“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
I’ve written about it here, on this site, before. And I have it written off to the side of my running prayer list in my journal. Six simple words. A constant reminder. “You are not the Holy Spirit.”
Sometimes, a lot of times, we need to speak truth. Sometimes that truth may be hard spiritual, moral, and biblical truth on which God is calling us to speak. Sometimes, it’s truth in relationships with our spouses, our families, our friends. Other times it’s the mundane, daily truths that need to be said. There’s a lot of mundane, daily truths in raising teenagers. Can I get an amen? Read through Paul’s epistles. He never minced words when truth was necessary. He knew the value of planting the seed.
And then there’s the watering. A tending and teaching that accompanies those truths. Not harping. Not nagging. But lovingly leading. This is where I often mess up. I can be pretty darn good at speaking that truth. I mean I will blast you with it. But then I’ll keep on blasting you. I’ll keep on pounding it. Because when in the history of the world has preaching and pounding, nagging and lecturing, cajoling and coercing, ever worked? Answer: It hasn’t. And it won’t. So why do I do it? I guess I think that somehow, if I just say it louder, and harsher, and one more time, I’ll get the result I want. I’ll somehow change what’s going on in the other person. It’s why I have those words written in the margin of my journal. They serve as a daily reminder, that I’m not the one who does the changing. I’m not the one who brings growth, increase, and transformation. I am not the Holy Spirit.
Just over two years ago, in a post entitled Job Descriptions, I wrote about this very thing. Clearly, I’m very much a work in progress because this morning, while praying (if you can call it that . . . it was more like whining and throwing a small fit), I told God exactly how I thought He should do His job. And as always that still, small, voice, that I’d sometimes just as soon ignore as obey (just being honest), once again reminded me, I am not the Holy Spirit. I don’t change anyone. When I’m called (and only when I’m called) to speak truth, I speak it from a place of boldness and authority, not because of who I am but only because of who He is. I am nothing . . . as Paul says, “Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters” . . . but I have the authority to speak the truth of God because of the blood of Jesus. When I’m called to teach, I should teach and lead with grace, love, and compassion. But when I’m called to step back and shut up, I should actually step back and shut up and let God do what God does. Starting with changing me . . . because ultimately, that’s where this all begins.