In my post on Simple Reminders, one of the comments was making time for God. I touched briefly on this on my post Revelations: Perfection of Character, but it was very brief and I would like to take a moment now and look at it more closely. The reason for this is that the message to the church in Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7) is a letter to me.
It’s amazing how easy it is to jump into ministry, to start doing things and working in the Spirit. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world to be filled with the Spirit and then see God move in amazing and miraculous ways. It’s easy to get caught up in the gifts and forget the Giver. Because all the stuff – the way we live, the ministry we do, the gifts we receive – are meaningless in and of themselves.
Repeat: the stuff – salvations, prophecy, healing, whatever – is just stuff. It means nothing without Jesus. (For more on ministry stuff, see Richard Spies’s Simplify Series that begins with this post.)
In the prophecy of Zechariah (ch 4 to be exact) the LORD declares, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.” Literally, the prophet is declaring over the construction of the temple, that it shall be built by the Spirit of the LORD, but I would like to add here, that WE, are temples and our very lives testify to the glory of God.
But even when we minister and live in divine power and might, it is not those things that matter, but the Spirit – the Spirit that is the Person of the Lord; His manifest presence.
None of the other stuff matters if we do not have our first love. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that all the gifts, all the stuff don’t mean a thing if we don’t have love in our hearts. Paul pretty much tells people to give up on ministry and Christian living if you can’t always love, and as humans we can’t always have love in our hearts. We’re flawed beings unable to perpetually sustain that kind of emotion, but Jesus can. And if He is in our hearts, if our first love is constantly in us, loving us, then we can pay it forward to the world.
“Freely you have received now freely give.”
Update: Richard Spies wrote a great post on delighting in the LORD that dovetails with this wonderfully. You can read it here.