Pentecost initiated the church itself, but also the dynamic of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit in the life of each believer in Jesus. The implication was that all the power and glory of the Kingdom of Heaven had taken up permanent residence in individual hearts, however needy, whatever degree of dishevelment existed there. The church was not (is not) any more perfect than those hearts that find life there.

I think this verse (Ephesians 4:13, TPT), written by Paul (and slightly modified by yours truly), expresses the Holy Spirit’s ultimate aim for the Church:      

“ . . . until we all attain oneness into the faith,

until we all experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God,

and finally we become one into a perfect [bunch of women and men]

with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity

and fully developed into the abundance of Christ.”

Easy peasy. No problem. Shouldn’t take more than a few months or so to arrive. Oh, wait. How long has it been now? Right.  Almost 2000 years! Hmm. Maybe this is a bigger goal than previously thought!

Two millennia later, we are less unified in the faith, still longing to experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God, far from representing wholeness in God’s desire for men and women, pitifully, a long way from total maturity, and still a tad lacking in our development into the abundance of Christ.

What should be our response to this depressing scenario? Should we bemoan our failure? Should we spend time beating ourselves up? Should we just give up? Throw in the towel? Or, should our response be to repent (think in new ways) and seek help? Again, Paul says this regarding his failure to move toward that goal: “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: in my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:24,25, NLT)

I’m so grateful Paul was honest and vulnerable about his faith journey! I’m sure we all know, or have known, a similar quandary. And the answer is still the same today! Jesus has made himself the Way and provided us with the gift of the Holy Spirit who is ‘able (and willing) to do immeasurably more than we could ask or think’ to move us along to the goal! To the work, y’all! Help is here!  PD

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