Friday, October 24, 2014

The Spirit has a job to do, Conclusion

The third "job" or purpose of the Holy Spirit is something that Paul tells us about:

                    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness,
                    goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such
                    things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have
                    crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live
                    by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:22-25

Wow! Doesn't this make you glad that Jesus sent the Spirit to us? It sure makes me glad!

I definitely want what the Spirit can develop in me. I heard an illustration long ago that is so fitting here . . . imagine if you had just inherited a grand mansion. It's elegant and fancy and luxurious, filled with huge, lovely rooms. So when you take possession of the mansion, you get just inside the door, and you're so impressed that you just stare around you at the foyer. You're so taken with this first room that you unroll your sleeping bag and camp out there in the entrance to your mansion. You never set foot into any of the other rooms. You live and die just inside the front door.

That's the way many Christians treat their salvation. They get in the front door and that's as far as they go. They're saved, but they are not living the abundant lives that God offers to them.  He has great things planned for us, but if all we do is plop down in the entry way, nothing much is going to happen!

Another way to think of these characteristics and how the Spirit can help us to develop them, is to think about them in the form of booster shots.  Yes, booster shots. Our first shot is our salvation -- we are saved and the Holy Spirit comes into our lives.  And in much the same way that a booster shot raises the level of our immunities, the Spirit can lead us to higher levels of maturity, if we'll just give Him the chance!

Check out this verse in Corinthians:

                           “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory
                            of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to
                            glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (KJV)

We are changed from glory unto glory. The closer (and longer) that we walk with Jesus, the more we take on His image and climb those stairs of maturity into His likeness.

Sometimes the changes God’s Spirit would make in our lives will be dramatic… sometimes they’ll be subtle and almost imperceptible. But any Christian who satisfies themselves with putting their sleeping bag down in the entry way will miss all that. And they will miss the excitement and the adventure of growing up into Christ.

How do we get these fruits in our lives?
The idea is that the Holy Spirit develops this fruit in our lives when we WALK with Him. Galatians 5:25 says: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

If we are walking with the Spirit, that means we are spending time with Him. We have deliberately decided to do what it takes to be with Him. We will spend quality time with Him and allow Him to teach us. That is going to mean different things to different people, depending on their situation and time in their lives.

It may mean going beyond a Sunday morning church experience. For those who have it available, they may attend a mid-week study or prayer time. For those who have means to get there, it may mean that they participate in ministries of the church or faith group.

But even more importantly, walking with Him means that we will be PERSONALLY involved with Him. We'll personally study our Bibles to see what God can tell us there.  We'll personally pray in such a way that we visualize ourselves in the presence of God, and praise Him and listen for His guidance. We might personally try out things from the Scripture that impress us; fasting was an integral part of New Testament life, and we may try it.  We may personally gather with other believers in small groups, for fellowship and accountability.

And we won't get discouraged -- sometimes the times when we are walking closest to God are also the times when we encounter persecution or pain. Hang in there! Those are the times that the Spirit can use, to build that maturity in our character!

This passage in Galatians tells us that when we have the Spirit in our lives, when we walk with Him, there will be certain fruits evident in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and faith, and so on. It's as if we are plugged into a power source that makes these fruits more powerful in our lives; in fact, that is what unbelievers may notice about us.  So be ready to tell them your secret:

                        But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared
                        to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason
                        for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and
                        respect,   (I Peter 3:15)

No comments: