May 23, 2005
A friend recently told me a story. This friend had been sharing the gospel of Christ with a friend of his when he suddenly became aware that it wasn't him speaking any more, but rather the Holy Spirit speaking through him. While this was without a doubt a wonderful experience at the time, he got to thinking later, and said the event made him feel insignificant, as though he were only a puppet, or worse yet, unimportant to the process, as if he were merely a bystander.
My response was to say my number one catchphrase: "I can sympathize with that." I think I typed something a little bit different, but the idea was the same: I completely understood what this person was talking about, because I had experienced it myself. Often I have wondered "Why am I even here? God is all-powerful. Can't he do this without me?"
Well, brothers and sisters, I have good news and bad news. For the human ego, that is. The bad news is that we are right to feel insignificant. The Holy Spirit is able to do his best work when we do not interfere because He's better than we are. Any true Christian knows the reality of this. He knows the heart of the other person. He has the benefit of infinite wisdom. He can speak knowledgably about God because He IS God. Why he should choose to even use human vessels at all can be considered a mystery.
The second reason it's a good thing is because it's not about us. Nothing good comes when we glorify ourselves, nor even when we are glorified by others, unless that glory be redirected. A pagan once asked me why God was so interested in being praised and glorified. My simple answer was that good things happen when God is glorified. People come to understand how good He is and how much they need Him. They are drawn to Him and accept Him, and when that reconciliation of God and man occurs, lives are changed. Evil ways are abandoned. Diseases are cured. Sorrow is changed to joy. Spite changes to friendship. But most certainly and most importantly, a life which would have been wasted in Hell is preserved for the joy of fellowshipping with God and His people in Heaven. THAT is why God needs to be glorified. It isn't ego. It's because of love, and because of OUR needs. When we are glorified, we do little more than set up a hero who is sure to fall and disappoint, as we are fallible and flawed. But Christian service is a land of paradoxes. As we redirect our glory to God, He will in turn honor us for our service. We never receive honor by grabbing it for ourselves, but only by giving it first to the one to whom it is truly due. In this, we see the fulfillment of the proverb "The last shall be first and the first, last." The more we give glory to God, the greater the honor he shines on us. The more we keep for ourselves, the less He honors us.
Now the good news.
Many of you have heard the saying "The Holy Spirit doesn't work in a vacuum." He doesn't use any more or any less than the tools we make available to Him. Now let's not forget that the Holy Spirit is a master craftsman. This is Myokodon we're talking about. (Means the greatest Spirit, who is so big that we all live inside of Him.) He was actively involved in the creation of the universe and all of it's intricate little details. It was God who gave the orders, Jesus who did the direction, and the Holy Spirit who performed the actual act of creation. This person knows what He's doing. He's going to select the right tool for the job. This spirit who built the world saw the job that needed to be done, which was witnessing of the gospel, and chose exactly the tool He wanted. He chose a small, insignificant, flawed human being over any other means of communicating. What's more, he chose our friend in particular out of hundreds of millions of saints. I find that very flattering, don't you?
But most importantly, our friend was available. We have a choice. We can fight God's will or we can embrace it. Choosing to align ourselves with God is the greatest thing we can do. It is the ultimate fulfillment of the purpose of man (read the end of Ecclesiastes) but not only that. When we choose to align with God, he not only becomes our master, he becomes our father, our friend, and even more. He takes up residence in our spirits and alters our very nature through a spiritual symbiosis. We are His hands, and He, in return, makes us all that we were ever meant to be, which is His children, bearing the likeness of His spirit, being in our very desires like Him.
I also have to say consider the alternative. There are two great forces in this world. The bible calls Satan the prince of this world. He runs things by manipulation, often at the expense of his own pawns. He doles out power, knowing that those who wield it will be damned because of it. But what does he care? Satan hates you. Satan hates you and has a destructive plan for your life. He's going to use his deceitful ways to cause as much sorrow as possible.
But there is a power much greater than Satan. Greater in the way that three dimensions is greater than two. That is, infinitely. He has given us the priviledge of wielding a power that makes the most powerful magic seem like a passing breeze. The fact that we do not command that power but allow it to flow through us as the father desires seems of little consequence. A fire hose should not feel bad because it is not the water putting out the fire, nor because it can only go where the fireman directs it. It is considered among the noblest of human tools because it does what the fireman wants, rather than what the arsonist wants.
In short, submitting to God's control, giving Him the glory and acting as His conduit does not diminish us. By obeying and submitting, we verify that we are saints, and that our name, "Christians", meaning "Little Christ", is a title of honor which is well deserved. Our glory is in shining his light, just as the moon's glory is in reflecting the sun without generating any light of its own, so we share in his greatness as we reflect Him to a darkened world without putting our own egos in the way.
Rejoice in your herritage as a Christian, and know that God is good.