Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Remember the Spirit

For me, there's a fine line between wisdom and cynicism. Wisdom says, "If I walk under that tree, a bird might relieve itself on me." Cynicism says, "The bird will." (Kind of a Murphy's Law way-of-life.)

I've struggled between the two lately. I've often waivered dangerously close to pessimism, preferring to call myself a realist. But when the well is as dry as it's been for me spiritually over the last couple of months, I find myself less realistic and more un-optimistic.

I can't really put my finger on when or why this drought started. Definitely after Easter. Maybe that's the way the disciples felt. The glory and thrill of Christ's Resurrection was followed by the cold reality of living without his daily presence. Jesus knew how desperately they (and we) would need the Spirit. He said, "the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (John 14:26).

My problem is failing to remember he's even there -- which is an indictment on myself. Paul was writing to the Galatians and to me when he said: "Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?" (3:2-4).

Unfortunately, in my life and practice, too often the Spirit is waiting for me to surrender to him, let him take my thoughts and make them practical, Christ-like actions. Instead, I'm trying to muster up "holiness" in my own efforts. How vain, how foolish.

I think it's interesting that Jesus' next statement after assuring us of the presence of the Spirit, is, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

I doubt Jesus' statements were coincidental in arrangement. Probably if I'd remember have the option of consulting the Spirit and let him have control of my thoughts about and reactions to life, then maybe the line between wisdom and cynicsm wouldn't be so fine for me and peace would be much less elusive. And even if the bird in the tree relieves itself on me, I'll receive it with laughter and chalk one up for the bird (and immediately go shower).

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