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21 Days of the Spirit: Day 16

16 May

Godly Displays of Affection

The “21 Days of the Spirit” devotional reading today opens with a few thoughts about PDA, public displaces of affection. I am not against (married people) holding hands and kisses on the check in public. No problem there. But when a less-than-mature dating couple are all over each other in public it can be a little much. It isn’t always the physical displays of affection that turn my stomach. The verbal displays of affection are just as bad: Baby, you are the finest thing in the world. I could put you on a place and sop you up with a biscuit. You are the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow… And my personal favorite: Baby, you make my liver quiver….

This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and his girl friend drives everyone crazy with all of the “shmoopy talk.” Here is the dialogue:

The Soup Nazi (Episode 115)
Written by Spike Feresten
Directed by Andy Ackerman
Aired November 2, 1995

The episode opens…

GEORGE: All right. So, what theatre you wanna go to tonight? We got 61st and 3rd or 84th and Broadway.

JERRY: Which one you wanna go to shmoopy?

SHEILA: You called me shmoppy. You’re a shmoopy.

JERRY: You’re a shmoopy!

SHEILA: You’re a shmoopy!

JERRY: You’re a shmoopy!

GEORGE: All right, shmoopies…what’s it gonna be? Pick a theater.

Later on…

GEORGE: Yeah. Hey, let ask you something. Is it just me, or – or do you find it unbearable to be around Jerry and that girl?

ELAINE: Oh, I know! It is awful!

GEORGE: Why do they have to do that in front of people?

ELAINE: I don’t know.

GEORGE: What is that with the shmoopy?

ELAINE: Ohh!

GEORGE: The shmoopy, shmoopy, shmoopy, shmmopy, shmoopy!

ELAINE: Ohh! Stop it! I know.

GEORGE: I had to listen to a five minute discussion on which one is
actually called shmoopy.

ELAINE: Ugh!

We have no problem with showing affection in a romantic relationship, but why is it that so many American Christians have trouble displaying affection for God. Affection is not emotionalism and it is not a secondary characteristic in our love for God. A purely rational, Mr. Spock-approach to a life lived with God is not what God is looking for. Affection is our desire; it is our “want to.” The Holy Spirit will come to us and poke us and prod us and point us in the right direction, but he does not want us to come to God under compulsion. He wants our “want to” to catch up to our “ought to.” So the Holy Spirit also stirs up our affection and ignites it with a passion for God.

I need this. I need the Holy Spirit to stir up godly affection in me. As Jonathan Edwards said in Religious Affections, “true religion, in great part consists in the affections.”

I am preparing for this weekend’s message: “How Do I Walk in the Holy Spirit?” And I did some thinking in my recliner last night after President Bush’s speech on immigration.
I asked myself “When do I need the Holy Spirit?” I came up with a list of fifty occasions–fifty moments in life when I need the Holy Spirit. Here is the list:

When do I need the Holy Spirit?

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I feel weak
when I get depressed
when I am tempted
when I am lonely
when I feel like God is a million miles away

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I do not understand
when I am suffering
when I do not know what to do
when I have no more words to pray
when I feel angry
when I feel unloved and rejected

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I fail and I want to quit
when I succeed and I want to brag
when I am confused
when I feel afraid
when I cannot focus

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I lack desire
when I am not disciplined
when I want to lie
when I think my instincts are wrong
when I no longer care
when I become envious

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I am enticed by temporary pleasure
when I feel in control
when I am talking to my children
when I serve in God’s church
when I awake in the morning
when I lie down to sleep at night

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I am forgetful
when I am an insensitive jerk
when I am unkind
when I am shallow
when I am congratulated and praised
when I accomplish my goals
when I am celebrated
when I am playing the role of the imposter

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I am resting
when I am working
when I am playing
when I stand to worship
when I sit in front of the TV
when I stand to speak
when I stand for truth

I need the Holy Spirit…
when I am distracted by technology
when I am drained of creativity
when I try to love my wife like Christ
when I engage culture
when I am self absorbed
when I feel empty

I need the Holy Spirit… when I want to feel truly alive.

At the end of this time of reflection, I realized that I need the Holy Spirit all the time. Not just when I want to do something religious or spiritual. I need the Holy Spirit at every moment of every day. Come Holy Spirit and fill my heart that I may walk with you along the path that Jesus walked for me.

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Posted by on May 16, 2006 in Theology

 

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