“Then he said to me, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” – Zechariah 4:6.
Everybody thinks their child is a natural athlete with natural ability. So with high expectations, you take your boy to the park and pitch him the ball as slowly as possible. The concept of natural ability disappears as he swings at pitch after pitch and never comes close to making contact with the ball. Nor can he throw the ball in the right direction when he is trying to throw the ball back to you. The dad is not discouraged. He stands behind his son, and wraps his arms around the boys to help him get a firm grip on the bat. With his assistance, they start hitting the ball together. And before long the boy has the idea and makes steady contact. Although our problems as adults are bigger than hitting a baseball, that first attempt at hitting a baseball is a teaching moment about the Holy Spirit.
Look at Zechariah 4: Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah at the time, was tasked with leading the massive effort of rebuilding the temple. A few years into the project, progress had stalled. The Israelites had faced one trial after another. They were physically depleted and spiritually discouraged. Confronted with the overwhelming magnitude of the task, Zerrubabel had exhausted his leadership capabilities. He was thinking of giving up.
Zechariah enters the picture. He tries to encourage Zerubbabel by assuring him that the rebuilding would get done, but he was telling him how it was going to be possible. Not by human ingenuity, nor by sheer willpower, but by the Spirit of God. Just as a dad enables a child to hit a baseball, the Spirit was going to empower Zerrubabel to do something he could not do in his own strength.
A weary Zerubbabel was crying out, “I can’t!” But Zechariah reminded him, “But He can.” Perhaps you need that same reminder today.
For those of us who are followers of Jesus, we have His Spirit residing in us 24/7 (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Christian life is not meant to be one of self-reliance but of Spirit-reliance. We certainly possess skills, talents, intellect, resources, experience, etc. Yet, we are not meant to go it alone. We are to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives”(Galatians 5:25). As we go about our daily lives, we must choose a perpetual posture of dependence on the Spirit of God.
Today, when you are faced with the limitations of your natural abilities, confess your need for His Spirit to do what you cannot.
Let Him swing the bat. He will enable you to do what you can’t do on your own.
- When you think of the Holy Spirit, what comes to your mind?
- What can the Holy Spirit help us do this week that we can’t do on our own?