This post is inspired by a recent mechanical mishap we had with our car. If you know more about cars than me, which evidently is not very hard, then it won’t take you long to figure out what was wrong with the car from the following description:
It started out with a whirring noise changing between lower gears. Then it got worse. The whirring became a scraping kind of rattle. It got louder and lasted longer. Then there was a clunk. We bit the bullet and took the car in, hoping it wasn’t going to cost too much to fix.
The mechanic was very kind. He asked me how long since we’d had the car serviced (not that long, incidentally). He told me there was virtually no oil left in the car and gently reminded me that checking and topping up the oil regularly is much less expensive than replacing engine parts. I felt relieved. And a bit silly.
We had forgotten to check the oil. For ages. The oil got so low that the engine, which was actually fine, became noisy and clunky with nothing to lubricate the the moving parts. After its service the car sounded great. So smooth. No rattles, no scraping. Just sounding like a well-oiled engine should.
I was reminded of how much I need the presence of God in my life.
Without His Spirit working in me I become spiritually dry and clunky. Without the anointing leading worship becomes hard work and I become discouraged. Without tuning my spirit into the Holy Spirit even reading the Bible feels like eating paper. When I become disconnected with God it affects the way I relate to people. I don’t handle things as well. Eventually I become disillusioned and I don’t even feel like going to church anymore.
I have learned to make an effort to stay connected with God. I remind myself that God is with me. I make myself aware of His presence. I ask Him to speak to me. I thank Him and praise Him and worship Him. I talk to Him. I ask Him to fill me afresh with His anointing oil. And I know I need to keep doing this all the time. I can’t stop. Because I need Him. And because I love Him.
I love feeling His closeness. I love knowing He is leading me. Things happen in my life that could not happen without His Spirit. I can lead worship and come away feeling energised even when I’m physically exhausted. I can read the Bible and be inspired to live it out. I can speak to people and know that I’ve said the right thing. I’m still not perfect, but He is perfecting me, and the closer I get to Him the better He can work in me. (I love how the book of Colossians speaks about being in Christ, and how our state of holiness comes from our continuing in our faith in Christ.)
With the Spirit of God as the oil in my metaphorical engine I know that even though I have a few issues that need work (probably sooner rather than later), instead of odd rattles I can have the joy of the Lord, and instead of clunking noises I have the peace of God.
‘The work which His presence within accomplishes’
There is so much to be said from the Bible about abiding in Christ, living in the Spirit, and dwelling in the presence of God, but for now I’ll leave you with this:
Galatians 5:22, 23 – it’s a scripture that most of us have heard many times, but what’s caught my attention lately is the way the Amplified Bible describes ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ as being ‘the work which His presence within accomplishes’, meaning that all those attributes to which we aspire come from being in the presence of God. Not from ourselves, but from His presence in us.
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. Galatians 5:22, 23 AMP