The last couple years I’ve enjoyed fishing for steelhead (lake run rainbow trout) in the fall. Even more, I’ve enjoyed learning how to catch them fly fishing. Fortunately, I’ve had a great teacher. He taught me how to “feel strikes”, to “strip wooly buggers”, and to skitter “dries” across the surface for explosive strikes. What a blast!
My point is that it was my teacher who made it possible for me to do something I could not do on my own. And it seems to me that is also the underlying point in today’s reading: through the Holy Spirit, God is able to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
This may sound simple, and probably is. But it raises the question: What are we allowing God to do for and through us? What are we doing in our lives and in our churches that takes us beyond what we could do in our own natural capacities? Verse 5 really jumps out at me; where are we allowing the Spirit to work miracles today?
So, simple though the thought may be, it seems important that we ask questions like these. How is God shaping our lives and churches, even as He shaped personal lives and public communities in ages past? Where are we relying completely on God so that He can do in our life and churches that which only He can do? What is there, both in our experience and in what we offer others, that goes beyond modern psychology, the culture of success, and self help of the world around us?
If we don’t take the time to answer questions like these, we’ll find ourselves settling for the “curse” of human achievement rather than blessing of living life in the power of the Spirit.