David Platt spoke Monday night from Exodus 33.1-4, 12-18. It’s a rather dramatic moment in Moses’ and Israel’s relationship with God. Basically, the Lord has just extinguished the lives of a few thousand Izzies for worshipping the golden calf. In an expression of his divine sovereignty, he announces to Moses that he may go on up to the Promised Land, but that He will NOT go with them.
Platt shared about the dynamics of this encounter and related it uncomfortably well to the church today. Essentially, God told Moses that he could still have what had been promised but that God’s presence would not be a part of it. David shared that we too often crave God’s blessings rather than His presence.
What about you? Do you enjoy God’s blessings and crave more but wish that He would just leave you alone to live your life as you please? It’s akin to winning a shopping spree at Wal-Mart. We just want God to let us enjoy all that He offers without enjoying Him.
The sad thing is, I believe, that few people are even aware that they can enjoy God. Christianity for them is not about relationship with a loving Father. Rather, it’s a religion that needs to be maintained, kept up, and white-washed.
Platt shared that what we need (and what a lost world needs) is for God’s people to be desperate for Him. He said that we needed to be desperate for the Spirit. Like Moses, we need to say that we will not go up into the Promised Land without God. His presence is more important to us than His presents.
As I was journaling this a.m., having had time to reflect on the message, I wrote the following:
I totally agree that we should be “desperate for the Spirit.” Yet, it’s crucial for us and a collegiate audience to know what that looks like. For instance, while we are desperate for the Spirit, we must also realize that a genuine follower of Christ is…
- 1) already sealed by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1.22, Ephesians 1.13, 4.30),
- 2) baptized in the Spirit, (Mark 1.8, 1 Corinthians 12.13)
- 3) needs to yield to (or walk in) the Spirit. (Galatians 5.16, 25)
I think the latter is what David had in mind in the phrase “desperate for the Spirit.” For the phrase by itself is not enough to carry the day. Nor is the effort to be desperate for the Spirit. It must translate in our lives into a beautiful sacrifice of obedience to God’s revealed Word. It must be matched by a self-denying daily walk with Christ.
When Jesus said His sheep know His voice, He meant that they would recognize, hear and respond to Him. We must learn and acclimate ourselves to the voice of God above all the noise of our lives. This is being desperate for the Spirit. That God sometimes speaks in a gentle whisper should prompt us to live listening for His Word.
By yielding to His Spirit, we will be drawn into His Word so that we’ll become more acquainted – not just with His voice – but with His heart. When we seek to know Him – as Paul in Philippians 3.10 describes – we will be sensitive to the promptings and leadings of His Spirit through the day.
That is what I think Platt was getting at when he urged us to be “desperate for the Spirit.”
Practically, a person desperate for the Spirit will, of course, seek the Father in obedience. That is when the Spirit will produce fruit in our lives – as we yield our lives and bodies to His service. (Galatians 5.21-22) We will also seek Him privately and corporately (with other desperate believers) in prayer.
Platt shared about Jeremiah Lanphier amazing prayer movement/revival as an example of what it means to be desperate for the Spirit. The word “desperate” is such a good description of a much-needed attitude in the church. We need to be like Moses and with shock realize that God does not have to go with us. And we need to be so desperate for Him – apart from His gifts – that we will not move until we’re confident of His presence.
So, being desperate for the Spirit truly should look like embracing God’s Word, practicing obedience, and seeking Him and His glory in humility and grateful dependence.
When was the last time you were desperate for the presence and person of God? If it’s hard to remember, try gathering 1-2 others with you for a time of prayer and in humble desperation, call on the Father for His presence rather than His presents.