Walking into Wal-Mart recently to scout out the cheapest clock-radio possible, as I was walking in the front doors, the joy of the Lord swept over me and I began to sing a well-known tune, “Glory to the Lord, God almighty, the earth is filled with His glory.” Clearly, the Lord was filling me with His Spirit, and it was pure joy. I do hope that you do live in a state where you are always being constantly “filled with the Spirit of God” (as per Ephesians 5:18), because it really is “the way to go”.
As I was walking into the Wal-Mart, on the “look-out” as it were, here I was greatly enjoying this song that was sweeping over me. It really was, in all respects (except for the cost, of which there was none), something like a “vacation” that I felt I was on. Yes, being filled with the Spirit of God is that good! Praise the Lord! In any event, eventually, I found the clock-radio. Then, as I was making my way back to exit the store – still being filled with the Spirit of God – I stepped through a small opening in which a man was working, and as I did so, THE SPIRIT OF GOD SPOKE TO ME TO BE SENSITIVE TO THIS MAN – but instead, I just kept on walking as though the man was not there!
Do you know what happened? Can you guess? If you guessed that the Spirit of God WITHDREW His filling from inside of me, you’re right! Then I knew I had sinned, by not being sensitive to the voice of the Lord. This forced me to stop and consider what I had done in not listening to the Lord. I decided to turn around to go back and greet the man. I made some “small talk” and made sure that whatever I did, I did so with a positive attitude and a sense of joy so that the man himself would be encouraged. Then I left. I did NOT, however, talk about the LORD!
Well, I would have HOPED that the intensity of the filling with the Spirit of God would have RETURNED to me, but it did NOT. So, I prayed to God and confessed my sin to him, and said, “Lord, I really should have shared Jesus with that man”. But oddly enough, though I would have liked to have returned to the man a second time and share with him Jesus, I felt that I could not because my time was up and I had to keep going forward. I felt like the Lord was saying to me, “You had your chance, but you really have to go FORWARD right now”. So I confessed my sin, and said, “Lord, I have sinned.” As soon as I confessed my sin to him, guess what happened? If you guessed that the Spirit of God INSTANTLY began filling me again, you’re right! Man, it was an awesome experience. I was actually able to walk out of that store, completely FILLED with the Spirit of God once again.
This was a powerful lesson for me in a few key areas – which are really repeats of lessons I have already learned.
The first lesson is that we need to be SENSITIVE to the Lord’s voice. If you’re already filled with the Spirit of God, and worship is arising from your heart, it’s a good sign that He’s with you. But if THAT is the case, then don’t expect Him NOT to speak to you and lead you to speak with people and have an impact on people’s lives. Because that’s the very thing that He wants to do, and that is expressly stated in His Word, the Bible. So when He does speak, through very gentle promptings, you and I both need to be sensitive.
The second lesson is that there is a WINDOW of opportunity in which we can sometimes “correct” our mistakes. I was able to go back and talk with the man, and it helped but I was still not filled after that. I had failed to go the step further. When God provides the WINDOW, USE IT. If you don’t, you may (and will, I would suggest) LOSE IT.
The third lesson is the fact that the window only lasts a certain period of time. This is “by default”. In other words, it cannot help but last only a period of time. Now don’t get me wrong. Some windows may last a lifetime. But other windows, and probably the majority of them, only last a certain length of time. If God called me to share the love of Christ with my mother, and I do not ever do it, and my mother dies, for example, that window is CLOSED. If someone has a leading to marry someone, and they procrastinate and the person marries another person, that window is CLOSED! (Man, is it ever closed!) Windows close and they don’t last forever!
Fourth, and lastly, is the “means” by which I was able to move forward. This is a very important one. Note that I confessed to God that I had sinned. And what happened? The joy of the Lord immediately returned! I was “free” to move forward. Note that freedom is not by works. This is actually a good example of that. It is by grace. It is obtained through receiving forgiveness. So if you have sinned against the Lord, seek forgiveness. Then you will have liberty. Once you have liberty, God may again lead you to speak with that person – but who knows, the person may be caught up in another conversation by that point in time, and so the window may be very closed. But STILL YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LIBERTY. So I must stress, that though you want to achieve your liberty by “works”, yet it is wholly achieved by receiving forgiveness from the Lord. Your liberty is obtained by grace, and not of works, lest any many should boast. This does not mean we can go on sinning and do no works. On the contrary. If we are truly repentant, it will LEAD to works! And, according to Ephesians 2:10 which comes right after Ephesians 2:8-9 which says our salvation is by grace and not works, God has PREPARED FOR US WORKS that we might walk in them! So I sincerely HOPE that you are doing your very best to “walk” in those works.
Have you sinned and done what is not right? Well, there is forgiveness with the Lord. Confess your sin to him, and He will gladly forgive you! The Lord has the most amazing life ahead for you, if you will but learn to walk according to the Holy Spirit and do the things that Jesus did.
May the Lord bless you today as you ponder these things.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)