18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (ESV)
I spent several days writing and re-writing this entry. It could have gone several different ways, and it has. However, in the mean time I attended a Christmas Eve Mass with a Roman Catholic friend.
There has been a sickness in most churches for a long time.
It does not matter if we are talking about Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, Evangelicals, or any other form of Christianity.
The sickness has many symptoms: a denial of the works of the Holy Spirit, a lack of passion to serve others, a lack of desire to serve others, a lack of passion for the things of God, a lack of a felt need of the things of God, a denial of certain passages of the Bible or truths of God, and on and on.
It is the root cause that is the real issue: the people are not inspired to turn.
Teaching Turning Teaching
For all of the negative things ingrained in many of us raised in Protestant or Evangelical churches, the truth of this passage was revealed during a Roman Catholic Christmas Eve Mass.
The Church comes alive when the Spirit of Truth is free to flow through the people. The problem with many churches is they have a tendency to quench the Spirit.
This is not to say that all of these churches are on the wrong path. It is to say that too many times we try too hard to help God. Sometimes we get too busy to let God work through us. Sometimes we do not trust the promises of God or that His promises are for today … or for “me”.
Sometimes He works through us to get it right.
During the Christmas Eve Mass, we were reminded of some of the prophecies given about the coming Messiah born over 2000 years ago. We were reminded of the promises we have been given in this life. We were reminded of the prophecies of the second coming of Messiah and challenged to believe and share these truths.
We were not guilt-tripped. We were not given a teaching on morality or how to be happier. We were not told to step through certain hoops to accomplish anything.
We were only given the Word of God that transcends time, circumstances, and our understanding.
The Holy Spirit of God was given freedom to move.
All present felt the Word of Life challenge and strengthen us, rebuke yet encourage us, to turn from our selfish desires to pursue His Kingdom and His righteousness.
That is what this verse is talking about today.
Awesome God, give us the vision and understanding to know Your Word. Move by Your Spirit in our lives to seek You and share You with others. Help us to find our fulfillment in You alone!