The Advent Part 37
The divided tongues as of fire were the visible signs of the invisible gifts of the Holy Spirit, which were distributed to all who were present in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. It was not the visible sign that was the gift of the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit Himself, because the visible sign, the tongues as of fire, disappeared shortly after they appeared atop each of them. The Holy Spirit, and the power thereof, remained in them long after the visible sign of the tongues of fire dissipated, in fact, perpetually so until the Lord called them home individually.
When Jesus came to be baptized in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. This was the visible sign that likewise shortly disappeared, but the Holy Spirit remained with Christ in perpetuity.
So what’s the point that I’m trying to make? Well, the point is a simple yet important one. We cannot tether our hearts to signs, but rather we must tether our hearts to the Holy Spirit, which remains in us and with us at all times. Sings come in various ways, and often times they are so subtle that we miss them, and if our focus is upon the signs rather than faithfully following after Jesus, we will grow despondent and discouraged because the signs we were expecting did not manifest in the manner in which we were expecting them.
The disciples were not gathered in the upper room looking for a sign, they were there out of obedience to Jesus, waiting patiently for the promise of the Father to be given to them. They did not know what form this promise would take, when it would come, or how it would come, but they knew that it would, and whatever manner God chose to fulfill His promise was entirely up to Him.
There were three essential conditions that those who had been gathered in the upper room met, three requirements that they fulfilled in order for the Holy Spirit to descend upon them, and I would be remiss if I didn’t cover these three things, if only briefly.
The first requirement that all who had gathered together met was that they had complete faith in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, and they were steadfast in their belief concerning His resurrection. Every single person gathered there knew what they believed, why they believed it, and their faith was grounded and sure and unshakable.
We can’t believe in Jesus only when we are surrounded by other believers, we can’t believe in Jesus only when we face no opposition to our beliefs, we can’t believe in Jesus only when it’s beneficial to us, or requires no sacrifice of us. Our faith must go deeper, and must extend farther than just believing in Jesus because our parents did, or because our wife or husband asked us to convert to their denomination before we got married. We must have faith, deep, burning, unfaltering faith in the Godhood of Jesus, the fact that indeed He died for our sins, and that He rose again on the third day. These requirements are non-negotiable, we cannot substitute them with anything else, and we must hold to these truths no matter the cost.
The second requirement that all who had gathered together met was the shared knowledge and realization that they needed God’s help. Their actions and their conduct during the crucifixion of Christ was still fresh on their mind, they realized their own weaknesses, their own fears, their own impotence, they realized that in and of themselves they could not stand, they could not be His witnesses, they could not face pain and loss and death without flinching. Every soul gathered in the upper room had come to confront their own weakness, they had come to confront their own failings, they had come to confront their own limitations only to realize that they could not overcome these things by themselves or in and of themselves.
They knew they needed the power of God, they knew they needed the presence of God, they knew they needed the Holy Spirit that had been promised to them, because without it, it was very likely that they would once more run away, and hide, and deny Him, they would once more let fear overtake them and drag them down to the depths of desperation.
When we think we can overcome an obstacle on our own, or confront the enemy on our own without God’s help, without God’s guidance, or without God’s intervention we’ve already lost, the enemy has already won, and it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves victims of our own hubris.
The third requirement that all who had gathered together met was that they were as one when it came to their commitment to Jesus. None of those who had gathered together were present because they were looking to exploit an angle, none of them were there to seek after their own glory none of them had waited and waited for the promise of the Father to descend so they could turn around and make a few shekels from it, they were there for their King and Lord, for His glory and honor, waiting to be equipped that they may carry out His command to preach the Gospel to the nations.
God knows the intent of our hearts, He sees deep within, nothing being hid from His eye, and this is why many who ask of God for the same reasons as Simon Magus, or Simon the Sorcerer did, only receive His rebuke and no impartation of gifts.
If we desire to serve God, it must be for the right reasons, with the right intentions and for the right purpose. It cannot be to further our own agenda, it cannot be to create our own pseudo-kingdoms, it cannot be to garner followers for ourselves, but rather it must all be to the glory of the most High God, the One who was and is and shall forevermore be righteous and holy and just.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.