This past week I went out of the country on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. It was an amazing experience that would take me days to write about, but I want to focus on a specific ministry God worked through while I was out there- my heart.
While on a mission trip you are immersed and pushed into nothing but the Lord’s work. You have no choice but to rely on the Lord and whatever he wants to do through you. You wake up every morning and go to sleep every night constantly fed by God’s word and surrounded by people with the same focus. It becomes easy to get wrapped up in what God is doing through you, or even what you feel like God ISN’T doing through you.
The first day I was very discouraged and couldn’t believe he did so much through my other team members, but I couldn’t think of one thing he did through me. I didn’t save anybody or heal the sick, I didn’t speak during street evangelism, and I didn’t connect with anyone at their youth service. I didn’t feel called to go on the mission trip by a dream or vision, and there was not any radical miracle of how I ended up there- and that made me feel useless.
My heart was heavy.
I reached out to others about what I was feeling and listened to a sermon my pastor preached, and God spoke. There’s only one thing needed to create a wall in my heart to stop the flow of the Spirit to fully build God’s kingdom and that was myself. It’s like building a house. If you aren’t filled with energy you can still do the work just not with 100% effort, and therefore you probably won’t reap as great of a reward since your work is done with a tired and lazy mindset.
You can be a Christian and still not be spirit FILLED.
The reason why I wasn’t “feeling” like God wasn’t moving through me was because my heart was so full of doubt, comparison, fear, and pride that the spirit had no more room to poor into me. I mean believe me, he was there… But my heart just wasn’t full of him, and because of that my flesh ruled majority of my actions. In Acts 4:23-31 we see that Peter and John returned to the other believers to tell them how they just had been freed from trial for preaching God’s word. The believers all began praying and singing praises, and in verse 31 it says, “After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.” Sometimes we think that in order to feel the spirit or be filled, we have to do, do, and do some more- preach God’s word, serve in the church, heal, read, do this, do that… But these believers weren’t filled by the doing. The believers sought God and THEN were filled to carry out the mission. Also, in Acts 13:52 it says, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
I don’t believe any order of how the Bible is written is by accident. The verse says that the disciples were filled FIRST with joy because joy is an effect of being filled with the Holy Spirit. This begs the question that if you aren’t continually filled with joy, are you truly full of the Spirit?
Yes, you can continue to live your Christian life not filled by the spirit and probably still get into heaven, but is that what you truly want out of your relationship with the Lord? I hope that when I meet Jesus it’s an embrace and not a handshake, a “well done good and faithful servant” and not just a “welcome to heaven”. The only way we can get there is through emptying our hearts of ourselves and things of this world and instead filling it with the Spirit and things of heaven.
So what are the bricks in your life that are building up in your heart to prevent a constant flow of the spirit every day?
Start tearing them down and allowing God to use you. Not because he needs you, but because he wants you, and if you don’t allow him to then he’ll find someone who will. Be encouraged! Don’t be a christian who is Spirit-less, but Spirit-filled.
Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”