Summary: The Bible says that the Spirit of God is the Person who produces peace and patience and power in our lives. If I want more peace, more patience and more power, then I must want an ongoing influence of God’s Spirit in my life.
This past week, my patience and peace were being tested.
Maryanne and I had gone to Texas for the weekend to a pastors and wives meeting. We had scheduled a non-stop flight from Dallas to Cleveland that would get us home at 6:00 on Tuesday afternoon. We had a great trip but we were ready to be back. We had rushed to get to the airport on time only to find out that our flight was delayed. We waited and waited. Finally, we learned that the flight had been cancelled and that we had just a few minutes to get boarding passes, head to a new terminal, and board another plane that would go first to Chicago and then to Cleveland, arriving at about midnight. Patience stretched!
I remember standing at the front of the plane to find our seats. And my eyes made contact with a man in first class. He had a look on his face, “You loser. I’m here where I can stretch out. You’re headed back into a sardine can to sit!” Peace going!
Maryanne has to deal with claustrophobia on planes. So, we found a seat for her up front. But we couldn’t get seats together. So, I made my way back. All the way back. To the very back seat… by the toilets. No button to push for the seat to go back even a little. No room in the overhead compartments for luggage. I had to put Maryanne’s bag at my feet. And the smell of the toilet filled the air. I had to sit like this… Power for Christian living disappearing!
I was on the way back from a pastor’s conference and found myself tempted to act just the opposite of how a pastor is supposed to act.
I’m guessing that I’m not the only person who found myself in a situation where peace, patience, and power flew away. Something this week happened to you at home or at work and you were worried; you were bothered; you were weak.
What’s up with the dove? Did you know that certain species of doves can fly at speeds of 30 to 40 miles per hour and get up to 55 miles per hour for short spurts? And certain kinds of doves will nest in almost any situation in any tree.
(Get the dove from the cage…) Now, what does a dove have to do with my lack of peace and patience on the trip home from Texas?
In the Bible, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. And the Bible says that the Spirit of God is the Person who produces peace and patience and power in our lives. If I want more peace, more patience and more power, then I must want an ongoing influence of God’s Dove – God’s Spirit in my life.
Is the Dove flying to you – 55 mph – to nest (or rest) on you? Or does peace come and go in your life? Does patience come and go? Does power come and go? Let me ask it this way: Does the Holy Spirit bear fruit in your life regularly, day after day and moment by moment? (Put the dove in the cage.)
An Extreme Makeover isn’t going to happen because we try hard. Back in February, we learned from II Corinthians 3:18 that when we “behold the glory of the Lord” we’ll be transformed “from one degree of glory to the next.” And the last phrase of that verse about our transformation says, “And this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Our transformation – a Makeover – is produced by the Holy Spirit. That way, God gets the credit, the applause. glory. We don’t produce the results. We just show off the Spirit’s influence. So, it’s vital that we learn what it’s going to take for us to be rightly related to God’s Spirit.
Let’s take a look at a story about Jesus and His relationship to the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him…
Matthew 3:16-17 (ESV)
The next day [John] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on Him.”
John 1:29, 32 (ESV)
The Lamb. That’s Jesus. The Dove. That’s a symbol of the Spirit of God.
Question: Why did the Dove – the Spirit of God – rest on Jesus?
Answer: He was fully surrendered. He had a lamb-like disposition.
If the Lord Jesus had any other temperament than that of the Lamb, the Dove could never have rested on Him. The Dove is gentle. If Jesus had not been obedient and submissive to His Father, the Dove would have been frightened away. Jesus was 100% surrendered to the Father’s will for His life. He rejected partial surrender.