Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Enlivening Spirit

The second chapter creation account in Genesis reveals provocative insights into the nature of man: “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7 ESV). Man in his material constitution has a correspondence or affinity to the ground (Psalm 103:14), adam to adamah (Hebrew). From dust we were taken, and to dust we return (Genesis 3:19). But this is not all that man is. God breathed into Adam the breath of life. Adam became a living soul. We rely not on the dust for our life, but upon God, and upon His breath, or spirit.

In both the Old Testament (Hebrew) and New (Greek), “spirit” is a word that can also be translated “breath” or “wind.” When God breathed into Adam the breath or spirit of life, He “in-spirited” him. Apart from this breath or spirit, man was yet dead. (You might also re-read John 3, and think about Jesus’ illustration of “wind” and “Spirit.”)

Ezekiel 37 and the valley of dry bones also powerfully communicates this theme. What a place of waste and death! Nothing good can happen here. Life is long gone. But Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy, the wind (spirit) blows, and life returns.

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? How about the Spirit? I’m not saying that we ever completely lose the Spirit, but are you ever de-vitalized, dis-spirited? We pray for the enlivening Spirit to properly inflate our souls and the souls of those to whom we minister, as only God can do. No false inflations – only the real thing will do.

And when will the Spirit act? We do not know. But we do know that He acts in conjunction with the Word (of which Ezekiel was the mouthpiece), and we speak the Word to ourselves, and to others, with the expectant hope that the Spirit will soon revitalize and revive. No place of ministry or sin-stained life is too far gone. God can raise the dead, give life to dry bones, cause the desert to bloom, bring stubborn souls to repentance and revive lifeless churches.

In a deflated world, what a difference a “filled” Christian can make! That would be spiritual power.

Reading Assignment: Psalm 51

1 comment:

Jess said...

being "filled with the spirit"...it's like the Christian version of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!