Confession time: I do lousy at long-distance relationships. I don’t see you, I have a tough time (aka I fail miserably) keeping in touch with you. I envy those who phone, write, and travel in order to maintain relationships with people outside their zip code (postal code for my Canadian brothers and sisters). And it’s not that I don’t value the friendships. I do and I’m so glad when we have the rare opportunity to cross paths. But, for whatever reason, I pretty much tank when it comes to doing life with those many miles way.
Maybe that’s why something I read in the closing verses of Luke’s gospel has got me thinking. Because it’s a reminder to this out-of-sight-out-of-mind guy to make the effort to be working my relationship with Someone else who I never see. And it’s not that I don’t see Him because He lives far away. In fact, He occupies the same space as I do around the clock, seven days a week. But this long distance feeling is way too easy to experience because, though He’s ever present, He’s also invisible. He is spirit. He is the Holy Spirit, third Person of the Trinity. So this morning I’m chewing on the reminder of the Promise and the Power.
“And behold, I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” ~ Jesus
(Luke 24:49 ESV)
The risen Christ is soon to be the ascended Christ (24:51). Goodbye earth, hello heaven. Talk about your far away feeling. But though He is about to leave His own, He will not leave them alone. He has already told them that He would ask the Father to send them Someone else to draw alongside them (John 14:16). Another Counselor, like Christ Himself, to lead them into truth and teach them what they need to know (John 14:26). An Advocate connecting these pilgrims on earth with their kingdom in heaven (Rom. 8:16, 26). Someone who will take their discipleship to the next level–so much so that Jesus said, “Me going, and Him coming, is to your advantage” (John 16:7).
And this One that Jesus said He would send is the Promise and the Power.
The Promise of the Father. Spoken of long ago through the prophets as the Game-Changer. The Regenerator of diseased spiritual DNA. The Revealer of the Word and Ways of the Creator. The Reviver of those trapped in lethargic, two-faced religious rites. Through Jeremiah, He promised a dynamic given by which He would write His law upon their hearts (Jer. 31:33). By Ezekiel, He promised a new spirit put within His people so that hearts of stone would become hearts of flesh (Ezek. 11:19). And through Joel, God said He would pour out His spirit and give power (Joel 2:28-29).
The power of God. Such power as never conceived. The power of signs and wonders that testified to the truth of the gospel (Rom. 15:18-19). The power that raised Christ from the dead (Rom. 1:4). Immeasurably great power given to those who believe (Eph. 1:19).
Invisible power? Yes. But not unknowable power. An out of sight Promise? Unfortunately, for me. But not out of reach. I can walk by the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, and live by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25). I can bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). I can sow to the Spirit and reap the realities of eternal life (Gal. 6:8).
The Promise and the Power. It is mine by His grace. O, that I might nurture and know the reality of this relationship for His glory.