Have you ever felt left out? Excluded? Rejected? Most of us have. The sting of being overlooked can last for years - intensified with every real or perceived slight from others. My most acute memories of feeling left out are from grade school. There are lots of kids in one place for hours on end, with social pressure, academic pressure, and hormonal swings wreaking havoc on their decision making skills, and that’s a perfect environment to breed an “I’m in, you’re out” mentality. Harsh whispers, barely suppressed giggles, “saved seats” at the lunch table or on the bus - we’ve all seen it happen. Some of us have experienced this well into adulthood, and it’s no fun.
Here’s the good news: life in the Kingdom isn’t about keeping people “out,” it’s about welcoming everyone “in.” God promised his Spirit would be poured out on all people - yes, you read that right, everyone can have access to the power and presence of God irrespective of their age, gender, class, or nationality. The promise of God’s Spirit affirms God’s desire to be with his people; God desires to be with us so much that he’s taken up residence in our very bodies.
We can rejoice because God is freely pouring out his Spirit on all who would receive it! The most precious gift ever known is for me and for you; Thanks be to God!
Joel 2:28–32 (ESV)
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.