I Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NIV)
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.
Thirst is the result of dissatisfaction of hydration. Hunger is the discontentment of sustenance. Want is the lack of resolution. Desire is need for completion. We are driven by many different things in life in the pursuit of wholeness. The eternity placed inside our heart yearns for something more so many will travel through life looking for love in all the wrong places and trying to fill a void with everything else under the sun. I believe that these lack in our senses and unrequited love so that we will find our way back into His Love covered by His Grace. Grace is that thing that fills the void left by sin and searching. The world offers many counterfeit substitutions that usually take far more than they can ever give. Now what?
Today I am dissatisfied. I am discontent. I am thirsty for a new wine. The kind that does not make a person drunk out of their senses but fills us with joy and peace. I am hungry for the Bread of Life. The kind of nourishment that prospers my soul no matter what else may be lacking in my life. I long for and desire completion. Not as the world would give it through financial success, influence and power, but by the Power of the Holy Spirit that completes me so that I fit properly into my place in the Body of Christ. I want more. I need more. I know there is more and so I cannot settle for anything less. How do I find it? How do I respond to the God of all creation through His Son, Jesus so that He will open the windows of Heaven and pour out His Blessing on me?
Genesis 32:24-28 (NIV)
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
While attending a youth service last night, the kids sang a chorus, “It’s gonna be worth it… it’s gonna be worth it all!” The more the words played over and over in my head, the more my spirit got all stirred up inside. Living half my life already, I have fought some battles. In fact, after receiving some news last week, I asked my husband, “Why does it always have to be so hard?” Life is hard. The unexpected happens all the time. Our bodies our limited by its deteriorating state. Our minds are given toward perversity. Our hearts every contemplating rebellion. Yet, I know each battle surrendered to Christ will end in victory and it’s gonna be worth it. Each time I come to the end of myself and hand what’s left over to the Lord, it’s gonna be worth it all.
Jacob had everything and nothing at all. His brother Esau had given his right as firstborn to Jacob for a fine cooked meal. A single meal. Everything for something to satisfy a momentary whim and immediate gratification. Jacob would go on to trick his father, Isaac, into giving him the father’s blessing that belonged to Esau. He had stripped his brother of everything, yet it was Jacob in the wilderness all alone. It’s funny that sometimes we think we have it all and fight for that which we think will satisfy our soul and fill our longings only to discover we have gained nothing at all. In that moment, Jacob began wrestling with a man. Not just any man, I believe that it may have been the Holy Spirit. Why? Because at that time, the Spirit could not dwell inside of us yet. This Man from God wrestled with Jacob all night, when He tried to leave at dawn Jacob would not let go. “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” The Man said to Jacob, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Jacob may have done some shady things, but God’s Purpose and Plan for this man was not changed in the process. See when God creates us and places Eternity inside of each heart it comes with a purpose far greater than that which can be apprehended on the earth by human hands. Though we try each day to build a good life and fill it with good things, without divine intervention, we all end up like Jacob alone in our success, unfulfilled and desperately in need of completion. Have you struggled with humans? Have you struggled with God? Are you ready to overcome?
2 Timothy 1:14 (NIV)
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
The deposit made into us is Eternity. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) The Word of God tells us that we cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. It tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that His Plan does contain a future and hope for us. It is found when we seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) Are we guarding this deposit? Or do we allow the world to dump buckets of water on our passion and the storms of life to flood our purpose? It says in this verse to guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Does the Holy Spirit live in me? Yes. I am the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19) He is the guarantee of all that is mine in Heaven placed in my heart by Jesus Christ when I called Him Savior and made Him the Lord of my life. The Gift of the Spirit comes with salvation, but it is released in obedience and faithfulness to God. As we trust the Lord, He begins to operate in us and through us by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit plays a pivotal part in receiving all that the Lord has for us and His Kingdom coming to this world. The Spirit is our advocate. He pleads for us, intercedes for us, defending us and comforting us. (John 14:26) We need the help of the Holy Spirit. He is our peace. (John 14:27) He produces Spiritual Fruit in us that is not naturally common or recurring in the human heart. (Galatians 5:22-23) He is our helper. Jesus knows all of our weaknesses. The Spirit teaches us all truth and leads us in the way called Truth.
2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NIV)
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
As if all this was not enough, the Spirit is the seal of ownership that God places on His Children. He is the evidence and assurance of every promise that God every made to us. He is God’s Guarantee to us that is gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it all.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7 (NIV)
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.
Here’s the catch. Come on, you knew there had to be one. There is always a catch. We are free to choose to accept God’s Love or reject it. Love cannot be force. We are not taken captive by God’s Love but choose to be captivated by it. God’s Love is perfect. His Grace is sufficient. He is Good all of the time. We don’t have to believe it or receive Him for this to be true. It is. He loves us. He wants us. God will never force Himself on us or in us or that would not be true love or grace. God is an all-consuming fire so there is no halfsies with God. He wants all of us.
When my children were small, a Band-Aid was considered treasure. It healed every hurt. Calmed every fear. It soothed every insult. My drawer was stocked with not just any bandages but the kind with all kinds of characters on them. Usually, whatever “wound” they were suffering was soon forgotten in the selection and application process. Once applied, I could not take it off without a fight or resistance. Don’t take it off mommy. Leave it alone. The Holy Spirit seals our heart until Jesus redeems us. We choose whether or not to apply Him as a seal over our heart. When we choose to seal our heart, mind and soul with God’s Spirit, everything changes even if nothing changes at all. Promises are released to fulfillment. Purpose becomes possibility. Everything that God the Father intended for us to have or be is instantly our inheritance as we are now known as Children of God. God’s Grace offered in Jesus Christ becomes sufficient for every weakness. This process of selection means that in that moment we take the Holy Spirit and plaster Him over our heart wearing Jesus proudly wherever we go. But wait it gets better…
Isaiah 54:16-17 (NIV)
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.”
How many times have believers claimed the Promise of God that “no weapon forged against you will prevail or prosper? The verse before this promise says, “See it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc…” We fight for our faith. Yet, God handed us the victory. If faith was easy, we would never trust the Lord. If hope has seen, we would never look past the natural to the supernatural dwelling place called the Kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit is often referred to as fire from Heaven yet many have become uncomfortable with His Existence and decided that He is not necessary as long as we have a relationship with God and Jesus. If the Holy Spirit is the Breath of God, breathed in us at creation and returned to us from the very breath of Jesus Christ, how can we live and breathe without Him? He is the Creative and Resurrection Power of God released to us. He is the Beginning and the End just like Jesus. God created us and recreated us in Jesus Christ. We must have the Holy Spirit to be identified as Children of God. We must apply Him in our life as a seal over our heart. We must acknowledge the Spirit and live in partnership with Him to inherit the Kingdom of God and win the good fight of Faith.
Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV)
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
In Thessalonians 5:16-19, it says to rejoice always. How is this even possible? Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that goes right along with love, peace and the rest of God’s Compassionate nature that births such things in us. The seed has to come from somewhere. His Spirit sows all the qualities and character of God in us. Pray continuously. The Holy Spirit even helps us when we do not know what to pray for or how to pray. He becomes the words of our mouth and petitions of our heart. (Romans 8:26) The Holy Spirit is our helper. We need to utilize the Spirit of God if we ever want to fulfill our purpose in life. Giving thanks in all circumstances. When our life is sealed by the Holy Spirit, it is a nametag on our heart that says, “Child of the Living God.” No weapon formed against you will prosper. You overcome the world. Every detail of your life works together for the good because you are His Kid. (Romans 8:28) This is God’s Will for you. The final warning – do not quench the Holy Spirit.
Have we quenched the Holy Spirit in our hearts, homes, churches and life? Are we uncomfortable with God’s Holy Inhabitation that threatens our comfort calling us from complacency? Yes. We do not expect God to come take over. We really don’t want Him to in most cases because we do not know Him. We have not sealed our heart and life with His Spirit but rather kept Him locked in the Book of Acts sandwiched between John and Romans. Jesus promised Him to us in John. Released Him in the Book of Acts. Providing His Resume in Romans. Have we thrown heavy blankets of fear and doubt? Do we douse the Spirit of God with complaining and grumbling? Have we forgotten that we want God’s Promise and Purpose in our life pursuing other things? Yes, we do, but not today. Today, I know that its gonna be worth it… it’s gonna be worth it all.
Create in me a clean heart. God’s Mercy is new each day because we need it everyday. It really is that simple. Lord, I ask you to renew a steadfast spirit so like Jacob I will not let you go until you bless me. With each natural blessing you have provided, I have discovered that all I really want is You, Jesus. Do not cast me from your Presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. I can’t make it without the Lord. It was His Breathe that began my life and His Spirit breathed in me that resurrected what was left of it thanks to sin. I am a New Creation. I must acknowledge the Holy Spirit in my life placing Him as a seal over my wandering and fickle heart keeping it firmly fixed on Jesus. Today Jesus restore the joy of my salvation so that I can rejoice always. Grant me a willing spirit that prays before it complains. Lord, sustain me so that I am constantly reminded of your Goodness and Grace so that I will always give thanks in every situation. Finally Jesus, thank you for your spirit. Help me to fan the flames of Him inside me today that I will not grow weak and weary but press in deeper with more boldness and confidence than ever before! It’s gonna be worth it…it’s gonna be worth it all! You are my guarantee!
Jude 20 – 25 (NIV)
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.