Tag Archives: HolySpirit

Why Them?

For this is what the high and lofty One says—  he who lives forever, whose name is holy:  “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. – Isaiah 57:15 (NIV)

If you grasp this one verse, you are well on your way to understanding the whole Bible.  We’ve been chewing on it at some length.  This time, let’s go deeper on the words, “lowly and contrite.”  Show of hands: do you identify yourself with either of these words?  Probably not, but we might want to reconsider, because God, the One Who lives beyond time and space, says He will “live” with the person who is “contrite and lowly in spirit.”  He says He will bring that person to life.

As amazing as it is that the God of the Universe would pay any attention to our tiny planet, it is even more astonishing that He would come to live in some of the humans by connecting them with His Spirit.  And who does He choose for such an amazing gift?  Not the religious or the good, not the famous or the wealthy, not the powerful or the high born.  He chooses the lowly in spirit, the contrite.  Why them?  They know they need Him.

On a hot, breezy day at the lake, I noticed some people who were trying to go sailing in a rental boat, but who obviously knew nothing about how to do it.  They were getting tangled up in the lines, the sail was flapping around dangerously and the boat was drifting in toward some rocks.  I ran down to see if I could help, but they wanted no part of anything I had to offer.  “Mind your own business; we’ve got this!”

God does more than help people; He hooks them up to His Spirit and lives in them, as He designed for them to be.  He not only sets their sails, but gets in and skippers.  But only for those who know they haven’t “got this.”  When our attitude toward God is, “I’m doing pretty well, but I’ll give You a shout if I get in trouble,” we are not ready for His Spirit to move in.  But the lowly know; the contrite are ready.  Those who think they are doing pretty well and are improving, don’t have any clue of God’s perfect righteousness, nor of the fact that being “good enough for God” means scoring 100%.  If that sounds extreme, ask yourself how much spit you would tolerate in a strawberry milkshake?  How much cancer is too much?

Perfect score?  Impossible!  Prezactly, but there is a solution – for the lowly and the contrite, for those who know in their bones they need God.  For the lowly, God comes and lives in their souls by His Spirit.  That’s why Jesus said this:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   Blessed are those who mourn,  for they will be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Matthew 5:3-6 (NIV)

Confused?  Try reading these posts in order.  There is a button on the top menu for that.  And thank you for stopping by here!  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, questions and suggestions.

Righteousness Ain’t No Church Lady

When jazz musicians use the term, righteous, they are describing music that is harmonious, in a groove, following the established principles or rules of music but using those rules to launch a new, delightful and creative line of music that is a real treat to the ear and soul of the listener.  Sadly, when the terms, righteous or righteousness, are applied to a Christian context, too often the associations made are more about the uptight “Church Lady” from Saturday Night Live.

Dana Carvey as The Church Lady

Dana Carvey as The Church Lady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is nothing righteous about being a prude.  Religious, frowny-faced, so-called righteousness stems from the impossible attempt to be good enough for God.  As we have  discussed in the previous posts it is impossible for us humans to act in harmonious, righteous ways with God when we are disconnected from His Spirit.  You cannot harmonize with music you can’t hear.

But when God “lives with” a person (Isaiah 57:15), He establishes the connection with His Spirit.  He does so to “revive” him, to bring him to life in a new way, thus enabling him to live with the best and most beautiful kind of righteousness.   Righteousness does not come from human effort; it is a gift from God.  Here is how Paul explained it:

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:21-22a

Paraphrased, this says that the ability and tendency to live in tune with God’s beautiful music comes from Him, the Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets) explained had to happen.  This harmonious and beautiful capacity, righteousness, comes as a gift to those who put their faith in Jesus.  Paul describes it later as “walking in the newness of life.”(Romans 6:5)

See dat?  This is the exact opposite of the commonly held notion of what happens to a person who trusts Jesus.  You don’t become an uptight, holier-than-thou, pinched-face church lady.  That’s not real righteousness.  Instead, you discover a new life from God that emerges from inside, with increasing righteousness – in the jazz sense of the word!

 (To read these posts in a logical order, click on the “New Here?” page above, or on THIS LINK)