|The River Raisin, Monroe County, MI|
Henri Nouwen writes: "The great obstacle which prevents the Spirit working in us is self-rejection. The greatest obstacle to the Spirit working in us is that we say to ourselves that we are useless, we are nothing." (The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life, 78)
Conversely, the open door to the Spirit's working in us is the heart knowledge we are deeply loved and accepted, by grace, by God. Jesus told his disciples that, after his death, the Father would come and make his home in their hearts. When we know we are loved by God, and that God loves us in spite of the condition of our hearts, we welcome the homecoming of God. We are "something" in the eyes of God, so much so that the Spirit desires to take up residence within us.
Self-rejection resists the Spirit of God residing in us because we feel undeserving. I have met Christians who insist that God is angry with them and wants nothing to do with them. That is a denial of the grace of God, and shuts the door to experiencing the love and power of God.
"Once I know I am the Beloved, once I start discovering that in me, then the Spirit can work in me and in others; then we can do wonderful things. Now, once I say, "No, God doesn't love me, I am not as good as everyone else," somehow I do not claim the truth that Jesus came to proclaim." (Ib.)
Embracing God's love for you is antidote to a spirit of self-rejection.
My recent book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.
I am currently writing Leading the Presence-Driven Church (June 2017), and How God Changes the Human Heart (A Phenomenology of Spiritual Transformation) (June 2018).