The Real Thing
Do you ever long for the “real thing”, and somehow find yourself settling for (or perhaps even for some strange reason preferring) a cheap imitation? The current economy may find many of us “settling” for things in many ways in the “physical realm”. How about the “spiritual realm”? Do you “settle for” imitations in that area as well? Allow this word picture to explain….
Fresh Air of the Holy Spirit
One sultry summer morning recently, I was awakened in the early dawn, as our bedroom window air conditioner made its best attempt at mimicking truly refreshing cool air. Where we live, in the wooded foothills of Northern NJ, one barely needs AC, since the attic fan usually is quite sufficient, pulling in the cool, refreshing over-night mountain air. There is actually nothing quite like that sweet, clear fresh air....
For extremely hot summers though, we do have a couple of window units, for nights when the temperature remains in the 70’s, and there is no hope of cooling down the house after a full day’s sunshine has heated it into the 80’s or above.
On this particular morning, the AC tried its best to pretend to be refreshing; somehow, I longed for a whiff of that “real” cool, fresh air from outside. That prior night, and now in the morning there was nothing but warm, muggy air outside. On other days, it would indeed be possible to satisfy that longing by turning off the imposter AC, opening up all the other windows and turning on the attic fan. It would take some effort to motivate my pre-dawn sluggish, sleepiness into actually MOVING, but the resulting streams of invigorating, aromatic breezes would make the rest of that morning’s restful moments absolutely intoxicating. The real deal; well worth the effort.
In pondering that longing for truly fresh air “in the flesh”, it prompted thoughts of longing for truth and reality “in the Spirit” as well. How often do we settle for less than the best, less than “reality” in the Spirit? As believers in Christ Jesus, the Living God is continually calling out to us, offering His refreshing, infilling presence on a daily, moment-by-moment basis. What a blessing!
He cries out that He desires to KNOW us and be KNOWN by us. Wow, what an offer! He freely and eagerly grants intimate moments of true authentic worship and connection, wisdom and peace for our daily life. Interesting though that our natural tendency and preferred choice at times is to be satisfied with less…. To grab a few minutes of somewhat shallow, easy, safe and predictable “bottled” recorded worship, to quickly read a Bible commentary or devotional passage, or listen to a talk or sermon about God, but not spend significant time basking in the one on one Presence of the King of kings. We hurriedly run off to “more important” things, after taking a stale quick breath of “cool air” that imitates the real thing, but is not truly able to refresh us in our deepest being. Not to say there can be no connection with the Living God in such things. Yet if there is no authentic, substantial connection happening, He is surely offering us more....
Or perhaps we allow imposters, substitutes and stand-ins to take Jesus’ place altogether. We might fill our time with seemingly “good” things that steal away the time He had set aside in our lives for His “best” things. Worse yet, perhaps in an effort to meet our deepest needs, we use shallow and even sinful ways to fulfill those desires. The sweltering, exhausted places in our lives are cooled to a minor extent, but not in the deeply fulfilling, refreshing, meaningful and life-giving ways that He would intend.
Water of Life
After pondering such things, in my own personal connection with Him in the Scriptures that morning, the Bible reading just “happened” to focus on a poignant verse that approached the same thought in a different way. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2: 13)
Truly, the Living God holds out the Water of Life to us, flowing, active, refreshing, healing water to quench the deepest thirst of our inner man and to become in us “a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. (John 4: 14) Yet our natural inclination (wanting to have more “control” over things) is to make cisterns (large receptacles to catch and hold rainwater, etc.) so we don’t have to make the effort to move our sluggish, sleepiness into action to go to Him and get a fresh drink. The water in those man-made containers becomes stagnant and dead. The life they supposedly contain slowly leaks away, leaving our inner man empty and yearning for reality and truth.
Indeed, imposters, imitations of the real thing.
Fling Open the Windows
Are you ready to remove the “imposter AC’s” from any “windows” in your life, to allow even more areas of openness to His Spirit’s moving?
The cool morning awaits you, with refreshing, soothing breezes blowing just outside the windows of your soul. Will you choose to be satisfied with stale, re-circulated air, that seems cool but is a mere imitation of the real thing? Or will you get up, move your sluggish sleepiness over to fling open the windows, open up that Word of God, and let Him flip the switch to the attic fan, causing your temple to be filled with that incredible, real, true, holy sweetness of His presence?
This day, Jesus holds out the Water of Life to you, desiring to quench the arid parched places in the depths of your soul. He waits for you to come to HIM to be filled. Listen as He whispers the words he said to the woman at the well “…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.” (John 4: 14)
May the cool, crisp mountain breezes of His Spirit flow over, in and through you this day, as He fills your empty vessel to overflowing with His crystal clear Living Water, spilling over to the parched fields that surround you.
“…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 23-24)
If this discussion has stirred up any questions for you, feel free to email me back (lisa @ shiningriver.com, leave out the spaces...), or if you'd like to know more about coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, feel free to visit the following URL: http://www.lovinggrace.org/fellowship/salvation_prayer.html