Did your child just graduate from a top-notch university with a top-notch job all lined up for his future? I say, way to go! Good job! Did you just start up a great new business and make an unexpected profit? Well done! Did you just come back from a missionary trip to Africa and build an orphanage or give medical aid to refugees? Fantastic! Good for you!
There’s a lot of good done around this world from families raising responsible and productive kids to global relief efforts and charity organizations – they’re all wonderful things that make the world a better place. So much more can and should be done. Way to go to all of you, and yet…
The Spirit of God speaks in 1 Corinthians 13, about how even if we give all we have to the poor and use every ounce of our flesh to do good, but don’t have love, we are nothing. Just noisy clanging cymbals. God’s not referring to our worldly idea of love – He’s teaching us about a supernatural love that only comes from the Holy Spirit.
Our standards for being good are nowhere near God’s. I’m saddened when people are sure that their loved one is definitely in heaven because they were such good and generous people. Its terrifying to know that if they never learn the truth, they’ll only discover the day they stand before God that their concept of “good” was nothing but filthy rags. It’ll be the day of no return when they’ll be told that He never knew them.
You may ask, “So if working really hard at being good, to the point of abject poverty, and serving the needy isn’t enough for God, than what does He want? What about Mother Teresa, she’s in heaven for sure, isn’t she?” Only God knows, but the final writings in her diary reveal her bitterness towards God, and many doubts about His goodness and existence. She prayed a lot, but it seems she didn’t have that abundance of joy that comes from His Spirit. It seems as if she didn’t really know Him at all. Her church labels her a “saint,” but good deeds alone do not make a child of God.
God is so loving, that He made a way for us to live in real goodness, and it doesn’t come by fleshly effort. It comes from allowing the Holy Spirit to create something new in us. He clothes us in His goodness. Our flesh is basically good for nothing when it comes to doing anything of worth. Instead, the Holy Spirit gives us love that pierces through evil, that burns holes in problems thrown at us by the devil. He produces supernatural power in us to have love, joy, peace, goodness, patience and all His fruit to impact this world and transform our lives in a greater way than our flesh could ever do. Who wouldn’t want that?
But we can’t impact the world if we don’t let the Holy Spirit impact us. We have the opportunity to live in a constant state of communion and intimacy with God where no doubt or bitterness could take root, because His Spirit empowers us. We would then enjoy living a sacrificial life, serving others out of a love of obedience to Him. The Church of the Lord Jesus would be a fearsome and awesome force to reckon with once all of His people unite in this desire to live by His Spirit alone. So let’s make that happen.
It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63 MEV)