When we live in the truth, as Jesus taught us [John 8:32], the truth will set us free, free from the rules of the culture, our own self-image, from all the “shoulds” of our lives. We don’t realize how enslaved we are to all the world’s ways, until we begin to follow the Indwelling Spirit of God who would help us to become the person He created us to be. Then, and only then, we are beginning to taste and see what true freedom feels like. There are in each of us talents and interests that would bring us fulfillment and joy if we would just adhere to our deepest instincts and let God lead us. That is what the guidance of the Holy Spirit is all about: leading us to the truth about ourselves, as we were created to be. He would lead us to our purpose, the purpose for which God created us. And as we learn how we are to bring God’s word into the world and to the people we meet, we learn the truth of this passage from Isaiah 51:
“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
Will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands (vs. 10-12).”
This passage promises us that whatever it is that we were designed by God to do will accomplish its purposes and fill our lives with joy and meaning. The more we follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the more we will fulfill our purpose on this earth and be filled with joy. For it is in our most natural leanings that we experience that joy, not momentary happiness, but true joy, as we connect to the deepest desires of our hearts. And we are adding our part to bringing the word of God to this earth and its people.
It is the worldly influences of the culture, our families, early experiences in life that become the lens through which we look at life, at other people, at the world. And it is this conditioned lens that has to go. I am convinced that it takes a lifetime from whenever we start listening to God to change how we see the world and other people. It is a conversion process from the world’s ways to opening ourselves up to the lens through which God looks as His creation, at His creatures. And that is that process, going from the very worldly considerations about different kinds of people and priorities in our lives to seeing as God sees with love and forgiveness and mercy, just as He applies these righteous blessings to those same people and priorities. And what a difference that makes in our lives!
No longer are we bound by the ways we were taught as a young child. We can see people without judgment, without prejudice, without writing them off, for they are all children of God, no matter what they have done, what the color of their skin is, or their education or profession. We can forgive others for how they have wronged us. We can truly love others. We will have been led to the very work/giving/thinking that aligns us with God’s purpose for us. We will be free of the yoke of the world that has enslaved us to the world’s ways. And remember what Jesus said about His yoke:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened [from carrying the world’s yoke], and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).”
God has designed a life for us that spreads His goodness, love, and mercy into the world and one that provides us with a partner in all that we do—the Holy Spirit—who carries the burden for us. And so we rest. We thrive. We find joy and fulfillment in the simple task of following the Spirit of God into our own true lives.
Questions to ponder over the week: Have I allowed God to lead me, to show me my purpose in His kingdom? Have I listened to His “still small voice?” And followed what He suggested? Do I live in the world or in God’s kingdom? To what extent have I left the world?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who follow His every suggestion. May we be faithful to God and to all He asks of us. May we live in His kingdom here on earth.
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