Holding off the Spirit

Reading: Matthew 20:29-34

“The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet….” (v.31)

We sing during our worship service at church–our tongues articulate the words, and yet the moment it starts to enter our hearts and minds we restrain the tears from falling from our eyes, and our arms from lifting up to worship and praise the Lord! When we pray in public we are worried about accusations of showmanship that we fail to start with words of adoration and praise, and even confession (!), and sometimes even forget to give thanks and the resulting prayer is reduced to just a list of petitions.

We sometimes sit and discuss about the Lord, how mighty He is, and then wonder, with a tinge of envy, how miracles continue to happen in other parts of the world, but not in ours. And yet, we do not speak about His name, fearing that we will earn a stigma at the places we frequent, or even get a lawsuit filed against us (we are sometimes too intimidated to even check the law and find out that we actually have the right to speak about our faith). The “Christian” charities we operate do not distinguish themselves anymore from the other charities–they are just merely, well–charities. At some point in history, it became offensive to speak about the Father’s love, who Jesus is, why He became human, why He died and rose again, and the life transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that by just being kind and compassionate, we are already serving as salt and light of the world and advancing His kingdom–but if the people we encounter and help and our observers do not know in whose Name we are doing it, and the knowledge of eternal salvation/damnation is not pointed out to them–then what is the lasting fruit of all these kindnesses that we are showing? If Christianity is just all about kindness and compassion, then it is not distinct from other groups–even the pagans, atheists and members of other religions are capable of and doing these.

If we have put so many restrictions already on ourselves–how can we even assume that the Holy Spirit would move? Granted, God can accomplish His plans even without us if He so wishes, but that is not what He purposed. He made us His ambassadors, and we have a commission to fulfill.  We need to open ourselves to the Spirit, and allow God to move through us.

Lord, help us to be like the two blind men, who even when rebuked by the crowd, shouted to get your attention for you to make a miracle in their lives. Help us to be like King David, who, upon bringing the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem, danced with all his might, and the entire house of Israel shouting and sounding the trumpets! Oh Lord, help us not to be silent! Unseal our lips, put courage and love in our hearts!

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” – Luke 24:45-48

So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables….” – Acts 6:2

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one….” – Luke 10:41-42


Detail of The Sermon of St John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  Yelkrokoyade [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I Believe in Miracles
(John W. Peterson)

Creation shows the power of God,
There’s glory all around,
And those who see must stand in awe,
For miracles abound.

I believe in miracles, I’ve seen a soul set free,
Miraculous the change in one Redeemed through Calvary;
I’ve seen the lily push its way up through the stubborn sod;
I believe in miracles, for I believe in God!

I cannot doubt the work of God,
There’s glory all around,
And those who see must stand in awe,
For miracles abound.

The love of God! O pow’r divine!
‘Tis wonderful to see
The miracles that He has wrought
Should lead to Calvary.

4 thoughts on “Holding off the Spirit

  1. Oh, YES! We wonder why we aren’t seeing lives changed (even our own), without realizing that WE are the ones restraining the Spirit. But God is faithful – He promises that “YHVH confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” (Psalm 25:14 NIV) If we genuinely “seek FIRST the Kingdom” (it must be our top priority), He gradually removes all those restraints, and we find ourselves growing and becoming bolder as we become convinced that He is True and Faithful. He works in us as quickly and completely as we are willing to allow Him. May we so hunger and thirst after His righteousness that we totally abandon ourselves to His guidance! May we dance with David!! Thanks so much for this gentle prod to genuine worship. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

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