Yesterday’s post was about trying to get at how you be both actively and passively involved in being filled with the Spirit.
That’s the crux of the issue. We are commanded to be filled – that’s our responsibility. But the filling comes from somewhere else – that’s not our responsibility.
We’re not supposed to live like the rowboat where the result depends exclusively on our muscles. We’re not to live like the bass boat, where we just turn the key and hang on for dear life. We are to be like the sailboat.
Thanks to your friend and mine, Wikipedia, here’s a little something about sailing:
The energy that drives a sailboat is harnessed by manipulating the relative movement of wind and water speed: if there is no difference in movement, such as on a calm day or when the wind and water current are moving in the same direction at the same speed, there is no energy to be extracted and the sailboat will not be able to do anything but drift. Where there is a difference in motion, then there is energy to be extracted at the interface, and the sailboat does this by placing the sail(s) in the air and the hull(s) in the water.
The forward motion of the sailboat is exclusively on catching the wind. No wind, no motion. And you can’t control the wind. You can, however, control the sail. Your job as the sailor is to tie the sail correctly. It’s to point the boat in the right direction and raise it up the mast. It’s to judge the conditions around you and make the effort necessary so that when the wind does blow, you’re ready.
Just is the case, it seems to me, with our role in being filled with the Spirit.
We don’t fill ourselves with the Spirit. But we do make ourselves available to be filled with the Spirit. We can choose obedience in the little areas of our life. We can spend time meditating on the Word of God. We can practice the spiritual disciplines. We can pray. We can fast. We can do all of these things and more, and when we do, we are raising the sail. God takes care of it from there.
It’s in this balance that we find the humble confidence of the Christian experience. We know we are powerless to do anything ourselves – that’s the humility part. But we are confident that God is exceedingly able to do more we can imagine – that’s the confidence part. So we raise our sails. Day after day. Time and time again. With every decision we make.
And then we trust that the Holy Spirit (which incidentally, is literally in Greek “divine wind”) to blow through and fill them up.
God only knows where we go from there.