Friday, February 10, 2006

the squeeze is on

In baseball there is a play called the squeeze play. When a runner is on third base, he will wait for the pitcher to wind up into his pitching motion and the he will suddenly run for home. The play is designed to surprise and put pressure on the pitcher and hopefully cause him to make a mistake.

Did life squeeze any yesterday? Did you feel the pressure? Did you make a mistake?

We have been speaking about life squeezing and bad stuff oozing out. We also talked of allowing God to fill us with His life so that we and those around us can experience life in all it’s fullness. So, exactly how do I let God’s spirit fill me and what does it look like when I do?

I know this is going to sound simple, but it is--you just ask your father who loves you to fill you with his spirit. “…And don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” Luke 11:14 Message

What does it look like? “…when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Gal. 5:19-22

It looks like love. Why does it look like love? “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love.” I John 4:7-8

I believe that our discussion about the fruit produced in us by God’s Spirit is crucial because it deals directly with our character. Character deals directly with our integrity, and our integrity speaks of who we are when no one else is looking. Our integrity shouts to the heavens as to what is really inside us.

God uses trials to show us what is on the inside of us, and that is the proving ground. When the pressure is on, and the world is squeezing tightly, something has to come out. Our character is much more important than any gift that we possess. As a matter of fact, if we are operating in the gifts of the Spirit without the fruit of the Spirit, we could be doing damage to the cause of Christ.

Jesus said that the Father has life in himself and he gave that life to His Son so that all who trust in Him could receive this life. As I maintain connection to Jesus, His life, the life of His Spirit fills me. God will allow us to experience circumstances that require His life. You can count on someone around you requiring of you a great deal of patience. This is the way it is--a situation arises where your natural response might be hate and then God says to you, “Allow my love to fill you”. Then, instead of hatred that leads to bitterness which results in death, you love which leads to joy which results in peace, etc…

Everyday we need to be filled with God’s life because the world is going to squeeze. If we don’t hold on to Him for dear life, then we will try to hold onto something else. And whatever that thing might be (alcohol, entertainment, sex, food, etc.) it has no life in it. Life is found in God’s Son Jesus. Only He has been granted power to give life.

Let the world squeeze and find Jesus coming out of me. He can transform the difficult moments into times of victory. When circumstances seek to bring me down His life will rise up from within me and lift me above those circumstances. He is my hope and my real life. May the evidence be plain today!

“Let heaven fill your thoughts…And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” Col. 3:3-4

Holding on because the squeeze is on,

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