Living Beyond the Ordinary

I just finished up a post on being a servant and having the heart of a servant, and instead of sleeping I’m thinking about how God designed us for the extraordinary and supernatural, but we settle for the ordinary and mundane. There’s an old Switchfoot song that says, “We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?” And I can’t help but think we have.

Filled with Power from on High

The Prophet Ezekiel talked about the Holy Spirit in chapters 11 & 36 when he shared a vision that God gave him; in which, God spoke, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20). Luke tells us that after Jesus’ resurrection, Christ told His disciples to wait for this “power from on high” before continuing His ministry (Luke 24:49). In John, Jesus described the Holy Spirit as an advocate, helper, and Spirit of Truth (John 14:15-17). And throughout the book of Acts–and the remainder of the New Testament–we see the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit, as a group of frightened disciples is filled with the power of the Spirit and transformed into a fearless group of messengers bringing the Good News of Christ to everyone they encountered! 

The Holy Spirit is the power of God alive and at work on the earth; and every believer is filled with this same power from the moment we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. His Spirit is what enabled the disciples to face persecution head-on, with joy! His Spirit is what gave them the ability to cast out demons and heal the sick. His Spirit gave them boldness and authority to preach the Word to the nations. It’s the same Spirit that’s at work in us today! Yet, we’re content with just getting from one day to the next. Even unbelievers can do that!

Gifts of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit empowers us to do things far above and beyond that which we could ever do in, and of, ourselves. He helps us all to live lives full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This means that regardless of our ethnicity or background, the Holy Spirit gives us the supernatural ability to treat others with love, gentleness, and respect; even when the world tells us we have the “right” to be angry and/or react offensively. It’s inexcusable for believers to site their ethnicity or background as an excuse to behave poorly or unkind. If we’re a believer, it’s Christ’s blood that runs through our veins, and that’s the only thing that matters.

The Spirit also empowers us with other gifts and abilities; although, different for each believer, they’re all equally important. These gifts include gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-11); as well as teaching, helping, and administrating (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).

Lastly, let’s recall my last post in which we discussed how we were created for the purposes of God. Each of us were created with intimate precision and care (Psalm 139:13-16), and God provides each of us with giftings and talents that we’re to use to bring Him honor and glory.  Reinvesting the gifts and talents that God has given us into establishing His kingdom is what He designed us for (Matthew 25:14-30)! But the talents that He gives us will never be used to their full potential until we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to. Only once we abandon all selfish ambition, will God be able to take us above and beyond all we could possibly imagine or conceive, yet not for our own sake, but for His (Ephesians 3:20-21)! Because God’s Spirit makes the impossible possible! He brings the dead to life. He brings healing to the broken and sick. Provision to the needy. Hope to the hopeless. Joy to the hurting. Freedom to the oppressed. He does what we could never do in our own strength and abilities.

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Perfection in Weakness

The young women in my Wednesday night Bible study have been working through Priscilla Shirer’s study of Gideon for the last few weeks. We’re down to the last two weeks of the Bible study and last night we discussed week four of the study, which is about Gideon’s offering of food to the Angel of the Lord. (If you didn’t already know…The title used to describe the Angel of the Lord, “Malak Yahweh,” is used to describe the “eternal, pre-existant Christ.” This is why I’ve capitalized it here, in case you were wondering.)

Gideon goes through tremendous work to prepare this meal of goat meat, broth, and bread for the Angel and when he offers it to Him, He tells Gideon to place it on a rock, and to pour out the broth over the meat and bread. Then the Angel touches the rock with His staff and the meal is consumed in flames (Judges 6:19-21). It’s been a while since I’ve studied this portion of text, but I recognize that this was a sacrificial offering to God, on Gideon’s part. He slaved over this meal, only to pour it out before God, and have it used in a manner that he probably didn’t expect or, perhaps, desire.

Priscilla goes on to talk about 4 things we must do in offering our gifts to God: 1) Prepare it, 2) Present it, 3) Put it down, and 4) Pour it out.

Yesterday, while I was driving to church I started thinking about how often I pray that God use me in whatever capacity that He chooses and I even spend time preparing my gifts/talents to be used by Him, but then when I feel like He’s asking too much of me, I pull back. I brought this up during our Bible study, as well. How often do you do this? We ask God to use us and fill us with His Holy Spirit, but then the moment the task seems to large, we pull back because we’re afraid we won’t be able to complete the task He’s calling us towards!

But isn’t that the point?!

The point is that the task IS too large for us…if we try to do it on our own! But when we become completely vulnerable, walking in faith, and trusting the calling God’s placed on our lives, no matter how large (or small), that’s when we reach the point of no return. We then have no choice but to allow—expect and desire—the Holy Spirit to give us the strength, courage, and tools we need to complete our calling, because we CAN’T DO IT ON OUR OWN. When it seems we can’t go on, and the task is too large, and seemingly, impossible, that’s when God is most visibly seen and His power magnified. Just like Gideon’s army of 300 against the abundant Midianite army, the Holy Spirit can use us to accomplish the goals God has in store for us, but always in a manner that glorifies Christ and points the world in His direction.Captain America

What I’ve realized in my own life is that I must go beyond simply preparing my offerings/talents, to presenting it, putting it down, and pouring it out. I can’t continue to prepare my offerings/talents, presenting it before God and then pulling it back in fear when God says He’s got bigger plans. I can just picture myself in Gideon’s position…the Angel asks me to place the meal on the rock and pour out the broth over the meal and I ask “you want me to do what?!” (Lol)

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who questions God’s plans and becomes afraid of the seemingly insurmountable tasks He’s called us to. However, I truly desire, and plan on, changing my response; stepping out on the promises of God and relying on His strength and power, when I am deficient and weak.  What about you?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)