David, the Holy Spirit, and me? (6)

David again
’… for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.’
Philippians 2:13 ESV

 

 


David was anointed by the prophet Samuel at Bethlehem to be God’s chosen king in Judah. We read (1 Samuel 16) that the Spirit of God rushed upon David and remained with him throughout his reign; the Spirit of God, for the glory of God, and for the good of his people.
By virtue of his natural gifts (under God) David may still have achieved greatness; but he could never become king according to God’s design, until he received the anointing of God’s Spirit; the anointing that would define his reign as king, and his life as a man.

Now, remembering David’s experience of the Spirit at work in his life as he described it in Psalm 23 and accepting that his experience of the work of God through his life was, at least in part, a reflection of that, what about us? What is the Holy Spirit’s role in our discipleship in this time and place? Are natural gifts alone ever enough to do the work of Christ in the world? Does our sin, grieving the Spirit, ever put an end to our discipleship?

treasure in clay
It helps me to recall that though David’s role and his reward, at least in this life, were diminished by his sin they were also, to a degree, and under God’s hand, shaped by it.


David was, at his anointing, and would remain forever, a sinful man in the hands of a gracious God; he remained a wandering sheep in the care of a faithful Shepherd.

 

Christians, spirit-filled or living in that fleshy state Paul writes about (1 Cor. 3:3) learn that the Spirit of Jesus, who promised to remain with them and to keep them to the end, still works in them to make them a blessing, to his church and to the world and, like David, they learn that their wanderings find them continually in the care of their Good Shepherd.

David, at his best, was seen and heard to be the saving arm and guiding voice of God for his people, but what will a spiritfilled Christian look like? Well, I suppose that, at his best, he will bear a strong family likeness to his heavenly Father, and so to Christ; but then, like David, no Christian is always at his best.

In the vineAnointed disciples of Jesus will learn, as David did, that power for service never rests in their natural gifts alone but always in the Spirit of God who works in and through them (Philippians 2:13). We will learn that ‘apart from him’ we can do nothing (John 15:5). We will learn that it is only by the gifts that Christ himself adds to us at our anointing, only by his own spiritual graces that he works within us, that we may bear the fruit which marks us as his and with which we may serve in the church and in the world for his glory; and we will learn, as David did, that …the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’ Rom 11:29

David, the Holy Spirit, and me? (5)

Good Samaritan

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11 ESV

‘Love one another?’ Sounds great!
But it raises (at least one) difficult issue.

Like any commandment, we may obey it or not;
and we are faced with that choice daily.

 

Will David, King in Judah, so blessed by so great a LORD/Shepherd as he describes in Psalm 23, hold those blessings to himself, or in grateful love and faith become obedient to share those blessings with the people his Shepherd/LORD has given into his care?

SermonWill we go beyond ourselves in love, as Jesus did, or not? Will we pray, today, not only that our own needs will be met, but will we pray, and work, to meet the needs of others too?

Will we be one of those sheep who not only look to their Shepherd to be comforted, fed, protected and led themselves, but also pray, and work, towards becoming, more and more, ones who comfort, feed, protect and lead others; however wayward, dirty, unattractive or demanding, the other sheep may be whom God has given into our care?

On one occasion a man asked Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Jesus) said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”  And (the man) answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  And (Jesus) said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

Will we live out the life God gives us, loving others? Or will we try to hold in the life he gives us and discover for ourselves the truth that when we keep life for ourselves, we lose it.

Jesus thirstsThis choice becomes most difficult whenever our own needs seem to be left unmet; when we feel perhaps forgotten by our shepherd ourselves. How, at any time, but particularly then, can we make the choice to go beyond ourselves, day by day?  Where do we find, then, not only the strength, but even the desire, to live this life that Jesus calls us to?

Remember Jesus’ words to the woman he met at Sychar beside Jacob’s well?

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Compare that with this other statement Jesus made.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38 ESV)

living water shared
The over-flowing love that Jesus calls us to becomes possible only when we live filled up with him, constantly receiving him, submissively believing that he, himself, will meet our needs and then will flow through us  himself, enabling us to love others in his name too.

 

He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3 ESV