Imagine for a moment that you have just bought a home in which to live. It's exactly what you are looking for. It's the one you have wanted to move into for quite a long time and then, suddenly, it became available and so you agreed the price without hesitation, signed the contract and moved in. You are the new owner. It's yours and now the work begins. You can see the potential that's there and now you can start to put your own mark; your own stamp on it. A new life has begun. But first you have to collect the keys so you can enter.
This particular house has many rooms and the intriguing thing is that several of those rooms have locks on the doors. A locked door indicates something hidden, kept out of sight except by invitation. So, here you are, you now have the keys to the house and off you go to get to work.
What's the first thing to do? You choose the most important rooms to tidy up, clean, dust, decorate and furnish with your furniture. There's a process involved in getting the house ready according to your own taste. It can be dirty, it can be trying and it is often quite involved even lengthy.
During that process just one problem arises as the work progresses in this house that you are (hopefully) still imagining. Now you are ready to begin work in the rooms that have locks on the doors but you suddenly realise that actually you have never seen the keys. You have the keys to the house but not the keys to the rooms that are locked.
What do you do? You ring the estate agent and tell him you can't find the keys and his reply comes, "That's because the previous owner told me not to give them to you. He felt there were some rooms that should stay locked." How annoying, how frustrating is that?" "Would you still have bought the house if you had realised that you could get in to the house but not get round every room?"
That set me thinking. "Was Jesus caught out by the fact that He only had the keys to the door of our lives and not the keys to some rooms in our lives which we keep locked to keep the hidden thing hidden and anyone else out from discovering what is hidden?" Certainly not! He knew exactly what He was buying. He knew everything that we wanted to hide but it did not stop Him paying the price.
He saw beyond what we may have tried to hide from so many people for so long a time. He knew exactly what was hidden behind those locked doors and, though it may have been a problem to us, it was not a problem to Him. He knew what needed cleaning. He knew what needed scourging and He was not put off because He wanted to make us His dwelling place where He could be totally at home.
I've got another question, " Can I truly say that I have handed over all the keys to every room (every hidden secret)?" Most of us, I think, would have to say that we still hold the keys to some of the rooms that now belong to Jesus. It's true that He will continue to live in the house. It's true that He will continue to work in those areas where we have granted Him free access to work in, maintain and develop them. But He will go no further until we hand over the keys to those parts of our lives that we, for whatever reason, keep closed.
Hang on, here's another question, "Why do we do that?" Sometimes it may be that we genuinely do not realise that we still have they keys. It may be that we thought (mistakenly) that if we gave Him the key to getting in to His new home that He would force the locks on the other doors. He doesn't do that. It may be that, because we know what's hidden behind locked doors, we are scared of what Jesus might think if He sees what's in there. The truth is that He knows already. The wonder of it is that He paid the price knowing full well what was hidden away. He has always been able to see beyond all of those things.
I've got an idea. Lets not hinder Jesus by quenching the Spirit as we withhold the keys that belong to Him. His desire is to fill us totally to the glory of God. Why not just take a moment to hand Him the keys you are holding on to? Now there's a thought.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
It was my first car. I had passed my driving test (first time might I add) & this was my reward. An Austin six with the bonnet that lifted up at both sides, running board & two batteries under the passenger seat at the front. I could go to work in it every day; at least I could if it would start up. Sometimes the starting handle would bring life to the engine but at other times there was nothing. Who cared? I didn't because it was my first car & it had air conditioning (by means of a knob on the dashboard which when turned would lift the windscreen up from the bottom & the outside air would rush in.)
At that time I was living with my parents in a terraced house & it was parked on the road in front of the house. Every night I would put a paraffin heater under the bonnet with the hope that it would keep the engine dry enough to start the next morning. If any health & safety person reads this please ignore that bit !!!!
It didn't always work & in fact the problem became so bad that I had to begin to park it at the top of a hill about a mile away to have any chance at all of it responding to a crash start as it rolled down the hill & I managed to get it into gear. It became quite a challenge.
There were other ways in which that car became quite a challenge. On one occasion I was driving when I noticed a funny smell immediately followed by smoke coming from under the passenger seat. The two 6 volt batteries had shorted & the car gradually rolled to a stop. I did manage to disconnect the batteries & prevent a fire. Those were the days!!
That set me thinking. Do you ever experience that feeling that your journey with the Lord has gradually rolled to a stop. When you were first saved you were fully charged up & you were able & ready to meet any situation head on but, over a period of time, it has become harder to get started in the morning? The problems of the previous day seem to have drained your spiritual battery of of its power & gradually you realise that you have come to a halt.
Let me encourage you. All that's wrong is that your battery needs to be recharged. I learned, over the next two cars that I had, to keep battery leads in the boot of my
car so that I could attach them to another car (obviously with the car owners permission & cooperation) if ever the same thing happened. The power to start the engine from the other car was transferred to my car & hey presto I was on my way again.
How does that encourage us? Well, the Holy Spirit is always with us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He has the power to recharge your battery. All you need to do is to connect your spiritual battery charger leads to Him. He will let His power flow through your leads in to your life & hey presto you will be on your way again.
That same power that raised Jesus from death to life is in you. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Church in Ephesus, did not stop praying that God would grant us the spirit of wisdom & revelation in knowing Him, that the eyes of our understanding might be enlightened; that we might know the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance in the, saints & the exceeding greatness of His power towards us according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead & seated Him in the Heavenly realm far above all principalities & powers (Ephesians 1:16-23).
So, how about it? If you are feeling good and your battery is well charged that's fine. If not all that is needed is for you to plug in to the power source; the Holy Spirit. He's always on hand because wherever you are He is there with you and, more than that, He's always so ready not only to charge you up with His power but also to keep you charged up. Now there's a thought
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
I was sat quietly reflecting on some incidents in my life and as I did I remembered an incident from my time as a delivery boy for our local butcher. He had asked me to help him to pick up a side of beef which I did. But, as I turned away, I noticed that my finger was bleeding quite badly. I had cut it on the bone of the meat we were picking up.
I went home and it was still bleeding so I poured a bowl of cold water and stuck my hand in it; hoping that it would stop the bleeding. It did but what happened was that the water in the bowl turned completely red and when my mom saw it she nearly fainted because she thought it was a bowl full of blood. That incident gave me a talking point for some time afterwards as my friends wanted to see the scar it had left. I still carry the scar of that incident to this day on the end of my finger although now it is scarcely visible. Please form an orderly queue anyone that wants to examine it!! It's the index finger of my right hand!!
I could go on and tell you how excruciating was the pain. I could even tell you how I still returned to work the next day. I might even mention that the butcher I worked for never even asked me if I was ok. But, in truth, I'm not going to because that could be seen as me showing off and feeling bitter. Anyway.....
That set me thinking. The Bible tells us that we are able to draw near to the throne of grace, with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). I don't know about you but that is something I have come to appreciate very much as I have grown in my faith. Why? Because there are times when I know that God's mercy and grace are readily available to me at all times but what I really have come to appreciate more and more is the means by which we can draw near to our awesome God.
Our confidence is based entirely on the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:9). It's His sacrifice that makes our ability to approach the throne of grace possible. It is not our own ability or our own achievements or our own worthiness; it is entirely down to the blood of Jesus.
The Bible tells us that, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. If Jesus had not hung on the Cross of Calvary; if He had not shed His blood as a completely innocent sacrifice for my sake I would still be lost, without hope in a decaying culture and a dying world.
But because He did I who was once lost am now found. I who was blind (to the truth of God's love for me) can now see. I was once far away from God but now I have been brought near. I was a stranger but now I am a son of the Living God. I was a sojourner but now I am a member of the household of God. I was unsaved but now I am saved. I lived in darkness but now I live in the light.
What I find to be truly a blessing is the realisation and appreciation of the fact that not only am I saved by the blood of the Saviour (it was all that was needed and enough to deliver me from the kingdom of darkness) but that His blood avails for me and goes on cleansing me from all my failures, inadequacies and sins. It's enough to last me my lifetime.
What is this to do with the bowl of water when I was younger and my finger dipped in the bowl? It has much to do with it. You see the blood that came from my finger was enough to spread through the whole bowl full of water to make it permanently red. On that basis do you not think that the blood of Christ has enough strength to cover the whole of your life. His blood avails for me yesterday, today and for ever.
Now there's a thought.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)