Updated: Jun 15, 2022
Last week, Mark continued the sermon series on “the blazing center” with a specific focus on “a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit.” He started off his message by sharing a vulnerable moment when he was preparing the sermon. He hit a writer’s block like he had never experienced. After some time in prayer, the Lord gently led him to the realization that he had not in fact been consciously depending on the Holy Spirit. He continued by sharing that once he confessed this to the Lord, he immediately felt his message come out like a flood.
At my Bible Study on Tuesday night, we had a great conversation about lies (abrupt segue there, huh?). In Ephesians 4, Paul describes what it will look like for us to attain “the fullness of Christ.” :
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. (Ephesians 4:14 NLT)
As we looked deeper into these verses, we discovered that the lies that can often “trick” us are not the ones that are obvious and blatantly against the truth of the Gospel. The lies Paul is speaking of here are “clever.” In the NIV translation, these lies are described as “cunning,” “crafty,” and “deceitful.” In other words, not the obvious traps that we are most on alert for.
So, what do my husband’s sermon and a conversation about lies have in common, you may ask? The answer is found further on in Paul’s letter.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11-12 NIV)
If you are a Creeksider, you should know that Mark and I both noticed that the numbers of people watching the service online on Sunday were as low as we had seen them since the pandemic began. Now, this is not to say that numbers always matter, but when you suspect spiritual warfare is present, they sure do. We both prayed that anything blocking people from joining the service whether it be feeling too busy or technical difficulties, would be removed. It made me giggle a bit to see the number slowly and surely increase as the service went on!
In talking about a conscious dependence, we need to remember the definition of that word: “aware of and responding to one’s surroundings; awake.” Or my favorite, “painfully aware of; sensitive to.” Mark has of course been depending on God as he prepares his sermons, leads our family, and by God’s grace leads Creekside. But I think what God was asking him last week was, “Are you awake?”
And I have the same question for myself and all of us who follow Christ. Are we awake? Are we SO awake that we are painfully aware of and sensitive to the Holy Spirit? Because the biggest lie we will likely EVER be told is that numb, quasi-dependence on the Holy Spirit, which we can all fall into at times, is as good as it gets.
Satan is smart enough not to tell us that we shouldn’t depend on the Holy Spirit. Those are the very lies we are looking for! Instead, he tells us that going about our days, half-way checking in with the Holy Spirit, will be satisfying enough. Now, we all know when we really think about it that this is not true.
But it’s a crafty little lie isn’t it? Because God’s grace of course abounds! I believe he truly delights when we check in with Him. He understands our humanity and how prone we are to distraction better than we do ourselves. But I also believe He wants more—not because He is a needy parent demanding our attention, but because he wants us to live a life abundantly full. Not just half-way there. He knows we are not enough! That’s exactly why He gave us the Holy Spirit.
As we go about our days, zooming, googling, cleaning, celebrating, grieving, and reeling—let’s do it ALL awake.
Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine upon you. (Ephesians 5:14)