This is a conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, and according to them, entrance into heaven came from living by the law and possibly God granting you favor based on how well you lived. Jesus, of course, turns all of that upside down and says that you must be born again and born again by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit.
This was the intro for my devotional today, and instead of going farther in the lesson, I had to stop and really ponder what it means to have the Holy Spirit in me and to be born again. The lesson goes on to say that Holy comes from the word hagios which means "set apart, sacred, or pure". Spirit is pnuma, which means "a breath, a breeze, or a strong wind". So what does it mean to be set apart?
I recently started a new job and yesterday learned about how I will be evaluated. I've always been a competitive person. A good friend of mine once commented that it's surprising how poor I am at playing sports considering how competitive a personality I have. While going over the evaluation matrix, I was already plotting where I hoped to be evaluated at. I thought about how good it would look for a new employee, a rookie, to get such a high score and how that would compensate for my lack of phone and sales experience (a background of many of my co-workers). I laughed when we were told how we would be compensated for the higher we scored on the matrix- a concept that was so foreign to me coming from a career that only rewarded meager raises for educational advancements- not performance based ones. All of these thoughts continued to swirl in my head as I thought about how I would make a name for myself at this profession.
I don't think it's bad to desire to be good at what we do. God gives us gifts and abilities to use- for His glory- and it angers Him when we squander them away. I think the thing that I am going to have to remember and remind myself daily of- and possibly multiple times a day- is that I am called to be set apart in this job not by my killer performance on my evaluation rubric, but in how I go about loving people and reflecting the love of Christ that is in me. I hate to say it, but I still feed off of approval. I enjoy being recognized for my achievements. Again, I don't think God wants us to hide those under a rock, but I think instead He wants us to check daily where our motivation lies.
I desire to be set apart. I desire for my life to look different because I am a child of God and because DAILY I am pursuing His will for my life. I want to be confident and yet humble in the gifts He has given me so I a may live a life that draws people to the cross.
Jesus help me to rely on your spirit daily. Help me to remember that You have called me to live a life that should look radically different than the goals and ambitions of this world. Help me to live according to your spirit and be truly Set Apart.