The NBA and NHL playoffs started last week and every night we get see amazing feats of physical prowess and athletic skill. Whether it’s Jonathan Quick dancing on his head and blocking shots for the Kings, or Kevin Durant streaking down the lane for a thunderous dunk, we’re amazed at what we see.
What we see, though, the plays that make us stand up and cheer, are just a small glimpse into all of the effort and work that it takes to produce such moments. We’d hardly want to sit down and watch any athlete wake up early so that he or she could go to thy gym. We definitely wouldn’t want to watch them sit down to a meal of steamed vegetables and grilled chicken. What we see is exciting, but that never comes to fruition without all of the hard work behind the scenes.
Carrying the fire of the Holy Spirit and spreading God’s kingdom to the ends of the earth is the same way.
We love when we see people doing amazing things for God’s kingdom: missionaries carrying the gospel to unreached people, teachers influencing young people in their classrooms and grandparents passing on their faith to their grandchildren. When we see the fire of the Holy Spirit active in people’s lives, we want to stand up and cheer as if they were hitting a game-winning shot or making a victory-clenching save. But people whose lives are on fire with the Holy Spirit get that way because of what’s happening behind the scenes and inside their hearts.
As we discussed this weekend in service, the Holy Spirit isn’t just fire, but he is also breath. The Holy Spirit not only gifts us to do amazing work for God’s kingdom, but he also transforms us as we surrender to his influence. It’s that surrendering and that influence that allow us to live with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Unless we breathe the Holy Spirit in and allow him to work in our lives, then we’ll never maximize our potential and effectiveness.
Surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction isn’t as complicated as we try to make it. We need to allow our minds to be governed by the Spirit instead of our flesh and sinful desires. For the most part, that’s pretty easy. If we’ve been going to church long enough, have read enough of the Bible or simply listen to our conscience, we know what’s right and what’s wrong.
Should I lie at work so that I look better than my coworker? No.
Should I cheat on this test because I didn’t have any time to study because I had to play video games? No.
Should I pretend I didn’t hear my spouse because I don’t want to do that thing he or she asked me to do? No.
Every time we choose to do what’s right over what we know is wrong, we’re surrendering to the Holy Spirit. The more time we spend surrendering to the Holy Spirit, the more our lives fall in line with God’s desires and the brighter the fire of our lives will burn for his glory. Making the next right choice isn’t as exciting as sharing the gospel in a foreign country, but it’s what makes moments like those possible
God will give us moments when our fires burn bright and his glory shines through everything we do. Before we get to those moments, though, we need to do the important work of surrendering to the Spirit so our lives can fall more in line with God’s desires. It’s not as exciting, but it’s just as necessary.
What’s the next right thing you need to do?