The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” John 6:63-64
If my heart could be compared to a screen door, the strong pull of the spring back to the shut position seems always to be to settle for the ideology of Christian theology rather than a present tense need and love for Jesus. What I mean is that my heart seems far more readily inclined to live “for” Jesus than to simply live with Him. It is a subtle process, really, and not something I deliberately set out to do.
Somewhere in the caverns of the mission control center of my heart, the daily briefing gets consumed with problems “out there”, drawing attention away from the problems within. The argument is not that we should all spend a little more time focusing on ourselves and a little less time worrying about the concerns of others. Rather, the misstep as Paul Tripp identifies it is that “Whenever you believe that the evil outside you is greater than the evil inside you, a heartfelt pursuit of Christ will be replaced by a zealous fighting of the ‘evil’ around you…reducing the gospel to participation in Christian causes” rather than celebrating and living out of our participation in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Here is how I know this has happened: I am spending more time chitter chattering about situations than praying desperately for God’s intervention, I am fixated on changes I would like to see happen in others more than changes I would like for God to make in me, and my hope for change in others or in situations or in myself becomes my strategic plan rather than God’s Spirit at work in the hearts and minds of His people, including my own. I don’t pray because I don’t see my real need for what only God can do.
So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. Zech. 4:6
I love that these verses aren’t challenging me to show off God’s power to the world outside of myself in new and inventive ways, but are inviting me to see my own heart’s need to have that power effect change within. As I increasingly trust Him to redeem me, I can increasingly trust Him to redeem the world around me. Oh would I chitter chatter and jitter less and believe Him, seek Him and love Him more!