And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)
I must admit that it was with a certain sense of trepidation that I backed my car out of the drive this morning. I was to speak at a church in another town, but I wasn’t totally certain how to get there. But I did have a rather reliable helper—Siri. (In the event you don’t know Siri, she’s my personal assistant who lives in my Iphone and is powered by artificial intelligence.) Siri told me which streets would take me to the interstate highway I needed for the journey.
And a few miles before I was to turn, Siri would warn me that at a certain point I would turn right or left and the exit number to take. If there were optional roads, she would tell me that my route was down the second (or third) turn. But she didn’t lay out the whole route prior to my leaving. Siri just spoke to me as I traveled. And, finally, after I’d listened and heeded throughout my drive, Siri announced that my destination was on the right. Sure enough, I’d reached the church where I would be speaking, and I was on time. What a wonderful relief.
Now Siri and artificial intelligence (AI) are relatively new aides for the many tasks of our daily lives, but as believers we’ve had access to SI (Spirit intelligence) from the beginning of our faith walks. Jesus told us that the Comforter Whom he would send would teach, guide, help, remind, seal, free, anoint, empower, witness, strengthen, fill, and so many other things. It so happens that our Spiritual Helper is able to do so much more than any earthly power and is instantly accessed with just a call. But, like Siri, he doesn’t tell us the whole route prior to departure. In fact, he guides us a step at a time, and as we listen and follow, we find that we always arrive at the desired location.
If you’ve not read the book of Acts recently, I encourage you to do so. (It is said that the average American watches about 3 hours of television daily, but you could take just a little over 2 of those hours and instead read the entire account of the work of the Holy Spirit in the First Church. And I believe you’ll be so much more enriched than the TV viewing that you miss.) It’s amazing how God took ordinary people and empowered them to do extraordinary things through his Spirit. Of course, they did signs and wonders, and miracles were wrought through those early followers. But the more astonishing thing, I believe, was the radical transformation of timid, unlearned, back-country people into mighty people of God. They were strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit to live and think and act as followers and lovers of Jesus.
They were just like us, and just like them we can open ourselves to God’s infilling and be led and anointed and strengthened to live Jesus-lives, doing his will, and glorifying him. And we never need to be lost in our world. With just a quick call, we have his direction and everything we need for life and godliness.
(Did I mention I also returned home safely and with no hassle?)
Heavenly Father, fill us with your Spirit that we may be everything you want us to be. Lead us, guide us, empower us. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.