The Spirit of Encouragement
Probably the most encouraging words I have heard in weeks came from a prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-3 about how Jesus will use his spiritual power. God says:
I have put my Spirit upon him...
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.
Do you feel like a "bruised reed"—like one of those big top-heavy Easter lilies whose stem has been squashed so that the flower slops to the ground and gets no juice? Do you ever feel like your faith is just a little spark instead of a flame—like that little red dot on the wick after you blow out the birthday candle?
Take heart! The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of encouragement: he will not snap off your flower; he will not snuff out your spark. "The Spirit is upon me to preach good news to the poor" (Luke 4:18). "The Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2). "He is meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29). "Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the Lord!" (Psalm 27:14).
It may be a grief to us that we are only a spark instead of a flaming fire. But listen! And be encouraged: yes, there is a big difference between a spark and a fire. But there is an infinite difference between a spark and no spark! A mustard seed (of faith) is infinitely closer to being a mountain than it is to being no seed.
Open the window of God's promises and let the Spirit blow into every room of your heart. The Holy Wind of God will not break or quench. He will lift up your head and fan your spark into a flame. He is the Spirit of encouragement.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org