I enjoy reading Sports Illustrated magazine because of the people highlighted on its pages – young and old – trying to accomplish something. Did you ever try to swim across a river? Enter a Triathlon event as a fundraiser for cancer awareness? Run a mile in 3 minutes? Stay up all night over several days in order to practice staying awake for a long cross-country airplane race? Or win a professional sporting event or championship?
I am inspired when I read about people who attempt the impossible…and then actually do it. They don’t take no for an answer when it comes to doing the impossible. Like Diana Nyad, who recently became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage…a swim she failed four times over thirty five years before successfully completing her fifth try in September. She tried and tried and tried and tried something that had never been done before…and finally accomplished an arduous task that took 53 hours in water.
In comparison, many of us have tried the impossible spiritually. C’mon, be honest with yourself. I know that I have tried to live the Christian life in my own power, and I am sure you have as well. We have tried to witness to someone about Jesus without asking the Holy Spirit to help. We attempt to overcome temptation(s) in our own strength. We’ve tried to “get closer” to God on our own efforts and “goose-bump” feelings and not through Scripture and seeking the Spirit to guide us. We read the Bible like we’re in the grocery store checkout line because we’re frantic and in trouble (which is not a bad time to do it, by the way), as opposed to hiding God’s Word in our heart as the God-breathed love letter that it is. We even ignore God’s instructions to live the way we were created.
Read Acts 1:1-11.
Jesus warned the first believers of His in Jerusalem about attempting the impossible. Leaving His followers on their own for the first time was a scary proposition as Jesus prepared to ascend to heaven. He told them not to go anywhere in His name until He sent them some help. They were to wait for the Holy Spirit to descend and empower them, and THAT would be the signal of their readiness to start proclaiming the good news of His death, burial, and resurrection. Imagine the mess they would have made if they had ignored the instructions of the Master and tried to follow His words on their own.
Consider what the Spirit was sent to fulfill among the followers of Jesus. If you see even a glimpse of what He really does for Christians, you’ll recognize how significant it was for the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father that Jesus spoke of.
First, He gives life (John 6:63); Second, He guides us into all truth (John 16:23); Third, He gives power to be a witness of the risen Lord (Acts 1:8); Fourth, He bears fruit in us (Galatians 5:22-23); Fifth, He helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26). And much more.
We should not be surprised that Jesus told His followers at Jerusalem not to move until the Spirit came. Anything else would have been attempting the impossible. What Jesus was launching and sustaining was more challenging than what we read in sports magazines. Think theologically. Ask the Spirit every day to empower you for His purposes. To do God’s work, we need God’s Word, God’s power, and God’s help.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz