By +Philip Jones
Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” – Francis Chan
After 45 years plus of marriage to Claudia, 7 kids, 16 grandkids ( our son Caleb and Ashely just had twins ) there is a lot I can reflect on about this statement by Francis Chan. Here goes:
What matters and what we should not be afraid of is falling in love with Jesus and the role of the Holy Spirit in our life. All of Christianity rises or falls in the truth of who Jesus is. If he is the divine Son of God then everything matters. If he is not, Christianity falls like a house of cards and we should have nothing to do with it. The inerrancy of scripture in all it affirms and the historical reality of 2000 years of God’s faithfulness to the church and his faithfulness to Israel before Christ and faithfulness to believers now is what matters. How we respond to his revelation and the impact it has for me and for a flourishing community is what matters. Fads will come and go as we see today, but God’s vision for humanity as male and female in his image is what matters.
It’s so important and you have your own story. Here is mine. I have been a confessed Christian most of my life. I can’t remember when I wasn’t. However, my life took a major turn in my life when I was a lawyer in Waco. I was predisposed to believing more and living more but still immature in so many ways. An Episvopal priest at the time, now Anglican, Rev. Mark Browne shared scripture from Luke 17.21 that basically says the Kingdom of God is within you if you believe in Jesus and that means wherever you go goes the Kingdom of God. It’ s not out there somewhere or in a building. That hit me like a ton of bricks. It meant I was responsible to obey, listen, repent often, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. It affected my actions, words, attitude and increased my faith. That matters. Everything matters.
But it’s not something I can do on my own. Jesus told his disciples the night before he died that he would not leave them as orphans but give them and us another helper, the Holy Spirit. John 14. 18-27. That matters. I have failed to follow him way too much but it matters that I keep on. His Spirit lives in me and I actually have that authority to exercise the power of the risen Lord, the power of the resurrection. Ephesians 1.19. Without the recognition of the Holy Spirit we will wear out trying to do his will. With the Holy Spirit, we learn to listen, expert, be a thermostat in the world in and around us. That matters. I can pray for healing, wisdom, discernment, words of knowledge, encouragement, etc and he will respond. That matters.
Don’t be afraid of the Holy Spirit. 3 reason why people don’t know the Holy Spirit are a lack of teaching, focus on abuses or been taught that all his gifts ceased a long time ago. Don’t get caught in that way of thinking. He is alive. At All Saints Dallas and St. Patrick’s he knows he is welcome. That matters. Grace matters. Prayer matters and effects change and transformation.
We all succeed probably in lots of things that don’t really matter. Ask Jesus where you might be putting too much energy and time into things that don’t matter. Repent. Then ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Ask Father Mark or Cate or the Fletchers or others to pray to give more of yourself to the Holy Spirit that lives in you as a believer. That matters. When you fail, and you will, your life is still secure in Christ and he still delights in you as a daughter or son of the King.