So Jesus sends some of His team ahead of Him to prepare things for when He got there. They are not received in a way they anticipated, and their response is, “Shall we call down fire and destroy them?” I don’t know about you but I think they really over-reacted to what had happened. It was not like they were beaten up, or had their donkeys stolen, or even be publically humiliated and hear God defamed. So killing people with fire from heaven – did anything that the disciples experienced really warrant that? Listen carefully to how Jesus responds to their question, because in His response is a huge key for us today as we consider how we respond to people. He says, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of”.
Jesus was not concerned with what had happened to the disciples, He was concerned with how they were responding to it. The reality even for us today is that you cannot always control what others do to you but you can control how you respond! This thought leads us to an obvious question: how? Simple, by remembering what spirit you are now of.
Many of the responses or actions we would like to use are actually responses that come from the spirit of who you used to be, not of the Spirit of He who now lives in us. The best thing we can do when we feel we are being treated badly is STOP, and take a moment to remember what spirit we are now of, then act or respond out of the knowledge that His Spirit now lives in us. This is not often the preferred or easiest thing to do but it is the right thing to do in the sight of God.
We are no longer who we used to be, we have been born anew by His Spirit and His Spirit now lives in us. He desires to flow through us not just when we stand in church services singing but also as we operate in our everyday lives. Becoming more ‘God-now-inside’-minded will affect the responses that come from us. We see in our text today that this was something that the first disciples had to learn. Guess what – this is still something that His disciples today – us – also have to learn. We have no right any longer to respond as unsaved people do, because we are no longer unsaved. We can no longer justify responding to people and challenges in the same way that people who do not know God respond, because we are now different to them: God’s Spirit now calls us His home.
So, whatever happens to you today, whatever people do to you, remember what we said at the beginning: you cannot always control what people do to you but you can control how you respond. Your best response will always come from you knowing what spirit you are now of: His Spirit!