Recently, as I was reviewing my earlier posts I realized something. I have been spending way too much time with other Christians and not enough time with my non christian family and friends. I came to this realization as I was rereading my post on the Holy Spirit and I came upon this line: without the Holy Spirit it is impossible to please God.
I wrote that without thinking about how it might sound to anyone who is not a believer. I don't know if anyone else noticed it or was bothered by it, but the phrase contains a kind of arrogance that used to bother me before I became a Christian myself. Today I'm going to take some time to correct my earlier post.
I don't think that what I said was entirely true. I think that it is possible do good deeds that are pleasing to God without the presence of the Holy Spirit. It would be more accurate to say that it is impossible to fully satisfy God without the Holy Spirit. What do I mean by that?
First of all, I'm definitely not saying that God does not love you unless you have the Holy Spirit. It is natural for people to make the leap from, "It is impossible for you to satisfy God," to "God does not love you." The truth is that God loves everyone. God even loves people who do terribly evil things. He certainly loves people don't know God but are kind to those around them.
What I am saying is that unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will never be free from the evil desires of our hearts.
A corollary to that statement is that we all have evil desires. I think anyone who observes human nature will find that evil desires are, at the very least, incredibly common. I believe that even the best of us have some thoughts and desires that we're not particularly proud of.
This is the reason why Jesus gave up His life for us. He died so that we would not be punished for our evil deeds. He also died so that we could receive the Holy Spirit, which sets us free from our evil thoughts and desires as well.
Before I finish I'd like to add one last clarification. I'm not saying that Christians are morally superior to everyone else. I believe that the Holy Spirit frees us from our evil desires, but unfortunately it doesn't happen overnight. Most of the time, being set free in this way is a long and difficult process, and there are often setbacks. But we know that God is faithful and we know that He will get us through it.
I hope this post clarifies what I said earlier. In closing, I'd like to invite you to comment if you noticed anything else on my blog that bothered you or that you'd like me to clarify. I would love to answer any questions you might have about what I've said.
The Saturday Monks Brunch: February 17, 2018
20 hours ago