The Shape of Life
If I ask you if you live a life shaped by the divine power of God, how would you answer? This is a daunting question, to say the least. Perhaps it is also one that makes us take a step back and think about the life we live.
Many things shape our lives. Sometimes the shape of our life is from the decisions that we make. Yet sometimes our life shape is from the decisions that others make. However, our life is also shaped by what we surround ourselves with. We can certainly control the first and come to terms to accept and work around the second. However, it is this last one, the environment we choose to surround ourselves with that often shapes us the most.
The Divine Wind
Have you ever paid attention to the effect that the wind has on growing trees? Trees that stand out in the open often take on the shape determined by the direction that the wind blows. So, unless there are other trees around to block it, a tree eventually finds itself shaped by the force and direction of the wind. Once you consider this you can see the many trees that the winds of God shape. These winds also often determine a tree’s strength as well.
Some years ago, researchers in Illinois placed some young trees in a greenhouse. The first group was tied to stakes. A second group grew unstaked. And the third group also grew unstaked but several times a day, the researchers manually waved them back and forth. This went on for several months with the periodic measuring of the trees for growth in both height and trunk diameter. The final results determined that the staked trees were the tallest but also the weakest with a small trunk diameter. The unstaked trees were neither tall nor strong but most were crooked. However, the unstaked trees that the researchers manually waved back and forth each day were both straight and the strongest.
The results show that when planting a tree, it should have enough support to allow it to stand up straight. But in this to promote the development of a strong trunk the top should feel the effects of the wind frequently. This is also a practical application for our life as well, for the Winds of God’s Spirit shapes our lives and gives strength if we allow it. Perhaps we should ask ourselves if we grant the winds of God with a Pentecostal experience to be a fresh and continuing presence in our lives?
Celebrating the Divine Pentecost
Pentecost, what does this even mean, for it is a strong and often seemingly intimidating word to many people. It conquers up images of dancing flames and people suddenly speaking in tongues as the Holy Spirit descends upon them. It is the divine empowerment that gave the disciples the ability to go around the world, nation to nation, and people to people to tell the world about Christ. All this sounds a bit overwhelming, outside of this world, and difficult to understand.
There is a puzzling nature to the Holy Spirit and it almost seems that is the way God intended for our promised helper. Perhaps one needs to live into it, forcing us to experience the Spirit, not understand it. Yet, Jesus breathes and names the Spirit and tells us what to do with it, by reconciling the world to God and bringing grace to those separated from Him. These are huge tasks, and this is where we get bogged down.
Pentecost, itself, is the beginning of the church, the day we received the keys. It is the church empowered by the divine to do the work it was created to do. The making of disciples and transforming the world can’t happen without the Holy Spirit. We can’t do any of this without God’s help and hand on everything we do. The celebration of Pentecost helps remind us that everything we do comes from the power and presence of God in our lives, shaping us as we move forward.
Looking Closer at the Divine Spirit
But too often, we lose sight of that. Pentecost seems something of the past in a world where God appears more active. Life doesn’t seem like that now, does it? God’s divine power seems a lot quieter in our very noisy world. Have you been amazed and astonished by something God is doing in your life lately? Sometimes it seems those experiences are for others, those heroes of faith or those so wrapped up in the signs and wonders of life that they somehow seem out of touch with the world. This speaking in tongues kind of faith for most of us is mysterious and admittedly a bit supernatural. But that is the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps though, if we think carefully about it, maybe things weren’t any closer to God in those days than our days here and now. Maybe it just seems like that because they find a God excuse and explanation for everything that happens. What would happen if we decided to start looking deeper into the things that occur in our lives? Perhaps we would see too that the Spirit is closer than we realize.
Speaking in new languages can come only when the Holy Spirit descends upon us. Languages of forgiveness and reconciliation instead of hurting, anger, and revenge. We can speak with tongues of hope and joy rather than limitations, doubts, and anxieties. And it is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that love pours out of us as if it is part of us instead of accusation and blame.
The Breath of the Divine
Let us see clearly that our life comes only from the breath of God and it is through the breath of Christ that God imparts to us eternal and spiritual life. It is this breathing that the power to do the will of God here on earth comes. We can’t do the work of God without the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Just because we don’t hear a mighty roaring wind doesn’t mean that the Spirit is not resting upon us. He is as a breath and closer than a heartbeat, and it is only through Him breathing His power into us that we can experience His Divine empowerment.
Then He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”John 20:22 (NLT)
Like the winds that affect the shapes of trees God’s breath shapes our life as well. If we allow Him to gently stake us yet allow for the bending of our branches, we too become strong and rooted in the face of adversity. The church is as important today, as it was on the first day of Pentecost. It is by remembering this we see its importance and how it is instrumental to the purpose of God through Jesus Christ.
Looking and Listening for the Divine
God gives us the Holy Spirit as a gift, not to keep to ourselves but to help make the world into His kingdom. And as big of a task, as that is, the Holy Spirit is there with us every step of the way. He provides us guidance, direction, and inspiration along with comfort. It is through the Holy Spirit that we can move confidently forward through life for we know that we can’t do the work of God without His strength. Pentecost continues to speak to us today for God still moves and speaks but only if we are looking and listening.
Won’t you challenge yourself to breathe in the breath of the Holy Spirit? Allow your life to bend to the divine power of God through the wind of His breath by the rooted convictions of your faith. Seek your motivation in looking and listening to the world around you, finding God excuses and explanations for the happenings in your life. Lastly, find comfort in knowing that the tongue of the Holy Spirit rests upon you, giving you what you need in life to move forward in this world and the next.
Please continue to stay safe as the world slowly opens up.
Love in Christ,
Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally. Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do.Charles Stanley
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you allow the breath of God’s wind to shape your life? Have you looked lately for God-driven excuses and explanations for the things in your life? Share your thoughts on the importance of allowing the divine Holy Spirit to be an active part of shaping your life.