“Hear this, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, and you have raised false confidence in this people.” (Jeremiah 28:15)
Imagine you’re walking into a performance evaluation. This evaluation is unique because you can choose what feedback you’ll be hearing. On the one hand, you can choose an honest review. Your hard work will be recognized. But your weaknesses will also be identified, and strategies for improvement will be outlined. On the other hand, you can choose to hear only glowing praise of your work, with no insights on how you can do better or hold onto your job.
You know you probably should opt for an honest review, right?
Today’s first reading offers us a dramatic example of contrasting spiritual evaluations. Hananiah probably wanted to boost morale among his countrymen, who were facing a threat from the Babylonian army. So he prophesied that they would triumph, and very soon. But because his “prophetic” words didn’t really come from the Lord, they didn’t help. By contrast, Jeremiah offered God’s honest assessment of the situation in the hopes of preparing the people for the challenges to come.
How about you? How have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s “honest assessments”? Maybe you’ve discovered that more than any supervisor, he appreciates and values you even when your “performance” isn’t stellar. He sees the potential in you and wants to help you reach it. And whether or not you always feel it, he honors you for all the ways you are serving him—even if they seem small and imperfect to you.
Of course, the Spirit is no stranger to your weaknesses. Even as he honors you, he also calls attention to your thought patterns and attitudes that don’t represent him well. But he’s careful not to condemn. Neither does he leave you feeling mired in your weaknesses. Instead, he offers grace to change and encouragement every step of the way.
So try to be extra aware of the Spirit’s helpful convictions today, both the positive and the negative. Try to look on them as divine opportunities for advancement and transformation.
“Holy Spirit, help me hear your voice today.”