Posted by: karanoel | June 10, 2011

Boundless freedom

Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.” John 7:38 NLT

Life in the Spirit

A couple weeks ago at my work retreat in Pennsylvania, I was sitting in a session on discipleship in organizations being given by Ate Ruth, a brilliant Filipino woman. Seemingly unrelated to the information being presented, I suddenly saw in my mind’s eye a fast-moving river. It was so real, I could almost hear the sound of rushing water and feel its cold spray on my face. I knew in my heart that this mighty river was the Holy Spirit, who moves freely and powerfully in the will of God. I also recognized it as the same boundless purpose and freedom we have in him.

I think it’s no coincidence that the Lord showed me on my flight to Pennsylvania the way his love obliterates boundaries. And that I would see this river picture, which turned out to be so closely connected, while learning from Ate Ruth the importance of God’s order and ways in every area of life.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I have had to wrestle to the ground my wants, expectations, and understanding. It’s not because they’re necessarily bad, but because they conflict with what God has said. Resenting someone for hurting my son conflicts with the command to “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Walking in fear or anxiety conflicts with the scripture, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.” Getting frustrated when my circumstances turn south or when people fail me conflicts with Paul’s exhortation to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” The list could go on for days, but you get the idea.

Anyone who believes in Jesus will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart. This living water comes from the Spirit of God who lives in us… the very same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. What a staggering statement. Healing of mind or body is nothing to the Holy Spirit. Victory over sin is nothing to the Holy Spirit. His power exceeds our need. His wild river was loosed to empower us when Jesus, who said we will do even greater things than he did, went to the Father.  And yet, however true this is, most of us are unable to relate to that kind of resurrection power in our lives. We relate far more to our own limitations and inability to live as we are called to live.

The problem is not that we don’t have the power that we need to live an abundant, victorious life; it is that we have diverted the flow of the river. This mighty Spirit wants to move freely through our minds, bodies, hearts, words, actions – our whole being – but we have built up walls in our minds and hearts through our insistence of doing things our own way, our resistance to surrender, and our refusal to accept his kingship over our lives. As we yield to the ways that he has laid out for us and the truth he has spoken, the damns that are holding back his resurrection life will begin to leak, then break apart, then be completely destroyed.

The very good news is that the Spirit is so powerful, even a trickle is enough to eat away at the things that keep us from true life. Which enables more of the Spirit to flow. Which empowers us to surrender more of our own understanding. Which enables more of the Spirit to flow. And so it goes until the end of this age. So drink of his Spirit, be encouraged, and actively anticipate the great things to come and those that are here even now.


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