Zechariah 4:5-6 “Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
We often seek tangible evidence to define our existence.
Think about it…
A teacher will justify their effectiveness by the grades of their students.
An employee will use productivity as a metric with which to measure their worth to their company.
Construction workers by the things they build; carpenters by the perfection of their craft and musicians by the perfection with which they play.
We, who name the name of Jesus Christ, have been duped by our enemy into thinking that the tangible is all we have to judge our effectiveness as a servant of the most High God.
Before we go any further, I aim for no other scrutiny to be placed but that which is personal and individual. For me to look beyond my own house would put me in line as a critic and open myself to the same scrutiny that I would put others through. No, the view this morning is very personal.
As I read; “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” I am brought to view my life with the perspective:
‘How have I allowed the Holy Spirit of God to reveal Himself in me and in doing so, am I becoming more and more like my Savior – the Lord Jesus Christ?’
Simply – am I an obedient child of God to the leading of His Spirit in me?
Psalms 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”
Luke 12:11-12 “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
You and I have no excuse as to why we do not walk as we ought; talk as we ought and act as we should. Our Heavenly Father has provided everything for us to become more and more like His Son Jesus.
Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Before I was born, my Father set my path; established my goings; provided, protected, empowered every step I would take. It is what I was created for:
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
After having ministered in nursing homes I have seen and heard this statement: “As we age, we become more ‘unfiltered’.” To some extent, I believe that is true. But it caused me to think;
“If my filter were to be removed, what would it reveal?”
I know the Word of God says:
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
This is God’s filter for my heart. Because I know as well:
Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Any cause for personal introspection cannot start with the outward inspection of the fruit but begins with a ‘checkup’ of the heart. The fruit is only a product of what is going on inside.
Struggle with your speech and bad language? Those things were going on in your heart long before it ‘slipped’ out.
Acting our any anger, judgment, criticism, sarcasm, condescention, prejudice, immorality or sin only reveals what is overflowing in our heart. The fruit of our actions is a good judge as to where I need to begin. For instance:
Frustration shows a lack of peace on the inside; the evidence of unmet expectations.
It’s not the person that cut you off in traffic, it is that we allow others to control our actions and reactions. When the sweet Spirit of God has control of me, my thoughts might be of that person’s state for why they are late and swerving through traffic endangering others.
Initially, I may take it personally. But, if I think what caused a person to act a certain way; say a certain thing, or wound me without giving any thought as to how I might feel… I can allow compassion, mercy and even forgiveness to come out instead of hurtful words, anger or worse – revenge or violence.
You see that ‘tangible evidence’ becomes a signal to look deeper; explore into the ‘why’ we did what we did; said what we said; or went where we went.
“If my filter were to be removed, what would people see? What would they hear? Where would they see me go?”
Peel away the outward veneer of my life and I would hope that you would find more of Jesus in me than more of the carnal, fleshly Paul that exists.
I was challenged today when I read:
“…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
I am brought back to the simple truth that the more I listen and obey the Holy Spirit of God, the more like Jesus I will become. If that is what is in me, removing the filter will only reveal more of Jesus – not a more carnal version of me.
Thank God for His longsuffering, mercy, grace and forgiveness! Without it, I would never survive.