…but by my Spirit, says the Lord.
Most of us remember smiling at the story of the little boy who, when his mother told him to sit on a chair, insisted, "I may be sitting down on the outside but I’m standing up on the inside!"
Outside conduct does not automatically match inner character. Likewise religious activities are no guarantee of spirituality. Whatever else we learn from the illustrious experiences of Israel in the Old Testament, we learn that being involved in activities of faith is not the same as possessing an energizing faith that empowers those activities. Who would have thought that stitching tents and stacking stones would require the effective ministry of the Holy Spirit to make those activities acceptable to God? But that’s exactly what the Scriptures say about the building of the tabernacle. The Spirit filled Bezalel and gifted him with skill, ability, and knowledge for designing the tabernacle (Exod. 31:3–4).
Our theme passage for this issue of Kindred Spirit comes from a statement in the fifth vision given to Zechariah (Zech. 4:1–14). There we learn that the success of even something as mundane as a building project is dependent on the work of the Spirit and not on human ability or authority. The angelic messenger revealed through Zechariah the prophet that the only appropriate response when the capstone completes the structure would be the shouts of the people recognizing that the rebuilding of God’s house is the work of His gracious provision and power. God empowers people with His Spirit to do His work so that their work will result in His glory.
Are you answering the church mail? Sweeping the gym floor? Changing babies in the nursery, preparing a lesson, or researching an illustration for the next sermon? Why not bow and ask God to empower your efforts? Then like Israel of old we will see the results and shout, "Grace, grace to it!" (v. 7). Mundane activities turn into mighty acts of the Spirit when God’s people depend on Him and not themselves.