Last Sunday (June 8th) was Pentecost Sunday. As we sang during worship asking the Lord to fill us with His Spirit, several thoughts came to mind. The first two were thoughts you’ve probably heard preached many times: In order for a vessel to be filled with something new (God’s fresh outpouring of His Spirit), and for that new thing to remain pure, uncontaminated by the previous contents, the vessel must first be emptied, then cleansed thoroughly. Let’s say, for example, that I want a cup of tea with my mid-morning snack. I’ll first want to empty the cup of the coffee I had with breakfast and wash the cup thoroughly. If I don’t, even just the smell of the coffee will ruin a perfectly good cup of tea. In the spiritual sense, in order for me to be filled with God’s Spirit, I must be emptied of myself and allow God to cleanse me — to forgive me of my sins and to transform my mind and behavior to be pleasing to Him.

Now that’s a task in and of itself — an ongoing task that lasts a lifetime. It’s worthy of more space than I’m giving it here. I’m not giving it more space simply because it wasn’t what God was impressing upon me Sunday, but to not mention it just seems wrong, and to not pursue it is to lack the intimate relationship with God that those pursuing Him desire.

What struck me the most last Sunday was the phrase “Don’t put the lid on too soon.” I kept hearing it over and over in my mind. God is saying that He wants to pour out His Spirit, but that too often we get just a little of it and then for whatever reason, say “That’s enough, thank you.” God’s desire is to continually fill us to overflowing. We’re the ones who pull back and in so doing, we miss the blessing He has for us and for those around us. We miss the intimacy with Him; we miss walking in His power and wisdom; we miss His peace and rest.

Why do we put the lid on too soon? Why do we stop the filling process before the tank is full? I’m sure it’s usually done unconsciously, and to change unconscious actions, we must first be aware of them. Lord, reveal the areas within me that causes me to close myself off to the outpouring of Your Spirit.

I’ve been cogitating on this for the past few days and have come up with a couple of reasons why people put the lid on too soon. Maybe some of them will strike a chord with you.

Sometimes we put the lid on too soon simply because we’re too easily satisfied — we get a taste of God’s goodness and don’t understand or realize that there’s so much more. Trust me, there’s more. There’s always more with God because He is everything good to an infinite degree. But we become content with things as they are (after all, they’re way better than they were before) and our unholy contentment puts a lid on our spirits, stopping the flow of God’s Spirit in our lives.

Sometimes we put the lid on too soon because our priorities are a bit messed up. We’re all really busy. It’s how we live. Next Sunday a business organization I’m affiliated with is having their picnic at noon. Now that strikes me as just plain wrong, especially since I know many of the other members are regular church-goers, but I’m new to the organization and it’s too soon to rock the boat by suggesting we start an hour later. So I’m going, but I’m committed to going late. But I know that it will be difficult for me to put it totally out of my mind on Sunday. On Wednesday nights, we are rushing from work, grabbing something to eat and rushing to church. It can be difficult to arrive at church ready to receive from God and/or not being aware (consciously or unconsciously) of all the things that need to be done after church and before bed. In other words…as horrible as it is to say and hear, sometimes we put the lid on because we’re too busy to receive (another thing) from God. God is merciful and breaks through our busyness at times, but continual over-scheduling pushes the lid closed until there’s only a small crack of an opening for God to trickle His grace through.

Sometimes we put the lid on too soon because we don’t want the “mess” of the overflow. I hate to admit this, but sometimes we just don’t want to be the “peculiar” people that God has called us to be. We’re afraid that if He really pours His Spirit out on us we’ll become too religious, too holy, too fanatical, too weird. The truth is that God’s Spirit moves us away from “religious” and toward Christ-likeness, and Christ-likeness is anything but too holy, fanatical and weird. However, we need to get past this fear by becoming totally willing to become those things for God(regardless of how inaccurate they are in our minds). What sets the lid to wide open is our willingness to do and be anything that God wants us to do and be, and until we come to that place, our lids will always tend toward closing too soon.

I’m reminded of a vacation Phil and I took many years ago. We visited Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. It’s a beautiful location and as we waded into the water at the bottom of the falls, our guide suggested we stop for a picture. He posed us and snapped a few shots, then told us to take one step backwards. Being obedient tourists, we did so…not realizing that one step back put us under the full spray of the falls. We were instantly soaked and it was great fun. But there were others who saw what happened to us and were cautious. Maybe they didn’t want to get their clothes soaked or their hair messed. Maybe they didn’t want to feel out of control. Maybe they didn’t want to have that much fun on that day. Lord, I want to have fun with You every day. I don’t care if my clothes get soaked or my hair gets messed or that I feel out of control. Pour out Your Spirit and help me to not put the lid on too soon.

2 Responses to “Don’t Put the Lid on Too Soon!”
  1. Hi Sandy, Hope ya dont flip out when you see you have a comment and then get disapointed that its only me. However I wanted you to know ive been reading your blogs. (not all caught up yet). Ive been to dunns river falls what a blast. I believe we were told we would get soaked and wore bathing suits. Anyway. God is so so awesome. since i started going to corner stone chapel my life has changed so much its been almost 4 months now and it feels like ive been there a lifetime. Ive made a whole new family there with my siters and brothers in Jesus Christ. I remember i used to dread going to church and now i cant wait til Sunday gets here and when its over and i go home i cant wait till the next time. Also the bible studies and fellowships ive joined during the week keep me going. But i wish i had church everyday. On somedays i realize i can have church everyday there is always more like you said and it hit me from this blog Dont put the lid on. that.God is Awesome and forever and we are forever Blessed every minute every day. Im enjoying reading your blog i have it saved now. and will continue to read it and catch up on past ones. Thanks for writing you are blessed. Gods Blessing always upon you Love Geri

  2. Sandy says:

    Hey, Geri! Great to hear from you & I’m so excited about your new-found excitement about God. He truly is good! Be blessed my friend & see you soon.

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