Are You Afraid?
I’m always amazed at how God’s timing works. As we were planning this upcoming 1worship event, Chris had the idea of “surrender” on his heart, and the theme emerged from there. Around the same time, my own Bible study time started (perhaps not so) coincidentally to look at the widespread neglect the modern church seems to have for the most precious gift we believers have – the Holy Spirit.
Almost every Christian will give lip service to the Holy Spirit – we acknowledge that He exists, and can probably even give a litany of facts about Him. But do we actually live as though He’s present and working? Do we actually ask God to “fill us with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18)? It seems like an uncommon prayer request.
There could be a number of reasons this is the case. Perhaps it’s because we haven’t been growing, so we’re not sure that the Spirit is active in us. Maybe we aren’t like Paul, who was so filled with the Spirit that he confronted others’ sins and spoke out boldly against them (Acts 13:9). Perhaps we’ve convinced ourselves that we “have enough” of the Spirit and don’t need more of His work in our lives. Perhaps we’re just afraid that others will think of us as too charismatic.
But I think there’s another reason many Christians aren’t striving to see this work of the Spirit in their lives. I think the reason is fear. We fear that if we allow the Spirit to work, we may find ourselves being led to do something we don’t want to. If we’re honest, I think we can all think of things we really don’t want God to ask us to do. What if He wants you to go be a missionary in some hostile, far-off land? What if he wants you to leave your job? What if he wants you to give more of your possessions away to the needy or to missions work?
While we all have lots of ideas about what’s best for us, following the Spirit’s leading is what God thinks is best. That’s the very thing that will lead us closer to God and to a more joyful life. But that initial act of surrendering is scary. It means giving up control. And for us 21st-century Americans, what can be scarier than a lack of control?
As we get closer to 1worship, my challenge (to you AND to myself) is this: Examine your heart. Are you willing to give control to God? Do you believe that He has your best interests at heart?
Will you surrender?