I’ve been out-of-town for several days, unable to carve out the time to capture my thoughts of late. I have missed this musing and was immediately drawn back here this a.m. in my early devotions. In fact this morning, I have foregone a time with brothers at our typical Friday morning NCS breakfast to spend a few moments with my friend, Blog.
I am trusting that draw in me, is the Holy Spirit and not some emotional need to talk to myself?
I was reflecting this a.m. on the conversations of the last few days, spent among municipal leaders from across the state. I enjoy the awkward conversations that often emerge around certain perceived religious tendencies ascribed to me by others, given my background in ministry.
Yet, both during and after those conversations, I sense a widening difference among those with whom I have worshipped for so long. Sometimes when I hear the religious talk of the churched, intermingled with the non-believer’s bewilderment at the things believers talk about, I even invite that distance.
Less and less do I fit in either place. Yet more and more, its seems that those apart from my evangelical circles, who have of late come to know me, are better able to receive my conversations as a Christ follower than fellow Christians? Am I becoming more like Him or more like the world? Is this good?
Am I finally communicating with those “outside the Temple” in the way Jesus did, though they are at times puzzled by the position I take on many of the concerns of the religious of our day? I am not trying to sound pompous but simply processing the dialogue over these past three days.
Seriously, something is happening within me. I suspect, even making me less likely to be received by those of my own faith, yet finding a growing openness among those of little faith (not of any particular religious bent). Am I actually becoming more like Him as I age, or simply less agreeable; nothing more than an old man with a bone to pick with my friends? The latter is not good!
Then, when I become troubled, discomforted by my thoughts, I read a passage like John 16:8-11 NIV: “When he comes (the comforter?), he will convict the world of guilt (marginal note-expose the guilt of the world) in regard to sin, righteousness and judgement: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgement, because the prince of the world now stands condemned.”
I then feel better, for the problem perhaps is not as much me, as who is in me… and the access I am now giving Him as I grow older, having less to lose! Since the One in me is doing the work described above, why am I so uncomfortable with the Comforter? Why would I not expect some awkwardness given the mission of the Holy Spirit present in this sinner in the presence of sinners?
“In this world you will have tribulation”, not because of the world situation alone, but because of who is in you in that world! Any time the Holy Spirit is present, he convicts others of guilt, not that he (nor should we) make them feel guilty, for their guilt surfaces on its own in his presence. Then behind that gift of guilt comes a pleasant awareness of righteousness and remedy from His very presence, because the Son is now present with the Father and the Father, one with the Spirit now housed in the Christ follower (that statement is packed full). This causes the sinner to inquire of the hope that is within the Christ-follower, providing a ripe moment for dialogue.
By His very nature, and thus the nature of who “I am” in Him, a dynamic enters every interaction between myself and others, especially among those not yet in full relationship with the Spirit. A puzzling wonder confronts the non-beleiver when they see true righteousness housed within a sinner (me) like them. Compounding all this, is the fact that satan, the very author of sin, now “an angel displaced” , some confused spirit condemned already, struggles if not trembles at the presence of the Spirit in me. “Who do I think I am” he might mumble, an alien on this earth, practicing Kingdom business?
All this spiritual chaos, when I attempt to relate to others? You mean I bring this to every relationship I have? I sound like a mad man! As a political leader, an even more intense dynamic is then layered on!
So here I am, a sinner, no different from all those around me, except that by grace I house His Spirit, lending a sense of righteousness truly foreign to non-beleivers, yet lacking the self-righteousness of today’s religious, but troubling if not tormenting to the anti-Christ spirit so thick in the atmosphere at such a dynamic moment in this world.
Life is interesting in Christ and I should expect no different knowing who dwells in me!