

We cloak our grand structures in the facades of strength and stability.

Our great hospitals are faced with brick.
Our government buildings have edifices of granite.
Our universities are aged by cascading ivy over marble.

seier+seier / Foter.com / CC BY

Many churches have facades to convey strength and stability.

How often do we deceive ourselves by the architecture that we choose?

We hope in medicine to defeat the failure of a fallen flesh.
We trust in laws to protect the righteous.
We are confident of the observable and tested.

jbhalper / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Even our souls can be left to doctrines and traditions bereft of the workings of the Spirit.

I read of God’s warnings to His chosen people throughout the Minor Prophets and the book of Revelation.  I confess to weariness at this point of my plan to read through the entirety of the Bible in a year.  I am reading through these prophesies of God’s judgment upon the disobedient. I feel dullness in my hearing.  I struggle to pay attention through the repeated warnings of a God who proves he is to be so slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, continually relenting from disaster, incredibly gracious and merciful. (Jonah 4:2)

I know that I am inclined to build up stone walled edifices of security and stability.

I long for the certain diagnosis of a fallen flesh healed from condemning sin.
I want certainty of divine rules and assurance of proclaimed righteousness.
My intellect craves the gravitas of the doctrinal memorials crafted through brilliant theologians.

However, the security and stability that I long for in my faith will never be found in the constructs of my mind.  History is replete with examples of those who have relied upon illusionary block walls of faith, painted white with their own righteousness.  Those white washed walled were proven to be built without the mortar of the Spirit.  Those walls all failed when examined under the testing of the Lamb of God.  We are called to examine ourselves.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!  (1 Corinthians 13:5)

We can have stability and security in our faith.  We can know the refuge of God.  We can be assured that the Spirit is building a glorious cathedral within us.  We can know this assurance through testing of the walls that shelter our faith.  We must push against what we rely upon.  We must probe our heart to see what crumbles and where paint peals.

All that fails is not from God.

Martin LaBar / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

The warnings of old deserve attention.  We need a willingness to expose our hearts, knock down the false walls that are bereft of the Spirit, and let the Lord God be a witness against the sin in our lives.

May the strong walls built by my hands be pushed down
to expose my shameful failures.

May the edifices of personal spiritual triumph crumble
in the ashes of a humbled and broken man in need of a Savior.

May the acknowledgement of my weakness and dependence build
within me walls of assurance in the promises and power of God.

May the finished work of Christ be magnified though
the incomplete sanctification of a child of God continuing to seek his Lord.

PRAYER: O Lord, may my faith be found in you alone.  Break down the walls of my stuborn pride and rebellion.  Lord, I expose my soul to your cleansing love.  May I know only the work of your Spirit in my need.  May I stand only on your sure foundation.  May my triumph come only through the precious blood of Christ.  May my assurance be tested and proven true.  May you be glorified in my weakness.   Complete your work within me, my Savior God.  May my prasie be a sweet fragrance in your presence. (In Christ Alone)    I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“THE GREAT AUDITOR” – Oct 30

October 30, 2013

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”  Psalm 139:23-24

Mikko Luntiala / Foter.com / CC BY

The current gray days signal not only the coming of winter but the impending end of the fiscal year.  The corporate books for the year 2013 will soon be officially closed and final tax burdens calculated.  Corporate financial statements will be prepared and sent to our accountant.  He will filter those numbers through the various sieves of the tax code, which will inevitably retain more money than I consider reasonable; a gray day indeed.

401(K) 2013 / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

The complexity of the tax code forces businesses to hire professional accountants to guide them through the morass of regulations.  Millions are annually spent on tax accountants for the sole purpose of avoiding the monster of the taxation wilderness – the IRS.  Paying taxes is bad enough but no one wants to incur notice of the government’s intention to audit; a gray day indeed.

DonkeyHotey / Foter.com / CC BY

The IRS is generally the most feared government agency in the United States.  They are feared because they can cast anyone into a financial abyss based on the authority of their field audit, while most are overwhelmed by regulations they don’t understand.

As a result, the IRS probably does not have corporations lining up, requesting to be audited.  I don’t think anyone has sent them a message saying, “Search me, O IRS, and know my financials!  Try me and know my deductions!  And see if there be any grievous way in my financial statements, and lead me in the way of a penalty!”

I am an honest business person.  There is nothing in our corporate financials that worries me but I still don’t relish the idea (cost and time) of being audited.  However, imagine someone engaged in the cat and mouse game of tax evasion.  Imagine their fear of being audited.   They know that their tax forms have lies and deception.  People have gone to prison for tax evasion; an audit for them would be a gray day indeed.

However, the IRS would not be feared if we all had the assurance that our accounts were completely in accordance to the IRS standards.

The majority of world religions and many professing Christians fear God like the IRS.  They are just hoping to squeak past the final audit in the sky.  Concern has to arise regarding some of the more shaky deductions associated with the justifying of unseemly actions.  Uncertainty is the norm when gambling that the assets of good works might actually net eternal life when balanced against the liabilities of sin.

God as the Great Auditor should be feared more than the IRS.

Most are about as willing to welcome God in to do a spiritual audit as they are  the IRS.  Most do not seek God to search their lives and know their heart.  They know what He will find. So, they live in fear of receiving the ultimate penalty.

Therefore, they have no assurance of their eternal destination until the final auditing of the Great Auditor; a gray life indeed.

The Bible is very clear that God the Father is the Great Auditor.  However, He is so much more than a final judge.

Alex E. Proimos / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

He is the Great Physician also.  Jesus Christ came into this world for the sick.

But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.  (Matthew 9:12-13)

He did not come to show us how to increase the spiritual assets of our works and decrease the liabilities of sin in the hope of obtaining a profitable balance to squeak past the Great Auditor.

He came to heal people from sin.  He completed that work in all who have been born again in Christ.  For those in Christ, we have been completely healed from the condemnation of our sin.  We have been completely justified by the work of the Great Physician.  Our eternal hope rests assured in the work of Christ, our healer.  I wrote about how we can know that assurance in ETERNITY CONFIDENCE INDICATOR.  Those who have been healed by the Great Physician do not have to fear the Great Auditor; our accounts are completely in accordance to God’s standards because they are basis on the work of Christ, whose righteousness has been credited to us.

However, sin still dwells within me.  I look at my life and I know that  in many areas I fail to live up to the commandments of God.  While my eternal hope is secure, I still need the Great Physician to continue to work in my life, transforming me more and more into the unblemished image of His son.  We call that sanctification.

As with any physician, we need God to examine us.  We need him to search for all the sin buried deep in our heart as an oncologist would search for hidden cancer.  Nothing good comes from ignoring symptoms of cancerous growth.  A physician has to be allowed to search for the cause of all those abnormalities.

The Spirit of God is that physician.  This is the life of a follower of Christ; yielding to the Great Physician.

We live healed from the terminal condition of sin. There is no reason to fear the judgement of God.
We live in continuing need of the Great Physician.  May we live daily in submission to His examination of our hearts, allowing Him to reveal to us anything that is grievous and then removing it.

That is a bright life, indeed.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for not saving me to a gray life of uncertain works.  Thank you for showing me mercy and grace by healing me from the terminal condition of my sin.  O Lord, search me and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  See if there are any grievous ways in me!  Father, examine me completely and show me those areas where sin lingers.  Cleanse me of all my unrighteousness. May I glorify you in all that I do.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“GOD SETS THE CRUISE CONTROL” – June 19

June 19, 2013

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:58

Freeway

Freeway (Photo credit: Wyrmworld)

A long stretch of interstate freeway lay in front on me with no significant driving changes.  I am mindful of the road ahead but I need not be concerned with my speed.  My vehicle has the wonderful little tool of cruise control that relieves my mind of the obligation to manage velocity.  I have the job of keeping on course; staying between the stripped lines and not running into the car in front of me.

As every second brings me closer to my destination, I notice another car far behind in my rear-view mirror.  The image of this fellow traveler grows over the lapse of 30 minutes.  My fellow companion has obviously engaged the same tool as mine only with the difference of a few miles per hour in advance.  His pursuit is gaining on me but only in small degrees.

Finally, the car that was once a speck in my mirror concludes its pursuit and settles itself just off my back bumper but not for long.  The driver decides to pass me.  The pass is a long, annoying, stroll down the interstate with a stranger at my shoulder as we hurl through space at 75 mph.  This stranger does not change the setting of his cruise control.  Therefore, he passes at a speed that is slower than that which I have walked past people .  We may be speeding toward our destination but it does not feel that way.  It feels as if we are moving agonizingly slow.  The presence of this other car, barely moving in the adjoining lane, steals any sense of my own speed.

I feel like I am not moving but any observer alongside the road will know that is not true.  I am traveling at a speed that travelers of an earlier time could not comprehend.  However, my rate of travel is difficult to judge within my car when traveling with other cars moving at the same relative speed.

We often describe out sanctification as a walk.  We are called to follow Christ.  My mental picture has always been a long, walk on a dusty, narrow spiritual path.  However, consider the distance in the transformation from rebellious God hater to glorified child of God.

Maybe, our sanctification is more like racing down the interstate with other travelers flying alongside at relatively the same speed.

God sets the speed of our sanctification.  We may feel as if there we are not moving at all.  We may think that the passage of distance along our path has become a grinding procession of inches.  I have a sense that is never the case.  We may be in a period that relative to others we are being left behind or motionless but that does not mean we are not moving.

God controls our speed.

We have all felt the temptation to jump start our sense of be stagnation.  We may want to change something, anything just to get the tingling sensation of movement.  We can become so addicted to relative motion that we are never satisfied without that sense of spiritual acceleration.  However, we can become flighty when we attempt to control the speed of our sanctification.  We flicker from one thing to another.  I have seen many brothers and sisters jump into a ministry with passion and excitement only to fade away in less than a year.  They are invigorated by the feel of forward speed that comes from newness and possibilities but become disillusioned when that sense of speed fades to the relative motionlessness.

Paul encourages us to be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

Being steadfast and immovable does not mean that we are without motion.  The labor that we do for the Lord is never in vain even when we don’t feel like it is going anywhere.  As long as we are working diligently for the Lord, we don’t need to worry about the speed of our sanctification or the value of our work.  We don’t need to take control of the accelerator in search of a sense of spiritual rush.

Melbourne freeway

Melbourne freeway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have a tendency of thinking that what we are doing in the Lord is in vain because we often cannot see any relative motion.  I am sure that we will be amazed at the distance traveled toward glorification that has accrued when we think nothing was happening. Our job is to keep on the narrow road.  We are called to follow Christ – steadfastly keeping our course set upon Him.  We are called to follow Christ – immovable on the Truth.  A follower does not set the pace.  The pace is set by the leader.

We need to be content with being followers even when it does not feel like we are moving – we are probably moving faster than we know.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for being in control of all things – even the pace of my sanctification.  Forgive me for being impatient and not really trusting You with my heart or where You currently have me.  Increase my faith.  Help me to be steadfast in You.  Give me the strength to stand immovable in you.  Thank you for bringing value to all that I do by your Spirit.  Remove the unbelief of thinking that my labor is in vain.  Grant me the contentment and joy of being a follower no matter where that road leads.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“HUMBLY COACHED” – April 27

April 27, 2013

“And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.  But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his own destruction.” 2 Chronicles 26:15b-16

A swimming club of sorts has developed at my work.  There are four of us who make the trek to the pool throughout the week to get some exercise by swimming laps.  None of us are experts in the fine art of swimming.  So, we share articles and videos with advice on how to be more efficient at moving through the water.  We know we are weak swimmers but we want to get stronger.  Therefore, we try to tweak our technique when we find some good advice.

The CoachSwimming is an activity that is particularly hard to critique yourself.  You may think that you’re efficiently gliding through the water but it is hard to really know.  It is very helpful to have someone watch you swim and provide a little coaching.  One of my friends spotted a problem in my swim technique a while back.  I was able to do some drills based on that observation to correct a deficiency that I was not even aware of.  I could not see it.

Coaching is only of value if you are willing to listen and change. 

I am very willing to take coaching advice in areas where I know that I am weak or from people who I know are stronger than I am.  They are strong. I am weak.  I want to know what they think might be of help to make me stronger.

However, what happens when you become stronger?

Walter Miller  (LOC)I have to admit that I am less inclined to listen to those who I perceive to be weaker than I am.  I bristle when advice comes from someone who appears under-qualified.  I am tempted to disregard coaching when I question the person’s motivations or they make me feel inferior.

The problem with strength is that it can cause us to unknowingly slide beyond the help of coaching.  Coaching will work only if it is heard.  Relative strength is such a fiendish enemy because it plugs our ears.  If you are the strongest person you know, then what does anyone have to teach you?

This is why strength can easily lead directly into pride.  Pride is an inordinate opinion of one’s own strength.  That opinion gets displayed in how we feel other people should relate to us or the value we place in their observations.  It is easy for the proud to dismiss the coaching of others.  Pride will defend its lofty opinion when others don’t support it appropriately.

It is so easy to get caught in the trap of our own strength.  The only escape from this trap is to recognize that our perceived strength is relative.  It is relative to those who are around us.  It is easy to be the big fish in a small pond.  It is even easier to be the big fish when you’re the sole inhabitant of the fish bowl.  There is never a place for pride when we realize our pond is the universe.  No one has any strength that is greater than the great I AM.  We all stand humbled before God.  We all stand meritless before the worthiness of Christ.  Our boasts are laughable on the scale of our Redeemer’s works.

However, our pride is not amusing to God.  It is gravely offensive to our Lord.  God hates the proud because they deny His surpassing strength.  The proud are fools in thinking that they are equal to God. The practical result of comparing our strengths to the God of the Universe is a humility that opens our ears to coaching.  A humbled heart will recognize the weaknesses in their strengths.  It is by the work of the Spirit that we become stronger in our faith.

Sanctification is the result of following the coaching of God.

Praise God that he does not leave us to our devices to try to figure out our sanctification on our own.  The Father has sent the Spirit in the name of Jesus to teach us all things and to bring to our remembrance the teachings of Christ. (John 14:26)

We need to be humble and accept the teachings of the Spirit in all forms:

The Spirit directs us through the scriptures and prayer.

The Spirit teaches us through teachers and pastors.

The Spirit pushes us toward a deeper relationship with the Father through mature believers.

He also trains us through the weak.

He uses the questions of the immature to convict our own hearts.

He uses the accusations of the unsaved to reveal our hypocrisy.

He even can use the donkeys of this world to speak truth. (Numbers 22:28)

We must recognize that the rejection of a message simply due to our perceived status of the messenger is a form of pride.  Pride such as that is hated by God.  Now, we must be wise and discerning to recognize truth from the chaff of the world.  However, pride does not have a place in that process.

May we be humble, wise, and discerning to see the Spirit’s coaching in all the wonderful variations and forms that He uses.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for my pride.  Lord, I know how quickly I tend to take my eyes off of you.  Keep me from having the blessings of sanctification transform into a hinderance.  Forgive me if my pride has been a stumbling block to others.  Father, keep my eyes fixed on you.  May all my comparisons be to your surpassing worth.  Give me a humble and contrite heart that longs for only You.  I praise You and pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“JUST KEEP SWIMMING” – Mar. 14

March 14, 2013

“And we all, with unveiled grace, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18

Follow the little black line.  Turn; follow the little black line; Turn, follow the little black line…what lap is this?  It’s 23; going on 24.  No, wait; I don’t think I finished 23. So, it might be 22, going on 23.  Why can’t I count?  Here is the turn again.  Fine, I will go back to 23.  Follow the little black line.  I need to keep my elbows higher and reach longer. Follow the little black line.  I need to remember to make that telephone call when I get back to the office; I forgot to send that email…how should I write that…formal or informal?  Turn; follow the little black line.  Gulp…fat-guy wave… oh man, I really need to cough.  Follow the little black line.  Where is that turn…what lap am I on?

Swimming

Swimming (Photo credit: AirmanMagazine)

That is my lunch time ritual. Several coworkers and I provoke one another to make the trek to the local public swimming pool for a lunchtime filled with the churning of chlorinated water.  In one of my less lucid moments, I set a swimming goal.  I thought it would be motivating to pick a goal to focus on, rather than the mind-numbing passing of the little black lane indicator at the bottom of the pool.  The challenge that I set for myself is to swim 1,750 yards (almost a mile) in 30 minutes or less.

I take a shot at my goal every week.  Yesterday, I made another attempt.  It felt like I was swimming at my practiced pace.  I felt good.  I felt (reasonably) fast.  I pulled hard on the last couple laps.  I reached long for the wall, stopped the time on my watch, pulled my goggles off…33 minutes, 34 seconds.  Ugh!

I still have to find over three minutes to cut off of my time.  That is about 200 yards worth of swimming time.  “This might be too hard of a goal,”  “I don’t know if I can keep a pace that fast, for that long,”  were my thoughts as I crouched, resting in the shallow end of the pool, as my co-worker swam to my end of the pool.

He asked me my time and I lamented my concerns about finding over three minutes.  We talked about technique.  He had noticed that my left elbow was coming in low and my arm was striking the water rather than cutting into it.  He thought I might be short stroking a little.  I mentioned that he might be pushing down rather than back on his right arm because his shoulders were bobbing out of the water on his breath stroke.  He swam a lap while concentrating on technique.  I was amazed at the difference.  He was much smoother.  It looked like he was using much less energy and was going much faster.  It is amazing the results that can come from a little correction in technique.

I returned to pondering the dilemma of my goal.  There are 35 laps in my 1,750 yard swim; 70 lengths of the pool.  If I can pick-up two seconds per length, then I will cut 140 seconds.  That is 2 minutes, 20 seconds right there.  Two seconds per pool length seems within the realm of the possible.  There are 69 turns in my swim. I might be able to pick-up another minute if I can cut about a second off of each turn.  I have yet to figure out the flip-turn so I just grab the side and turn.  Two seconds per length; a second per turn, that seems doable.

I went back and looked at my times from last August.  I have already cut 1-1/2 minutes off of my 500 yard time.  I don’t have a mile time to compare to because I wasn’t doing them.

Hey, this might actually be possible!

Every follower of Christ has a spiritual goal that has been set for them – Christ-likeness. I know that many folks get frustrated with where they are in relation to this goal.

They are churning away but don’t seem to be going anywhere. 

They continue to struggle with the same sins. 

They’re aggravated with roller-coaster inconsistency in the basic spiritual disciplines. 

They compare their own life to Christ and cannot help but feel discouraged.

They begin to wonder if the faith described in the Bible is even possible or if it is from a by-gone age.

It is good to periodically be reminded that we all are being transformed from “one degree of glory to another.”  Those spiritual giants who you respect have not obtained it and never fully will until they are with our Father in heaven.  They are working on their own next degree through the power of the Spirit.  They may have just passed a few more degrees than you have. The work of the Spirit in our lives is typically a transformation of incremental degrees.  Occasionally, we might be blessed with a quantum transformation but that is more of the exception than the rule.

All of God’s children are being progressively restored back into the image of their Father that man was originally created in.  The key word is progressively.  It is like my swimming.  I am not going to jump in the pool and swim a mile in 30 minutes.  It is going to take a lot of progressive training to bring my times down.  It is already happening.  I look back and I am faster than I was 6 months ago.  In the same way, we should expect to see a continual, progressive spiritual growth into Christ-likeness throughout our lives.  We should be able to look back at our lives 6 years ago and see more fruit of the Spirit in our lives now.  That is the evidence of the degrees of our transformation.  We are to expect a continual moral and spiritual transformation as we walk the narrow path of keeping our minds on the things of the Spirit.  As we change by degrees, the things that we desire will change while we are moving from one degree of glory to the next.

I look at our example of Christ in comparison to my life and it seems undoable.  How is it possible to pick-up that many degrees of glory in whatever span of life the Lord has planned for me; just ponder on the magnitude of that transformation for any of us.

However, there is nothing that is too hard for God and we know that our sanctification is the will of God.  Therefore, we can know that it is possible and we can trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives.  We just need to focus on doing our part and make every effort to supplement our faith.

For this reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5)

This is how I do it – I just keep swimming.

I strive to follow the little black line that is the narrow path of my Lord;

I see a turn coming; steady, prepare, make the turn and get back on the line;

Follow the little black line;

Focus on what I am doing;

Fight sin:

Follow the little black line;

Fight the distractions;

Follow the little black line;

I see a turn coming; steady, prepare, make the turn and get back on the line;

Follow the little black line;

Periodically check my practices and make corrections;

Follow the little black line;

Swimming pool with lane ropes in place

I realize that this advice is sort of simple and a little silly. 

However, the Christian walk is not as complicated as some make it out to be.  The Christian walk is about walking.  It is about doing what you already know you need to be doing.  If you just keep swimming on the line of this life of faith, you will be amazed at how  far the Spirit will take you without you even realizing it.

When you take a big gulp of nastiness, spit it out and keep swimming.

When you lose count of what is important, drop-back and keep swimming.

When you get fatigued, keep on the straight line because a turn will be coming.

Above all keep swimming because we sink when we stop.

So, keep swimming and following that little black line that the Lord has given you.  It will take you straight into His arms and His glory.

PRAYER: Lord, I know that it is You who keeps me afloat.  I know that it is You who enables me to even see the path that you have laid out in front of me.  Thank you for sending your Spirit to teach me and to guide me.  Father, enable me to consistently follow you.  Help me to stay on track and seek you with all of my heart.  Lift my eyes to see You and help me to set my mind on the things of  You.  Thank You for being so good to me and continuing to bring me along even when I am less than helpful.  Amen

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BREACH THE DAMS – Jan. 14

January 14, 2013

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”  John 7:38

Water is a powerful thing.  Water can destroy when raging in a storm.  Water can cut through steel when combined with pressure and a narrow nozzle. Water can devour a mountain in search of precious metals.  Water can sculpt the land into magnificent canyons.   Water can be at once both beautiful and terrifying.

The most important aspect of water is that it gives life.  There will never be a bountiful harvest without water.

I am a civil engineer.  I have spent a considerable part of my career dealing with water.  We as a society need the benefits of water but we work very hard to control it.  We put water in pipes; we pump it from one place to another; we line canals and river channels with concrete to guide it and prevent erosion; we build dams to control the intensity of its flow; we build levees and surge walls to deflect it.

Yet, we get a glimpse of the power of  water when the devices of civil engineers are overwhelmed and water is allowed to flow in its full concentration and duration.  Water will lay waste the constructs of man given enough time and intensity.

North Fork Toutle River valley in November 1983

North Fork Toutle River valley in November 1983 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think one of the greatest examples of the power of water was during the eruption of Mount Saint Helens.  The North Fork of the Toutle River was transformed into a miniature “Grand Canyon”.  According to traditional interpretations, this landscape would have been thought to have taken centuries to be created.  The power of unrestrained water created it in just five days.

The Holy Spirit is likened to living water flowing in a river.  There is nothing more powerful than God Almighty.  Water is a pale comparison.  Yet, the Spirit flowing unrestrained and with full force can be a frightful thing.

English: Hoover Dam

English: Hoover Dam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder how many devices I have engineered or allowed in my life to try to control the erosive characteristic of the Holy Spirit in my life.  How many dams have I erected; how many channels have I allowed sin to line and protect what is precious to me; how many levees have I mounted up to shelter my conscience; how many pipelines have I laid to use the Spirit in my system; how often has the harvest been lost due to my trying to manipulate the Spirit into a safe manifestation?

The Spirit is not safe.  The Spirit will wash away all of our man-made edifices.  The Spirit will cut through the hardest rock and the strongest metal.  The Spirit will transform the landscape of our lives when left permanently unrestrained.

I long to see the power of the Lord working in my life and the lives of others.  Let’s tear down the dams of our lives and let the erosion of our flesh by the wonderful scouring of the Spirit commence.  Let’s allow the Spirit to remove the overburden of years of sin to reveal the precious metals of His harvest.  Let’s breach the dams that protect the godlessness of our lives.  Let’s allow the Spirit to have His way.  Just maybe, future generations will stand at the banks of our lives and give glory to God for the beautiful landscape that His Spirit has sculpted.  Just maybe, fields of glorious harvest will sprout from the Spirit overflowing the banks of our lives.

sunset at Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) seen fro...

sunset at Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) seen from Yavapai Point (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your Spirit.  Thank you for the fact that you are transforming me, that you are removing the overburden of my life.  Thank you for your continuing work of sanctification in my life.  Father, do it more!  I want more, Lord.  I know that I have erected many things in my life in an attempt to make following you safe.  Forgive me Lord.  Forgive me for not cooperating with your Spirit; show me those devices so that they can be removed.  Father, sculpt my life for your glory.  Amen

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