The Bible says that God has given us the extravagantly designed creation all around us to help us understand Him and how we can enter into a relationship with Him. When Jesus taught, He would often use parables and analogies using things of this Earth to help people understand spiritual principles. And this brings us to our Verse of the Day:
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
John 7:37-38 (NIV)
Water is the analogy. Specifically, a river is the example Christ is using to help us understand what happens to us when we put our faith in Him. John who is recording the words of Christ here goes on to help us understand the analogy. The rivers of living water is the Holy Spirit alive within us. We must be careful to fully analyze the illustration Christ has left for us.
We know one of the great themes in Paul’s writings in the New Testament is our need to live by the Spirit, to keep in step with the Spirit. He illuminates the human struggle to lay down our agenda, our fleshly desires in order to align our thoughts and actions with the Holy Spirit. Christ gives us the possibility of what could be in us if we submit to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a forceful river of life-giving power available to us. This doesn’t mean that we have jumped into the river to be carried along by Him. When our thoughts and actions do not align with the Holy Spirit, we dam up the river. We can be sure that the river is powerful and does break through the dam, nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is unable to move in us like a flooding river taking control of our life.
When we don’t keep in step with the Spirit, we reduce the raging river to a sparse trickle of water in our soul. We see this in those who have put their faith in Christ for salvation. They have made Him their Savior, but not yet their Lord. Rather than obeying Christ to keep in step with the Spirit, we let other things move us to not walk by faith. We doubt. We fear. We run for escape. We have a faith to save, but not a faith that lets the river run wild in our hearts.
To believe in Christ is to believe that He is God who is omniscient knowing the Way to Abundant life. To believe in Him as God is to trust His commands through obedience. To disobey is doubt or rebellion. These are the dams we construct within that shut down the rivers of life.
It is not one river. One river at flood stage would be massive and powerful, but Jesus says many rivers. He is indicating exponential spiritual abundance. This is joy unspeakable, love that never ends, peace that transcends understanding, power to overcome all struggles and attacks. It’s not a river, but rivers. How wonderful!
Take a moment and examine your own heart to see where you are not in step with the Holy Spirit. Do you need to forgive someone who hurt you deeply? Have you stopped honoring the Lord with your wealth, withholding your offerings? Do you let fear and anxiety control your behavior rather than obeying the commands of God? Do you gossip? Do you handle stress with continual prayer or lash out in anger or escape to your choice addiction?
Each area of our life where we are not quite in step with the Spirit, to be sure, we are reducing the power at which the river flows. We are surely missing the full experience of God’s presence and goodness. What are you missing? Tear down the dam and let the river flow.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
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