This article originally published in the May 2009 issue of groundswell.

Today, I ponder caffeine.  I sit at the local coffee shop, watching condensation form on the cup of my iced beverage and wonder at the mystery of caffeine.

The truth about caffeine is that it impacts your life when ingested.  For some, it is simply an ingredient in their favorite beverage.

Several years ago I was part of a women’s Bible study that met on Wednesday mornings.  My typical pattern was to stop at the coffee chain and pick up my daily nectar before heading out to the church.  One morning, however, I simply didn’t feel like it.  So out to the church I ventured.

As women filed in, one after another stopped next to me, put a hand on my shoulder, leaned down and inquired, “Is there something wrong?”  Perplexed, I would respond, “no” and they would move on.  As the fourth person asked me the exact same question, I finally asked what was leaving the impression that something was wrong.  One dear woman said, “Well, you’re always so talkative.  But this morning you are just sitting there and not saying anything.”

Again, I reiterated that nothing was wrong, that I didn’t think there was change in my behavior.  Another woman started quizzing me about my morning–she uncovered that I had not had my normal latte.

Now, I would have sworn up, down, and sideways that I was not impacted by caffeine.  That day, however, without a caffeinated system, almost every woman in the room noticed a significant enough difference in my behavior to wonder if something tragic had happened.

The Holy Spirit is the caffeinated goodness of the spiritual life.  Once we have Him, He starts to change us.  Even though we may not notice the difference, or even swear that nothing has changed, we will be transformed.

“So (Moses) was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights…It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai…that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.” –Exodus 34:28-29

Are you spending time with the Lord?  Moses went to commune with God, to hear what He had to say, and share his own heart with His God.  Moses had no idea the impact of his honest seeking of the Father.  He went to the mountain simply to talk with his God.

How do you approach God?  Is it with honest reflection of your day, your feelings, your thoughts about Him?  Or do you whitewash everything in a vain notion that He wishes you to look clean rather than be clean?

“…For you are like whitewashing tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” –Matthew 23:27

You need not try to shine.  You need only spend honest time with the Father.  The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

photo by Razvan Caliman

Throwbacks are all about bringing in previously-published articles.  These articles appeared back when groundswell was published in the form of an email newsletter.  The photos are newly added to the blog.

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