I don’t know whether you’ve been watching “I’m a Celebrity get me Out of Here”? Many of you will know it’s about a group of celebrities going into the jungle, or in this case an old castle in Wales where they live in vary basic conditions for 3 weeks. They have basic food rations to live on and have to do trials to earn more food for camp. All of this is filmed 24/7.
One of the things I notice each year about this is in the beginning everyone gets on well. Everyone knows they are being filmed and are on display and so try to show the best version of themselves but there comes a point, and it happened this week, where people got tired, their guards slipped and you began to see real, tired and moody people because they couldn’t keep up the pretense forever.
I think there are times for us all where we rightly want to show the best version of ourselves, but we all too often do it in our own strength and it takes a tremendous amount of effort on our behalf. We see it too in the bible that every generation was prone to trying, and failing, to be better people and sometimes not trying at all and just getting it completely wrong.
Throughout the Old Testament we see God at work helping people to change and to do the things he wants them to do. He does this by filling people with his Holy Spirit. Usually for a specific time and a specific purpose – we see Sampson given great strength beyond human ability and Bezel great creative ability to name a couple. They were filled with the Holy Spirit for a time to do certain things they wouldn’t have been able to do on their own.
The Old Testament talks about a time coming when all believers will be filled with the Holy Spirit and having the power of God in them to change them and use them, not just for certain periods but from the time they become a Christian and forever. This happens at Pentecost- check it out in the book of Acts and see the transformation in Peter. But before Pentecost, God spoke through the prophets to tell them what he was going to do: Ezekiel 36: 26-27
I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.
I love that. The Holy Spirit makes it possible to live as God wants us to live. Not by our strength, but by his power at work in us.
J.B Phillips said: Every time we say ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit’ we mean that we believe there is a living God who is able and willing to enter human personality to change it.
What is it that we are struggling with today that we want to invite the Holy Spirit to help us with and to work in our lives? Spend some time inviting God to fill you afresh with his Spirit and then invite the Holy Spirit to help you in the specific areas of your life you need help with. Don’t just do it one, make asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit and for the Holy Spirit to empower, equip and enable you to be the person God created, part of your regular rhythm of spending time with God.