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“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” - Acts (of the Apostles) 17:24-25 (NIV)
There has been a lot of time in my life spent looking for things that are lost. Whether it be to find a set of keys, the remote for the TV, or our pet hamster, Ted, I’ve spent hours and hours on my hands and knees, squinting under the couch, hoping to find that thing I’ve misplaced. And the whole time I’m looking I keep thinking of this one fact: I could look in a million different places, but there’s only one place that’s going to be right. That’s a frustrating thought. There are literally thousands of places in my house where my phone isn’t. There’s only one place where it actually is. That’s maddening to consider!
The same is true with our pursuit of God. In Acts 17, Paul addresses people who have been looking for the power of God in everything from tiny statues to kings of kingdoms. But, no matter how hard they tried, they continued to come up empty handed in their search for God’s power.
In this week’s devos, we’re going to talk about where we actually find that power, what that feels like–or doesn’t feel like, for that matter–and what we can do when we find it. But today, I want us to just start with confession.
Where have you tried to find power, strength, and peace outside of God? Have you sought out what He offers through work, money, codependence, or self-gratification? Spend some time confessing that to God today and ask Him to rid you of those temptations as you process the devos this week.Share Tweet
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. ...you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. - John 14:16-17 (NIV)
I really love my wife. Like... a lot. I think about her when I’m not with her. I’ll occasionally stop and buy her flowers or a Mountain Dew when I want to let her know how much I care. I know how good I’ve got it and I want to keep it that way! But at the risk of sounding like an anti-romantic, I want to clarify something; I don’t know that I feel married. Yes, I love her madly! No, I don’t want out of my marriage! But what would feeling married even feel like? As I sit at the coffee shop right now writing, my brain isn’t swirling with this notion of “I feel so married right now!” Our love for one another is very real. But to think that it causes some vibration in my heart 24 hours a day is childish, and maybe even irresponsible. She certainly takes my breath away here and there, but it would be unrealistic to assume she’d do that every moment of my life.
And I think we mix this eastern mystic notion of “the divine is within us” with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and we manufacture this idea that we’re always supposed to feel God. In fact, I think many Christ followers spend their days in disappointment because we don’t feel Him or in delusion because we’re pretending like we do.
Why? Scripture tells us to love God and that He loves us. There’s never a promise of butterflies in the stomach or hearts skipping a beat. I have a great marriage because my wife and I are loyal to and love one another regardless of how we feel in a moment. Our relationship with God may likely be very similar.
Do you have an unrealistic expectation that you should feel God’s presence all the time? Are you manipulating your relationship with God to fit into that expectation? Spend some time today just writing down your thoughts to God without any desire or expectation that it will make you feel any certain way at all.Share Tweet
For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. - Philippians 2:13 (HCSB)
As I get older, I become painfully aware of things that I cannot and will not ever be able to do. I can’t spell the word guarantee without spell check (Dang it. I thought maybe I would get it that time). I can’t pour the right amount of dressing on a salad. I can’t pick out clothes for my teenage daughter. I can’t listen to Cotton Eyed Joe without pumping my fist in the air. I can’t see a white Ford Bronco without saying, “OJ!” There’s a long, long list of things that Derrick Purvis cannot do.
Top of the list, though? I cannot be God. Oh, I’ve tried. I try on a regular basis. I try to manipulate people. I try to create energy out of thin air. I try to control everything around me most of the time. But, probably above all else, I try to earn my way into Heaven. I think there’s enough resolve, work ethic, and strength within me to push my way past those pearly gates on my own steam. The very thing that Jesus put His life down for, I belittle because of some insane delusion that I have more power in me than He does.
One of my daily disciplines is to look to God and admit that I cannot do it without Him. Confess that I have nothing in me that compares to His presence in my life. The more aware of that I become, the more quickly I fall on my knees and give Him control.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” - 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV)
I’ve carried the same small Leatherman tool in my pocket every single day for about 16 years. The other day I was walking down the hallway at work and I heard someone say, “Derrick, can I use your pocket knife?” I stopped at said, “Of course. How did you know I had a pocket knife?” She said, “You always have one. You’re a pocket knife guy.”
I’m a pocket knife guy. Got a package from UPS you need to open? Apple that needs slicing? Tooth that needs picking? I’m your guy! I’m a pocket knife guy! But the truth is, it took me a while to get into the pocket knife carrying habit. And when you only have your knife with you some of the time, you quickly realize that the need for it inevitably arises on those days that you left it on your nightstand. So it becomes an everyday carry or a neverday carry.
As we talk about this idea of “power within us,” we cannot neglect the truth that God’s Holy Spirit does reside in us. His power is in us. But it is not our power. And, when we die to ourselves and give more real estate over to the Spirit in our hearts, we might just find ourselves walking down the hallway hearing, “Hey, can I get your help? You’re a Holy Spirit guy!”
In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. - Acts (of the Apostles) 14:8-10 (NIV)
My kids have become obsessed with the Google Home devices that we have scattered throughout our house. This last Christmas season, everyone requested one for their room and, at $25 each, it quickly became a simple gift that everyone benefited from.
For weeks after Christmas, I’d hear someone in a random room say, “Oh! I didn’t know Google could do that?!” That little round circle can play mad libs, jam out some tunes, tell me how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon, and remind me that we’re out of floss. It never ceases to amaze me by all the unknown features that are built into this Google Home system. It feels like I learn something new about it every day.
This morning I chose a random scripture that illustrates the power of God within us. The same power that was in Paul that allowed him to heal a lame man is the exact same power that is within you. Paul didn’t have 1,000 Holy Spirit credits and you only have seven. The Holy Spirit in 20 AD was no more powerful than the Holy Spirit now. His power is exactly the same.
The more you die to self and give the Spirit room in your heart, the more you’ll start to say, “Oh! I didn’t know the Spirit could do that!"