Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I have a Matryoshka Doll (or nesting doll). I got it in Belarus. It is a doll in a doll in a doll etc. Each internal doll is an exact duplicate of the outside one. As I was looking at it a few weeks back I was thinking about my walk with the Lord.
The Bible talks about our created purpose to be filled with the Spirit of God, to show His life to others – to reflect more of Christ and less of us. That’s an interesting concept “to be filled with His Spirit”. Joshua was described as ‘filled with the Spirit” because Moses had laid his hands on him (Deut. 34:9). Joshua was amazing in all that he accomplished with God. John the Baptist on the other hand was filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). He was used by the Spirit of God to prepare hearts for the Messiah. Peter being filled with the Spirit (Act 4:8-13) astonished the people who heard him speak because of the power and anointing of God. Paul was described as “filled with the Spirit” as he exposed Elymas deceptions and pronounced the same judgment he himself experienced – that of temporary blindness (Acts 13:8-12).
I find this nesting doll interesting because inside it is filled with itself. When I shake it there is little noise because it is completely filled. When we ask God to fill us I wonder how much room we give Him? He works on our hearts as we allow removing jealousy, anger, worry, guilt, deceit, fear, rebellion, gossip, self-absorption, offense etc. And like the doll image within an image we start to notice as we downsize internally, there is indeed more room for the Spirit of God in us.
Why is it so important to be filled with the Spirit? I think the answer is obvious – to walk on water! I love the story in Matthew 14 where Jesus went apart to pray after sending his disciples ahead of him in the boat. That night in the midst of a storm, they see him walking on water. Peter calls out “If it’s you Lord, tell me to come to you.” or in other words tell me how to get to you. So Jesus says “come”. Peter steps out and begans walking on the water but when he sees the wind he becomes afraid and begins to sink.
Peter lets the storm fill him. You cannot walk on water when you are filled with the storm. Jesus walked on water being filled with the Spirit! Peter then cries out “Lord save me”. Peter suddenly realizes we cannot “get to God”. God has to “get to us”. He has to do the filling. He has to do the transforming as we give Him permission.
But where does it stop? How much is God satisfied with? My nesting doll always amazes kids and adults as I take it apart. It doesn’t hold just three or four or five figures but again and again I keep opening it finding more – each figure smaller than the last.
In His presence God keeps challenging us to give up more of our old nature, the self-centered, self-concerned, self-justifying, self-gratifying part of our heart. When I start to get down to the seventh or eighth doll I can place them back in the original doll and hear the rattle as I shake it. Now there is so much room, so much space.
So we walk with the Lord and some days we give Him more to work with than others. We mature spiritually and we can see the progress, sense that the Spirit of God is greater in our hearts today than five or ten years ago. But whether we are fifteen or fifty there is still more of our attitude that needs changing, more compassion of Christ, more thankfulness of spirit to develop, more joy, peace, more awareness of His presence than ours.
When I get down to the 9th doll, it looks so tiny. Surely it must be finished at last but no. There is another, even smaller exact replica of the first, hiding within. So I realize at last that there will always be, until my final breath, more of my heart Christ wishes to occupy. And I will gladly yield it for the opportunity like Peter, to “walk on water”.