I have a regrettable memory of my first summer job. I had done something irresponsible but managed to get away with it. A few “white lies” (if there are such things) covered up my negligence. No harm, no foul. At the end of the summer, I moved on and thought it was all behind me.
A few months later – by God’s gracious pursuit – I fully surrendered my life to Christ. As I surrendered more and more of the nooks and crannies of my life to Jesus, I was hounded by that unreconciled relationship with my summer boss. Each day I passed that workplace and could not shake God’s nagging. I finally surrendered and one day went into my former employer’s office to confess my negligence and deception.
He was stunned. I was free.
Why Was I So Driven Toward Reconciliation?
In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus says, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Jesus connects the act of worship with the life of worship. And, at the center of this is reconciliation. But, how do we come to this point? How did I come to the awareness of a breach with my boss that needed repair? The answer is the person of the Holy Spirit.
We need the Holy Spirit to grow as disciples of Christ.
Followers of Christ do not depend on their own strength, intelligence, or even best practices. Those things matter, but only to the extent that we are filled with and surrendered to the leading of the Spirit of God.
- Jesus’ declaration of his reconciling and liberating ministry in the world was prompted by the Spirit (Luke 4:18-21).
- Jesus said the Spirit would dwell with and within believers (John 14:16-17).
- Jesus said the Spirit’s coming would empower the awareness of sin that destroys the world (John 16:8-11).
- The Holy Spirit would also give believers direction when the broken world turns on them (Luke 12:11-12) and the capacity to witness to the reconciling work of God in Christ for the world under pressure (John 15:26-27).
- When Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on his disciples, it is specifically connected to the arrival of his peace and the authority to be a community of forgiveness (John 20:21-23).
- When the Spirit was given to the church on the day of Pentecost, he immediately brings diverse peoples and languages together into a reconciled community (Acts 2:11).
- Paul will declare that salvation by the Spirit of God requires Christians to contend for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-6).
Can you see it? The Spirit hounds us toward wholeness and reconciliation and provides the power to live out God’s reconciling work in the world.
The Spirit hounds us toward wholeness and reconciliation and provides the power to live out God’s reconciling work in the world.
Slow Down And Consider
Is there any relationship or situation coming to mind right now requiring your courageous reconciling work? Might that be the Holy Spirit speaking? What is the Spirit revealing about yourself?
If the Spirit of God is prompting, then the Spirit will also give you the power to repent and do what leads to righteousness, wholeness and witness of Jesus. Your job is not to control the outcome – your responsibility is obedience to the leading of the Spirit. This is, after all, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:9-11), ushering in new life for you and for all.
Jesus’ teaching on the Spirit with his disciples in John 14-16 begins with their desire to understand more about the Father’s ways. Do you desire his ways in the world? Have you told God that desire? We must ask and then receive what he brings our way.
If we desire, ask and receive what the Spirit is seeking to do in us, we will be more whole and can expect opportunities to participate in God’s vision to wipe away every tear and eliminate all that destroys the wholeness of life he intended and will one day fully restore (Revelation 21:3-5).
We have been given the Holy Spirit to live that holy reality today.