Yes. It is true. I am. Often my notes are written to try and encourage people to evangelize more, live authentic Christian lives, or come to repentance and faith in Jesus. However, this note's focus is slightly different, yet the call is still the same. I messed up today. I mess up a lot. Everyday. My flesh is weak.
At the time of writing, I had read a little pamphlet by John MacArthur just a few hours before. This was not the first time that I had read this little pamphlet, but I decided to read it again. God has given Johnny Mac a lot of wisdom and I often learn from him by reading some of his material more than once. This pamphlet is called Found: God' Will. First of all, I highly recommend it, it provides the BIBLICAL way of discerning God's Will, which, by the way, is a lot less complicated then we make it.
Now, within the pages MacArthur talks about living a Spirit-filled life (here I am a Baptist, talking about being filled with the spirit ;) ). There are two significant things that John MacArthur says that are at the forefront of my mind: First of all, he says that the Spirit-filled life is yielding every decision to the control of the Spirit. He then goes on to ask what the spirit filled life actually is. What does it look like? According to MacArthur, it is being saturated with the things of Christ with His Word, His person.
Whew. I see that definition and I look at the Biblical characters that were great examples of this and I find I am truly lacking. For all of my talk on the importance of verbally sharing our faith and socially living it out, I often mess up in all areas of my life. I am not perfect. Far from it.
This was displayed beautifully (or not so beautifully) several weeks ago in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I was with a couple of friends and I was catching up on a few things. I was in a hurry to get back home but we still talked for a few minutes. All of a sudden, a man in a dark van pulled up next to us and started asking us for some money. Apparently, he had his daughter in the back seat and he had to make it back to Fayetteville. He needed gas. Well, we now live in a day and age where it is rare for people to carry cash on them. I am that type of person. Sure I had my debit card...but cash? Nope. I had none. The Wal-Mart gas station was less than a football field away and I could have easily driven over there and filled his van up with my debit card. I could have driven over there and spent a few minutes sharing the Good News with this man. But I didn't. I could have let God use me as His ambassador. But I did not. My excuse: I have no cash and therefore I cannot. Sorry sir, go on your way. Sorry sir, I have the greatest News in the whole world: You can escape punishment for your sin, but instead of meeting your needs and telling you about it, I need to go.
Now I could argue, and it may be true, that I just didn't think about pulling out my debit card for him. I could argue that I wanted to be wise with my money- heck, I didn't know anything about this guy! I could argue whatever I wanted to. What I can honestly say, though, is that sharing the love of Jesus with this guy was not on my mind. It hurt me to say no to him, that was probably the Holy Spirit, but sharing Jesus with Him was not on my mind. If it was, I probably would have remembered my debit card. I probably would have driven over there with him. If I was truly saturated with the things of Christ, while I was filling up his car I probably would have showed him that he had sin in his life and needed to get right with God.
Some will try and reassure me: Matt, don't be legalistic, you don't have to help everyone that comes your way. Matt, it's really okay that you forgot this one time. Matt, you didn't have cash on you. [Insert your reassurance remark here]. While I am reassuring myself, or you are, that man still has needs and he has met yet another Christian who didn't explain to him the Most Important News in the whole World. And there is a chance he NEEDED to hear that.
I serve a God who is in control. He is sovereign over all things. That alone gives me the reassurance that I need. And while I did mess up, my prayer is that next time I will be prepared.
Frankly, it takes work to "yield every decision to the control of the Spirit" as Macarthur said. It's not necessarily the easiest thing to do. However, for the believer it should be a somewhat natural response in view of all that God has given us. As Christians, the importance of craving the pure milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:3) is incalculable. After all, it is only through reading the Word of God daily that we can saturate ourselves with the things of Christ. And while it is true that you, and I, are lacking we cannot use that as an excuse to cover up our responsibility. Our lives need to be full of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, forgive me. My flesh is weak and I am lacking. I want to be saturated with the things of Christ. Guide me in that. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, which covers me when I am lacking.
This is a post that was first posted on Facebook on Tuesday, July 7th 2009. It has been slightly edited.