James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Heaven runs on humility because God is humble; genuine humility originates in Him.

We can learn humility by watching how God’s Spirit operates. Thanks to the Holy Spirit we have life on Earth. It was the Spirit of God who hovered over chaos in the story of our creation and turned it into a Garden of Eden. And it was thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Despite all of His power, the Spirit of God is still respectful of our boundaries. If we vote against Him, He respects our decision, even if it is detrimental to our well-being. The gentle Spirit of God is the best example of humility I can think of. He does not overpower us, He guides us only if we ask Him to, and He immediately withdraws if He is not welcome.

How do we humble ourselves? I believe we humble ourselves by surrendering completely into God’s almighty hands.

In the palm of His hand we can find out who we are. We are God’s creation – intricate and complicated, mysterious and wonderful – a reflection of our wonderful and mysterious Creator. However, if we forget that, we become disjointed and self-centered. And now we begin to blow things out of proportion as we lose our grip on reality.

Surrendered to God we are grounded in the truth. The closer we draw to God, the humbler we become. He puts things into perspective without belittling us. God the Giant and we His little dwarfs is definitely not His idea. He is our Father and He is “giantly” in love with His creation. We are considered family.

Our significance derives from the Lord. He made us, He is endeared to us and we have His undivided attention. In God’s eyes we are very special. We stand out because He is the One who lifts us up. In the palm of His hand we can truly be ourselves, and maybe this is what humility is all about.

“I’d rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees
Your grace provides for me” – Ron Block

Zecharaiah 4:6: “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Predicted by the prophet Zechariah, the Messiah’s submission to the Holy Spirit is one of His defining features. Jesus went wherever the Spirit led Him. And because He blindly trusted His leadership, Jesus has forever changed the world. Quoting from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“The religious perspectives on Jesus vary among world religions. Jesus’s teachings and the retelling of his life story have significantly influenced the course of human history, and have directly or indirectly affected the lives of billions of people, even non-Christians. He is considered to be the most influential person to have ever lived by many, finding a significant place in numerous cultural contexts.”

Jesus asked His disciples one day: “Who do you say I am?” Peter famously answered: “You are God’s Anointed, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then made the following statement (Matthew 16:17):

Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.’

It is the privilege of the Holy Spirit to reveal to the world who Jesus is. The Jesus-movement officially started with Peter because He listened to our Father in heaven. He believed that Jesus is the Son of God, which is why Jesus went on to say (Matthew 16:18):

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then the Spirit of God has revealed this to us. We have this experience in common with Peter. Everybody who believes that Jesus is the Son of God becomes part of the movement Jesus calls “church”. On a side note, the church Jesus is talking about has little to do with buildings and denominations, but has everything to do with people led by the Holy Spirit, also called the body of Christ.

The reason why the Jesus-movement is still relevant today lies in its authenticity. God endorses it, His Spirit proclaims it, and open hearts receive it.

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”

God’s Spirit brings life. Jesus was brought back from the dead when He was resurrected. Thanks to the Spirit of God He was revived and walked out of the tomb, never to return.

If Jesus needed to be revived, how much more are we in need of revival? And I don’t think we should wait for that experience until we pass. Unlike Jesus, we carry a dead human spirit inside of us that needs to come back to life. The Holy Spirit has the uncanny ability to open our eyes and help us see God. It’s like we were in a dream state before, and now we’ve woken up to reality. Jesus calls this experience rebirth, and it’s one of the great mysteries of God. What exactly happens as we get reborn, who can tell? From personal experience I know, life as a believer is as different from my prior life experience as day is from night. It’s the Holy Spirit who makes all the difference.

Our dead human spirit is one thing, the burdens we have accumulated over a lifetime is quite another. If there is anybody out there who has compassion for our cause, it’s God. God is not asleep, nor is He dead. He is in a pristine unpolluted environment called Heaven; His ears are not distracted by noise pollution, and His eyes are ever turned towards His creation. We have His complete attention, and His heart breaks over the things we are going through. God is love. He wants to effectively help us, not just put a Band-Aid over the situation. He wants to save us. That’s why Jesus came.

Jesus says (Matthew 11:29):

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus was publicly killed. After He was raised from the dead He went back to heaven. How can we learn from Jesus when He is no longer here? – Well, that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit who teaches us about Him. In fact, we will become friends with Jesus long before we actually see His face. There is still so much left to discover even after we have crossed over to the next life. Life is a journey that definitely does not end with our physical departure.

The Holy Spirit has a lot to say about God. If you are searching for answers, why don’t you ask Him to introduce God to you? That’s what I did, a long time ago, and the Holy Spirit is still not done introducing.

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”
– Bill Withers

2 Corinthians 3:6: “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

In the story of The Princess Bride the main character Inigo finally confronts his father’s killer with the words he had waited half his life to say: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Headhunters were pursuing Jesus with increasing intensity as their hatred grew. Even though they had no good reason to hate Him, they were hell-bent to find an excuse to execute Him. According to the Law of Moses, sexual immorality and blasphemy both deserve the death penalty.  So the plan was to trap Jesus into saying something that could be used against Him.

When a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery was brought to Jesus, the idea was to kill two birds with one stone: Jesus for saying something that could be (falsely) interpreted as blasphemy, and the woman for the obvious reason of being caught in the act of illegal sex.

Prepared to die?

Here was their loaded question: “This woman offended the law of Moses, so she dies. Or doesn’t she, Jesus?”

And how did He respond? Jesus stooped down to write in the dirt.

Technically, that’s how mankind started out. God stooped down, got His hands dirty and formed the first man out of clay (Genesis 2:7):

“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.”

While it is true that we are made out of clay, dust is not our major component. We come to life through the Spirit of God. That also means that once the Spirit is gone, our life is gone. Only our ashes are left behind as our Spirit returns to God, our Maker (Ecclesiastes 12:7):

“For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

What is true for our bodies is also true for the body of law expressed in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The letter of the law is the mud in God’s hands. Through God’s Spirit the Law of Moses comes alive. However, take the Spirit out of the equation, and the same law kills. We need God’s Spirit to understand what God has to say. Without God’s Spirit everything is futile, just like dust in the wind.

So, Jesus stooped down and wrote in the lifeless dust because no life comes out of accusation and condemnation. The people who brought the adulteress to Jesus were ready to stone her to death. They kept pressuring Jesus saying: “Now what is the verdict?” Jesus finally got up to face all accusers and silenced them once and for all with His famous answer (John 8:7):

“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone”

We are all made out of dust. We are all frail and finite. We can all be killed through the letter of the law, because we all make mistakes. But – here is Jesus first dispersing all accusers and then asking you and me: “Now where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” And with everyone who ever was accused of anything we answer: No, Lord, no one accuses us of anything.” And here is Jesus’ encouraging word for us: “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

We get to start over. That’s priceless!

“Some people say a man is made out of mud
A poor man’s made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong”
   Tennessee Ernie Ford

Luke 11:13: “Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!”

God knows how to give. Here is one of His finest gifts: His Spirit.

The Holy Spirit was given to the world so that every person on this planet could get connected to God. In a worldwide movement, the Spirit of God was poured out everywhere to introduce God to people estranged from Heaven. It’s the most far reaching and long lasting ad campaign in the history of humankind.

Our hearts have inbuilt sensors to notice God, albeit in bad need of repair. The human condition is such that we commonly won’t recognize God’s voice. This is where the Holy Spirit steps in – so that we can tune into God’s wavelength and receive what He is saying. He is an ear- and eye–opener, healer of broken hearts, and stimulator of the human spirit.

God is extremely familiar with the multi-layered, complex human heart. He patiently waits for the slightest signal, a green light, a “go ahead” from you and me. He won’t break into the door to our heart. Instead, He knocks. He waits. And if we open the door His Spirit enters in.

God is Trinity, which remains a mystery. The Holy Spirit is a distinct eternal being and Creator just as the Father and the Son. We can offend the Holy Spirit. He will withdraw if we so insist. Nevertheless, if we welcome Him, He will keep the communication lines open between us and God. The Holy Spirit is like the Rainbow in the clouds connecting Heaven and Earth. Thanks to His work, God’s kingdom has already arrived.

God is with us in our day-to-day affairs. If you believe that, then the Holy Spirit has opened the eyes of your heart.

Job 33:4: “For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Everything physical is also spiritual because originally all of creation has sprung from God’s Spirit. There is a noticeable spiritual bond between God and His creation. So essentially, we’re all spiritual beings, and this commonality connects us. No man is an island; neither is plant life, nor the animal kingdom. We’re all interconnected.

The Spirit gives life, gives ability, translates Heaven into earthly reality, explains God’s thought process, revives us, encourages us, and the list goes on and on. The Spirit of God brings life – rich, reproducing, abundant life, the kind of life that swallows death – life that lasts eternally.

Take God’s Spirit out of the equation, and futility rules. Production without the Spirit of God inevitably leads to a dead end. On that note, Jesus observed (John 6:63):

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

God’s Spirit plays a crucial role in the process of reintroducing us to our family. God is our family; and Jesus came to overcome the apparent disconnect.

Interestingly, as I’m writing out these thoughts our internet connection went down. The worldwide web has revolutionized our culture and made information more readily available. Imagine today’s world without having this powerful tool. It’s safe to say, the interconnectedness provided by various computer devices has accelerated problem solving. The ratio of Human inventions went through the roof with the introduction of the personal computer, especially when the computer reduced in size and became a portable device. We now have information at our fingertips 24/7!

Similarly to the worldwide web, the Holy Spirit is poured out globally and accessible everywhere. When people pray, the Spirit of God listens. The Holy Spirit speaks every language there is. In His uncanny ability to translate back and forth between Heaven and Earth, the Spirit of God is our ever-present reminder that God is real.

Power outage and loss of connectivity, even if it is only for an hour, creates havoc in the modern world. However, the repercussions of being disconnected from the source of all beings are intrinsically more serious. To get reconnected with Heaven, all we have to do is ask. No sincere prayer goes unnoticed, and the Holy Spirit is more than happy to re-establish a lost connection. This is what Jesus was referring to in His sermon on the mount (Matthew 7:7):

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Our connection with our Father in Heaven is only a prayer away.

Galatians 5:16: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Lot would never forget the day when they left their hometown. His grandfather Terah took him and his uncle Abram with his wife Sarai, and together they set out from Ur located in modern day Iraq to travel 700 miles west to Canaan, a region bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It was at Haran (near modern day Baghdad) that old Terah died, at the age of 205. The family mourned him and buried him there. But as soon as the monsoon rains were finished, early in the New Year, it was to his uncle Abraham that God spoke now (Genesis 12:1):

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

Abram was visibly thrilled that God had spoken to him, and he promptly followed God’s lead. The very next morning his uncle packed up his camels and was ready to go. His enthusiasm was contagious. Caught up in the excitement, Lot decided to go along for the ride. Together they set out for the land of Canaan. And after a long and treacherous journey, they finally arrived there and settled down.

Meanwhile, their livestock had grown exponentially. Conflict arose when their flocks and herds outgrew their pastures and the land could no longer support all of them. Abram and Lot met to discuss the problem, and his uncle made a very sensible suggestion (Genesis 13:8-9):

“So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

His uncle seemed profoundly sad while Lot was excited about the prospect of separating. He has had his eye on the region near the Jordan River for a while. It looked very promising – the perfect location for his flocks and herds. Best of all: two thriving cities were close by. He could settle there, build business relationships and become a wealthy man. So he told his uncle what he wanted, and the deal was sealed.

It was a windy day when Lot took his wife and children and moved to the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley near Sodom and Gomorrah. As it turned out later, his moving location was on the brink of disaster. Lot’s greed had clouded his judgment and affected an important life decision.

The Holy Spirit wants to guide our lives, but we often think we know better, and for various reasons we fight that inner voice. We need to realize that God does not work against us. His plans for us are simply bigger than all of our hopes and dreams combined – and certainly bigger than Lot’s agenda way back then. However, if we want God’s plans to materialize we need to trust His leadership. Our lives will become inspired as we follow the still small voice of His Spirit.

Unforeseen life events can throw us off in a moment’s notice. One door closes, another one opens, and we are grieving over the closed door while uncertain where the open door leads. God is a wonderful change agent; He is going to be with us every step of the way.

Embarking on a journey into the unknown, God will guide us through the mystery into our destiny.