Were it not for the Holy Spirit, we would all be fools, sluggards, wise guys, meddlers, gossips, and liars!
(12) Do you see a person wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
(16) A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly.
Want to know what we are like without the Holy Spirit? Just read this chapter. It shows the natural side of our human nature. What the Holy Spirit does is He takes the unrestrained drive to control, manipulate, and conquer and makes us like Christ. He channels and focuses that energy into godly activities and godly characteristics:
- Loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and having self-control;
- we always want the best for people, and rejoice in their success;
- we are sad when they are sad and when bad things happen to them (whether self-inflicted or not);
- We do not repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good.
A fool who realizes that he is a fool and gives his life to Jesus Christ then uses the drive that once made him a fool to please Christ (with the help of the Spirit).
The sluggard who once did only what he felt like doing (which was as little as possible) gives his life to Christ then takes that desire to please himself and places it upon Christ (with the help of the Spirit).
The meddler who once put his nose in everyone else’s business gives his life to Christ and then begins to look for ways to be Christ to others (with the help of the Spirit).
The gossip who once took great pleasure in sharing privileged information gives his life to Christ and begins to pray for those people, talking to God about them instead of others (with the help of the Spirit).
The liar who once manipulated through untrue speech gives his life to Christ and begins to take life as it comes, being truthful in every situation (with the help of the Spirit), thus gaining the trust and respect of his family and peers.
We were never intended to be unbridled, unrestrained, and unfocused. Sin has stripped mankind of its ability to be godly. The problem is that instead of recognizing what has happened, mankind has reveled in its “freedom of captivity.” They prefer the chains of sin to the yoke of Christ.
For those who have received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are exhorted, with the major assistance of the Holy Spirit, to:
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And people wonder why we go to church–WE NEED EACH OTHER!!! We need encouragement, corporate worship, teaching, direction, example, inspiration, and sometimes rebuke, correction, and training (see 2 Tim. 3:16). Church is where we go to practice loving each other. Sometimes, it’s hard to love family. It’s still what we do, though. When it gets untenable, we pray and ask the Lord if we are free to go or if we need to stay and strive. HE directs our path.
Just remember one thing about church: It’s all about attendance. If we don’t go, we cannot participate in what God is doing through the body of Christ. “Isolated embers soon grow cold.” Or, “Isolated members soon grow mold.” Whichever. I’m not saying that we need to be there every time the doors are open. It’s just that in our hyper-mobile society, we tend to treat church as a convenience. Vacations, sleep-time, company, events, and a plethora of other things are given higher priority. Just remember that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also.” Matthew 6:21.
So, the question is: Where is your heart? At the ballfield? The bed? Work? Or, is it in God’s hands? If so, then we will place a high priority on being with the family of God.
Abba, I pray that all Christians will see the benefits of being part of a church, the body of believers that honors You and, therefore, each other. It’s tough, sometimes, but I learn so much about myself and about how You are working in other people’s lives when I go and participate, and I am encouraged. May we be Your hands and feet, Lord, to those around us. Give us discernment and discretion; give us wisdom and understanding; give us knowledge and prudence; give us insight into what You are achieving through Your Body, of which I am a part. Amen.