When we hold a tiny baby in our arms, do we consider how devoted they will be to God, or do we just see the natural and physical possibilities?
As Christians, we have the opportunity to become as close to God and spiritually sensitive as we desire with the potential to discern wisdom that is hidden from our earthly understanding. An important question is how many people, including all those tiny babies, will make the most important decision to follow this type of lifestyle? I realize it's a sobering subject, but one that I believe is worth considering.
In Luke 2, we read about an individual named Simeon who was a spiritually dedicated man of prayer and fasting, as he is described in verse 25, "righteous and devout with the Holy Spirit upon him." He was there when Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus (who was probably no older than 3 months) to be dedicated at the temple according to the Law of Moses.
God had promised this elderly man that he would not pass away until he had seen the king of all kings, and on the very same day that Mary and Joseph went to the temple, Simeon encountered the divine appointment of meeting this special family. When he looked at Jesus, he reached out and held him and said, "For with my eyes I have seen the Lord's salvation." Simeon proceeded to prophesy over the child, and even though Mary and Joseph were already aware that Jesus was the Savior of the world, they still marveled at Simeon's words.
Allow us to pause a moment and consider that this man would not have recognized the Christ child if he had not been walking in a high level of spiritual sensitivity. Mary and Joseph appeared to be just another average, normal family that blended in with the massive crowd, and yet Simeon immediately was easily able to identify the Lord.
Later in the same chapter, we learn about an elderly prophetess named Anna who also worshiped and prayed to God in the temple night and day. It just so happened that she was there that day, and she too recognized baby Jesus as the Son of God. Anna, who some have calculated to have been over 100 years old, began to boldly tell the crowd about how this child would be the redeemer of God's people.
Now I realize that older people usually go on and on when they see an infant and say things like, "They are really going to be amazing," but this was definitely different. Those who passed by probably thought, "Now isn't that touching; a nice elderly lady making over a tiny baby," and then went on about their business. However, let us note the reason they were not absolutely ecstatic about what she is saying is because they were unable to perceive the reality that God was right in front of them. Could it be the lack of spiritual sensitivity is the reason why many times we do not notice the presence of God in our busy everyday life?
We realize that Christians are to live in a high level of awareness, but we must admit we are weak and easily distracted. I have a question: If we are called to develop a deeper spiritual cognizance where we know what is going on around us, then what is the consequence if we refuse?
By thinking, feeling, deciding and walking in our default nature, we are literally rebelling against the way God intended for us to exist. Since we are actually saying we are not interested in listening to or following God's plans and are not passionate about doing his will, how could he possibly be pleased with us?
Being devoted to following the Lord is what being his disciple is all about. Drawing nearer to God enables us to be filled with his Spirit, and this allows us to more keenly understand the spiritual realm.
So why do we refuse to draw near to God? Because we are more concerned with what we want to do. We can no longer blame anyone but ourselves, as our real hindrance has everything to do with our own rebellion. If spiritual awareness is not a priority, we will simply not be able to discern truth. Within the sin of omission is the convicting thought that God is disappointed with what might have been if only we had taken our spiritual responsibility more seriously.
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.