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- Jacob Ninan
One day Jesus shouted aloud saying that whoever believed in Him, out of his innermost being rivers of living water would flow out (Jn.7:37-39). John clarifies that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit who would be given after Jesus was glorified. Jesus told the Samaritan woman also that the water He gave would become springs of living water coming from the innermost being (Jn.4:14). What we do in the strength and anointing of the Holy Spirit would be living, and 'life' giving. 'Rivers' (plural) indicates that what we do could be different types of activities--mighty or small, prominent or hidden, addressed to individuals or crowds--but the Holy Spirit would give them 'life' beyond the natural. A cup of cold water (Mt.10:42) given to someone in the leading of the Spirit could meet not only physical thirst but also give encouragement and strength to stand without giving up. A public message given with anointing will 'speak' to unknown people and meet even unknown needs, as compared to a sermon presented with style by a preacher with charisma that does nothing more than impress the audience.
How we need to be aware of our need and go to Him to drink regularly, whatever service we do! Certainly we need knowledge, expertise and skills in our different fields. But the best of what we can do with all these will still be lifeless if the Spirit's anointing is lacking.
We are all broken vessels which the Master Potter is reshaping and rebuilding. While being eternally thankful that He hasn't dumped us because we got broken, the least we can do is to keep our vessel clean for Him to use (2Ti.2:20,21). One way to keep check on ourselves is to examine 'our innermost being' out of which spiritual works are to proceed (Pr.4:23). In the midst of our busy schedules and multi-tasking it is very easy to lose this focus and concentrate on how our external works present themselves before others or on how 'successful' our projects are.
The best and the most challenging example for us is, of course, Jesus. His sceptre was uprightness, and His heart loved righteousness while hating wickedness (He.1:8,9). If our tasks, schedules, milestones, and our appraisal by our superiors, clients, family or the public become so powerful in our mind that we lose our focus on the Holy Spirit, our uprightness will naturally get relegated downwards in our priority list. Then all that we do will no longer be done in love (1Co.16:14), but with selfish motives, envy, jealousy and striving (Php.2:3). The danger here is that we can go a long time without uprightness of heart before it becomes obvious to others. But most of us can know in our heart even the first time we put uprightness to the side.
But what an opportunity we have to show our love and gratitude to Jesus by giving 'pleasing Him' the top priority in our lives in daily, practical ways? Is it worth compromising with God to whom we need to give an account, in order to gain earthy glory (Lk.9:25)?