We seem to spend a large proportion of our lives recharging things these days. Phones, games consoles, cameras, shavers, ipads and ipods – everything needs to be plugged in and charged up. Even my wonderful Kindle needs to be charged now and then. There are trailing cables everywhere waiting for the next charge. And why is it that everything needs a different charger?
The hardest job I have is keeping on top of the rechargeable batteries. We have loads of things now using rechargeable batteries, and I’m forever being asked by my children for more batteries. I have two very useful battery chargers, but here’s the problem. It’s very hard to tell the difference between a charged and uncharged battery from the outside, and I’m always muddling them up. I know there are pretty straightforward ways of testing them and finding this out, but when you’re drowning in batteries and need a couple quickly it can be frustrating. I’ve now taken to using stickers on them with an in and out system which might just be starting to work.
Today is Pentecost Sunday. At Pentecost Jesus’ followers learnt a new way in which God could work in their lives giving them the power to do things they had never dreamt of. They learnt how to let God change them and work in their lives. Jesus had told them to wait for ‘power from on high’, and this was it! Fully charged, they went on to transform the known world as they spread the Good News of Jesus.
This morning in our church service we will be looking at being ‘spirit-filled’ Christians. And it’s occurred to me that, like my batteries, it’s impossible to tell at first sight whether we’re charged up or not, whether we are full of God’s Holy Spirit. It’s only when we test the batteries out, get them to do some work, that we discover whether or not there’s any power there. And the battery with little or no charge left struggles to generate anything useful.
Why do we try to serve the Lord in our own strength? Is it not obvious that we will see little happening if we don’t connect to the source of our power? The Bible says we should be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). And go on being being filled. Jesus said we should ask for the Spirit, and because we have a habit of leaking, go on asking.
In our recent series, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, we’ve been looking at spiritual disciplines for the twenty-first century. Like me, you may have been thinking that some of it sounded pretty impossible! And, of course, it is – without the help of the Holy Spirit. If we insist on ‘running on empty’ we’ll never be living the life God created us for.
The first followers of Jesus experienced it, but what is our experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit? I’ve decided that every time I need to charge up my phone (or something or other), I’m going to ask God to recharge me with his Holy Spirit.