Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Did you ever wonder how to become truly spiritual? Early in my Christian walk I often spoke with people who were intent on receiving powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit. They normally wanted to receive the Holy Spirit in a greater measure through self-discipline. Long prayers, developing greater enthusiasm, spiritual practices such as fasting, engaging in detailed Bible studies, all this would hopefully lead to being empowered by the Holy Spirit.
All these activities are great. They are certainly approved throughout the Scripture. We are to be zealous for the things of God. However, all too often, we think that by our zeal and obedience we will provoke God to do things. We may even think that we can require God to obey us as a result of our devotion.
In our Gospel reading from John 7:37-39, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit comes upon those who believe him. That hardly seems like something we would do. It certainly doesn’t seem difficult. Would we not rather do some sort of difficult task? Shouldn’t we go on a missionary trip? In response, Jesus simply says, “Believe me. I will give you the Spirit.” That’s all there is to it.
In our belief, we are very likely to end up doing all manner of works of obedience, spiritual discipline, and living a life which shows marks others recognize as the activities of a disciple of Jesus. But all these things are motivated by the fact that Jesus has poured out the Holy Spirit upon us. We are receptive. This is a true gift of God. We could never cause it to happen. We simply receive.
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