Devotion: Monday, June 10, 2019

Welcome to “Word from the Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from John 14:25–27, where Jesus says,   

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”


Have you ever wondered why liquor is called “spirits?” Some say that such a designation began when monks in Europe during the 12th century believed that the spirit was removed from the “mash” during the distilling process. To this day, some European rye whiskey drinkers still pour out the first shot onto the ground (in order to give the angels their share).[1] I’ve also crassly heard that it might have to do with some people’s idea that drinking liquor is good for our “spirits.”  Unfortunately, that notion of “spirits for our spirit” is a more dangerous notion than one thinks. The idea that there is some substance or material that can “fill our souls” where it matters most is a sign of a culture or a people that is not properly “spirit-filled,” but has lost its way. Today, America, with all of its riches and wealth, seems to be on that path. The Healthline article, “Why Are Americans Drinking More?”[2] notes the disturbing trend that alcohol consumption has dramatically increased among Americans in the last two decades (well past moderation). In LCRL’s work in Washington D.C., we are reminded regularly of the crippling influence of other like-minded substances such as opioids and the crisis in communities all across the United States that is engendered by their misuse. So WHY are we looking for spirits in the bottle, and hope from pills? Why?

Why indeed. There are many reasons for the troubles we face. The Healthline article talks about our increased drinking as a result of modern technology, modern fears, and the increasing stress that life brings. Absent from any of their discussion were the spiritual battles that are raging today in our culture. In full view of the incapacity of materialism, people still are convinced that the material solutions to life are all that is needed. Sadly, they miss the main reason for the emptiness that so many feel today, namely the lack of a relationship with the God who created and redeemed them to be His own. They also miss the beautiful message that Jesus gives in this passage for today where He says that He will send the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are His own.

We, as sinful people, will struggle with our brokenness and our inability to be all that we are created and redeemed to be. In the face of our fears and troubles, Jesus is calling us to do what Christians down through the centuries have always done. He summons us to put our trust in Him by the power of His Holy Spirit, and to let the comforting, advocating work of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word empower us to handle whatever we face today with His power and strength. That’s the “Holy Spirit for our spirits,” and that, or I should say He, will never let us down.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit to create and sustain our faith in You and to comfort us when we face whatever this world will throw at us. Help us to put Your Spirit-filled Word to work for our blessing and strength. AMEN.