How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Galatians 3:3
I walked into church a bit tired and weary from a busy weekend. Honestly, I would have preferred to stay in bed. A month out of town, unpacking, and getting resettled at home had worn me out. The sanctuary only had begun filling up, so I had my pick of seats. Within minutes, a younger woman with a pretty face came and sat several seats from me. I felt that ever-familiar nudge to action. “Hi, my name is Anne. Are you new here, or have you been here 40 years?” This question was safest in a church our size with several services and several auditoriums.
She was new, and we chatted. During the service, I rummaged thru my purse for a paper to write my phone number. At the end of the service, I said,” if you ever want to have coffee, give me a call.” Well, we did have coffee, and it was most assuredly one of those glorious Holy Spirit-inspired appointments.
I am always so thankful when God gives me moments like that one. Those moments remind me of the importance of listening to the Spirit, staying in line with him, and obeying his direction.
In all honesty, friend, over the years I have missed so many of these appointments. I am saddened by this reality, but I am so encouraged that God doesn’t give up on me. (The good news is he doesn’t give up on you either.) He continues to help me see new opportunities.
I am preparing to teach Bible to the ladies in my church this spring. I have been studying, praying, and preparing lessons on, Who Am I In Christ? The final lesson is on Walking in the Spirit. This topic can be confusing since most of us have yet to be taught enough about this very wonderful and mysterious member of the Trinity. We know about God the Father and our Messiah, Jesus. But we often shy away from knowing and following the very one who has been “downloaded” into our lives to lead us. Why is this?
Barna did a study that found nearly 60% of Americans who attend church regularly say there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit. They say he is a symbol of God’s power. Our enemy loves these statistics. Partly, this apathy is due to unbelief. Unbelief that God has even given us a power within us to help.
AW Tozer said, “If the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on, and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”
So, part of our apathy to the Spirit is that we are self-reliant people. We do what the Galatians did; we like being saved by God’s power but don’t want to walk in his power. We have the “we can certainly take it from here” mentality.
How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?Galatians 3:3
Statistically, we can see that the church today is just doing the “best it can.” The best- IT-can rather than the best God can. This explains a lot.
So what do we do with this?
First, run, don’t walk to the nearest bookstore, and get Charles Stanley’s book, The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life. I read this book 17 years ago, (and at least 5 times since then) and it is life-changing. Really, just do it!
Secondly, spend some time in John 16, Romans 8, and Acts 20. These Scriptures will help you become familiar with the job of the Holy Spirit. Make a list of what you learn.
Thirdly, willingly surrender your day, life, and all your activity to the Holy Spirit, and begin to depend on him for direction. He is our guide. (So, this one is hard for ALL of us no matter how long we have walked with the Lord, but it is a game changer.)
Lastly, let’s begin to listen and then obey. Listen for his unmistakable voice. It might seem faint at first but listen closely. Here is a caveat worth heeding, his direction to us is NEVER contradictory to his Word- so we need to get into the Word and see what it says.
Romans 8:14 tells us, For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
John 10:27 says, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Just like the Shepherds in Israel LEAD their flock, the Holy Spirit wants to LEAD us. Let’s get in line with the Spirit and follow his lead. We are told that if we listen, we will know when the Spirit speaks: we will recognize his voice. And my recent experience demonstrates that when we listen, he speaks, and when we obey, glorious and powerful things happen! God is so good!