Last night God provided me today’s topic. It comes from a book I am reading, Praying The Promises: Anchor Your Life To Unshakable Hope, by Max and Andrea Lucado. Here’s what made me think, and also made me sad, very sad.
Many believers settle for a two-thirds God. They rely on the Father and the Son but overlook the Holy Spirit. The Bible makes more than a hundred references to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said more about the Holy Spirit than He did about the church or marriage. In fact, on the eve of His death, as He prepared His followers to face the future without Him, He made this great and precious promise: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)Praying The Promises: Anchor Your Life To Unshakable Hope, by Max and Andrea Lucado
Two-thirds of God? How is that even possible? I mean, the bare minimum standard of God (the whole God) is daunting: “You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2). What? My ESPN just kicked in again, and on a Monday. Someone just thought, “Oh, that’s Old Testament stuff. I’m a New Testament person.” OK, if that’s the way you feel, try this on for size, and it’s from Jesus, Himself: “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 NLT)
See? It’s daunting, difficult, and down right IMPOSSIBLE! Why would God even expect us to be “perfect” if it can’t be done? That’s where that other one-third comes in–The Holy Spirit! But if you don’t know or understand The Holy Spirit, how do you get to “perfect”? Living with only a two-thirds god (notice, I used the lower case “g”!), how does one even get close to perfect? Well, here are some (poor, very poor) substitutes I’ve seen people use in a vain attempt to fill up that missing one-third:
- Sunday attendance at church
- Sitting in the same pew (that’s to make sure that God sees you)
- Giving some money to the church
- Able to recite The Lord’s Prayer without looking at the bulletin or screen
- Keep the same traditions–and oppose any changes
- Wear your finest clothes to church and frown on those who don’t
- Pick up from your church a “devotional booklet” and read it, sometimes
- Say a blessing before each meal
- (Here’s a good one:) Point out where others aren’t “holy” and “perfect”
- Align with a political party you think best follows what God wants
- Make sure no other person sees or hears you “sin”–after all, appearances are everything, right?
- And last, but not least (and this one is absolutely hilarious!) Trust your own intellect and abilities
I could go on with this list, but suffice it to say, my point is made–the one that Max and Andrea made in the book–We need the Holy Spirit–not only do we need the Holy Spirit–we need to understand His work and purpose in our life. What is that “work and purpose” in our life? Glad you asked! See the aforementioned passages–oh, let me reiterate them again:
“You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)New Living Translation
“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
You and I need God, the WHOLE God and nothing but God–who comes to us through The Holy Spirit!