CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 1, 2023 – I don’t know about you, but I want everything God wants to give me. I don’t want to be like King Ahaz who was afraid to ask God for anything even when God specifically demanded that he ask – I want everything that God wants to give me. Jesus told his disciples that they have not because they ask not. We also know that Jesus had the fulness of God’s Spirit because he was born sinless, lived sinlessly, and was willfully submissive to God, and we know that Jesus knew his reward was waiting for him in Heaven, not on Earth. That’s what I want – the best eternity God has to offer me, according to my capacity and ability. I don’t want just a little sliver of what God wants for me: I want it all.
At the same time, I don’t want to squander my eternity by asking for my reward here and now – I want to store up my treasures in Heaven. I know God will provide for me here on Earth, one way or another, if I free-willingly choose to be willfully submissive to him, like Jesus was. I know God will provide, and I know God is generous in his provision, because I live and witness God’s generosity every day. I don’t want to worry about what I have or don’t have in the here and now; my sights are on eternity. Whatever God wants for me, that’s what I want. I want it all, not just a small portion of it. I want everything that God wants to give me.
So I’m rockin’ up to the spiritual superstore with my spiritual shopping cart and my spiritual platinum VISA that’s on God’s account, and I’m going to fill my cart to overflowing, because that’s what God wants me to do. That’s what he invites me to do and urges me to do. That’s what he’s prepared for me to do, like he’s preparing the Party Of All Parties. And it’s a big cart, my spiritual shopping cart. It’s not one of those little child-sized rinky-dinky models like at the dollar store, and it’s not a basket you sling over your arm. It’s bigger than even one of those big honkin’ Costco or IKEA carts, meant to haul gigantic purchases and family-sized packs of whatever. That’s what my spiritual shopping cart looks like.
Spiritual greed is good. We know it is because Jesus told us that we have not because we ask not. And when his disciples told him they wanted to sit next to him in Heaven, he didn’t tell them they were greedy and it was the wrong thing to ask for; he just told them it wasn’t his decision to make. And he also reminded them that the higher up they aim, the more will be required of them.
The higher up we aim, the more will be required of us.
We saw how that played out with Jesus, and then we saw how that played out with Stephen and Andrew and Peter and Paul and all of Jesus’ faithful followers who looked for their reward in Heaven, not on Earth. Once we set our sights on getting everything God wants to give us, the tests and blessings and persecutions follow like night follows day. These are the terms of the agreement. You don’t want tests and blessings and persecutions, you don’t ask God for everything he wants to give you.
The greatest reward we can get in the here and now is a close relationship with God and Jesus. There’s nothing better. Spiritual rebirth enables that relationship, which is why Jesus says we must be reborn. In spiritual rebirth, the spirits of the fallen world are expelled and God’s Holy Spirit rushes in to fill the void. It’s the presence of God’s Spirit in a soul that enables one-on-one communication with God and Jesus. Our soul was made to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. The spirits of the world that inhabit a pre-reborn soul are spiritual trespassers and squatters. You weren’t made for spiritual trespassers and squatters to inhabit you; you were made for God’s Holy Spirit to inhabit you. Only with God’s Holy Spirit in you are you healed and made whole.
Only with God’s Holy Spirit in you can you heal others.