The Three "Rs" of the Spirit

Yesterday I attempted to apply the teaching from John 14:16-17 about the role of the Holy Spirit with three “so whats.” I want to review them quickly here in this post.

First, find rest in the Spirit’s foreverness. The Son asks the Father to give us the Spirit and promises a forever relationship. We never need concern ourselves that the Father will renege on the promise of the Spirit. We are sealed with the Spirit (Eph. 1:13). He will never leave us or forsake us and always gives us exactly what we need for every circumstance and situation.

Second, take responsibility for the Spirit’s infilling. The Spirit’s indwelling, enjoyed by all Jesus’ followers, does not guarantee His fullness in our everyday lives. We make choices all the time that influence that one way or the other. Ephesians 5:18-21 is the key text:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Notice the corporate nature of the means that affect the Spirit’s infilling in our lives. Participation in singing and praise from the heart with thanksgiving and a submissive spirit towards others all come into play dramatically in terms of whether or not we enjoy the Spirit’s in full measure.
Third, think relationship with the Spirit as family. He is, after all, a person. A Christ follower has no more intimate relationship than he does with the indwelling Spirit. Talk with the Spirit. Pray to the Spirit. Remember that the Spirit goes with you wherever you go and can be grieved (Eph. 4:30) or quenched (1 Thess. 5:19) by whatever you do.
There are some bizarre teachings out there about the Spirit, but we should not let the fear of those excesses keep us from cultivating a prayer-without-ceasing, keeping-in-close-step with the Spirit.

The Message of the Mountains

My through-the-Bible-in-a year reading plan brought me to Psalm 125 the other day.

A Song of Ascents.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
the Lord will lead away with evildoers!
Peace be upon Israel!

The Clearwater Mountains don’t exactly surround our place in Idaho, but they stretch across the eastern horizon easily viewed from our home.

I couldn’t help but stop and ponder these verses especially during our time out west.

The imagery of the first two verses would have struck the Israelites all the more forcefully.  Jerusalem sets upon one of seven hills in the region. The other six mountains surround it on every side. That made the ancient city a nearly impregnable fortress.

As a song of ascents, the Jews would sing this as they journeyed to the holy city for the various feasts. This psalm reminded them of a most important message, a message of the mountains.

Those who trust in Yahweh are like Mt. Zion that cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Because the covenant keeping, faithful God of Israel surrounds His people like the mountains around Jerusalem they remain unshaken in their confidence in Him no matter what providence may bring into their circumstances. They are perpetually, as Psalm 112:7 says, not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

Matthew Henry, the Puritan commentator noticed two things about this security afforded to those who trust in Yahweh:

Observe, (1.) The compass of it: The Lord is round about his people on every side. There is no gap in the hedge of protection which he makes round about his people, at which the enemy, who goes about them, seeking to do them a mischief, can find entrance, Job 1:10. (2.) The continuance of it—henceforth even forever. Mountains may moulder and come to nought, and rocks be removed out of their place (Job 14:18), but God’s covenant with his people cannot be broken (Isa. 54:10) nor his care of them cease.

Do you trust in Yahweh, through His beloved Son the Lord Jesus Christ? Then you have access to a security and confidence as formidable as the mountains that surround Jerusalem.

The worst of news cannot ultimately unnerve you – not a cancer diagnosis, not a job pink slip, not a stock market crash, not a change in political administration, not a clash of global enemies, not a fall of some brother or sister into sin, nothing, absolutely nothing, not now or ever, can move the one who casts himself wholeheartedly on the sovereign God who surrounds His people like the mountains surround Jerusalem.