Run or Stay?
When I was in college I was invited to an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meeting. It was the first time I had attended a gathering of young Christians outside of church. I considered myself a Christian at the time, but it was more of a private faith. I liked the people I met that night. Then…they began to sing and praise God. Hands were lifted up in the air. All of sudden, I felt an urge to get away. “I don’t want to be a part of this foolishness,” I thought. I stood up and made my way to door when I abruptly heard an audible voice say, “but these are my people.” I stopped in my tracks and forced myself to stay.
I was reminded again of that decision to stay that night during a weekend retreat on the Holy Spirit last week. Most of the launch team for our new service was there. We spent a great weekend together bonding. Then we prayed that the Holy Spirit would come, and we began praising the Lord.
When the Holy Spirit shows in public settings like that one, it often presents a moment of truth: Who will I follow? It is tempting to run away. The enemy tries to convince us it is all silliness. “Don’t you see how idiotic they look?” At the same time, the Holy Spirit may be pointing out unresolved issues in our lives. We’re thinking, “no way…I don’t want to go there. Get me out of here!”
An internal battle often takes place between the flesh and the Spirit. We might even get physically ill as we engage in the battle. In reality, it is only a more intense form of the battle we face each day when we have to decide where our allegiance lies: with the world or with God.
I chose to stay that night because I could not run from God any longer. At first I felt exposed and foolish, but then I realized that God was not out to humiliate me. Instead, he wanted to use me. In order for that to happen, though, I needed to repent of unresolved issues in my life, and he needed to heal me.
Because I stayed that night, not only was I eventually healed, but I became part of family who nurtured me and loved me. Over time I had a new vision of myself: I now belonged to God and I was his child.