the spirit searches

Buried within the wonderful promises of 1 Corinthians 2:6-12 is a somewhat troubling statement that reminds us of the probing and penetrating ministry of the Holy Spirit – “The Spirit searches all things” (v. 10) – my motives, my attitudes, my desires, everything. Like a high-intensity spotlight the Holy Spirit illuminates everything that is in my heart (and yours as well). He accomplishes this by laying the unchanging truth, which is the revelation of Jesus Christ, like a measuring stick beside my inconsistency and calls me to repentance and a greater dependency on his life-giving power.

That is the troubling part. God is on a quest to make us like his son, Jesus. As the old saying goes, “God loves us so much that he accepts us as we are, but he also loves us so much he refuses to allow us to stay that way.” That’s what Paul had in mind when he reminded the Ephesian believers that God’s goal was for us to be “mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13) Now there’s a challenge!

It’s much easier when we simply compare our inconsistency to that of others; then our sin doesn’t look as bad, or at least it looks normal. This is why the Corinthian church was warned against “comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

The only proper standard of measurement is Jesus Christ and that is what the Spirit of God continually points toward. It is true that he is the Comforter who is called alongside of us to help and encourage us, but he is also the one who points out the inconsistency in our lives (John 16:8) and challenges us to accept the grace of God that is able to change us. He produces in us an unrest because we know that God has so much more for us to do and, more importantly, be, and then he empowers us to attain those promises of transformed living. That is why David was moved to pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23, 24)


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