May 18, 2018
The writer John Eldridge, in Waking the Dead: The Secret to a Heart Fully Alive points out that out in the wild, hyenas -- the natural enemy of lions -- cannot take down a lion in its prime.
What they do is run it...they taunt it, and wear it down.
They get the lion to a point of exhaustion.
Then, when they see it cannot defend itself, they close in.
Out in the world we live in, we, too, have an enemy...the one whom Jesus describes as a "thief, who comes only to kill, steal, and destroy" our joy and fullness of life.
Like lions, we, too, are attacked by an enemy -- an adversary.
Our enemy are the evil sprits who are opposed to God's Holy and Life-giving Spirit.
The strategy of our enemy is similar to the hyenas' strategy: to take us out. Our enemy wants to keep us from bearing the fruits of Holy Spirit in our lives -- in other words, to keep us from practicing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our daily life.
But our enemy cannot take us down in our prime. When we are rested, and when we are resting in God, things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control grow naturally in our lives.
So the enemy adopts a similar strategy to the hyenas.
Run us. Taunt us. Wear us down.
Get us to a point of exhaustion.
And so the enemy of our day and time is to engage us in a spirit of hurry. Of busy driven-ness.
As Eldridge points out, ask people "how's it going?" Nine out of ten people will respond, "really busy."
The strategy of our enemy is to keep us running that way: to "get us to the point where we never take care of our hearts or pay attention to our spirit.
"Burn them out, and then take them out."
So, as we prepare for Pentecost Sunday -- the giving of God's Holy Spirit to us -- let's pause and ask ourselves, "how rested are we?"
"How much do we rely on God, and how much do we rely on self?"
"How often do you do what you need to do to be filled with Holy Spirit?"
And by the way: If you hear some mocking, sneering voice saying, "are you crazy?!? How unrealistic! How selfish to ask such questions!" please hear that voice as the same voice that accused, mocked, and belittled the first people who were filled with Holy Spirit that first Pentecost.
That voice comes only to "kill, steal, and destroy."
Holy Spirit comes that you may have life, and have it to the fullest.
See you Sunday,