The Nearness of God
Devotions with Pastor Jason Lim
When I visited the Butterfly Garden at HortPark with my son recently, he was absolutely thrilled. Exploring the park, an information sign caught our attention. It explained that butterflies were cold-blooded creatures, that they obtain heat and energy by spreading out their wings under the sun. Their dark bodies act as conductors, absorbing the sun’s heat, giving them energy and life.
As I considered this description, I thought about how much this was a reflection of our spiritual condition. I am spiritually cold-blooded, unable to perceive the things of God. I cannot appreciate the love of God until the Holy Spirit shines in my life, as Romans 5:5 explains: “…God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”. It’s amazing that we can experience God’s love made real to us by the Holy Spirit, such that we become Spirit-Filled conductors of God’s love. But God does not only do this one-directional ministry to us, we can also respond to God in love. "For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15) That is the work of the Spirit again, to bring forth out of the response of my heart, a love and intimacy to seek after God. Our old self has no such love for God, instead, the Holy Spirit works in our hearts so that we understand the love OF God and have a love FOR God.
In the past, we were in a spirit of bondage – bondage to sin, fear, and guilt, because we know we can never match up to God’s holy requirements. But once we have repented and trusted in Jesus, the Spirit takes up residence in us. And out of that, He manifests an intimate, personal relationship with God that enables us to cry, this deep emotive word, ‘Abba’. Calling God ‘Abba’ (which means Papa or Daddy) speaks of the extraordinary nearness to His presence we are allowed to enjoy.
So let us call upon our Heavenly Father with assurance and confidence, remembering this is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.