Years ago, when we bought bicycles for our children they came unassembled. I did not pull the parts out of the box and say, “Kids look at the picture. Now build it!” Nor did they say, “We don’t need your help we can do this our own way.” We worked together. They followed my directions, while I explained the instructions inside the box. Much of the work I did because they didn’t have the abilities necessary for many of the tasks.
Galatians 5:16,17-- I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.
The Bible depicts for us what a perfect life looks like in Jesus Christ. But God never said, “Okay you’ve read the story now go be like my Son.” No matter how much we want to imitate Christ, we cannot be holy by our own strength. God, knowing this, sent His Holy Spirit to counsel us in how we should live. So, how do we obtain His leading and help?
First, we must understand that to walk with the Holy Spirit means civil war. Until the day we die, our sinful nature will oppose God’s agenda for us. So it should not surprise us when we experience discouragement! Our goals and aspirations are often quite different than God’s plan for us. The sinful nature appeals to a will centered on self-gratification. Walking with the Spirit requires a will submitted to the lordship of Christ. The two are mutually exclusive. So long as we assemble our lives around our own pleasure, and ignore the Spirit’s leading, we’re not going anywhere with God. Galatians 5:19-21 shows us what results when our sin nature wins.
Second, we must understand what is important to the H.S. so we can submit to His quiet voice! The Apostle Paul tells us to use the sword of the Spirit, which isthe word of God(Ephesians 6:17). The Bible is a key component with which the Spirit will guide and protect us. If we want His help we must value and obey it. As Oswald Chambers shared in He Shall Glorify Me,“There is no authentic impulse of the Holy Spirit that is not wedded to the words of the Bible. To recognize this is the only way to be safe from dangerous delusions.” Suppose Henry is sleeping with Mendy and they are not married. He says, “Hey, it’s okay. We talk about God a lot. The Spirit brought us together.” No—a million times! The Spirit will never violate the Scripture to please our sin nature. God will surely judge Henry and Mendy for disobeying Him. Unless they repent, they will miss out on His blessings.
When the Holy Spirit leads us He produces in us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22,23). We feel good about our lives, do not carry around guilt and we have no need to justify our behavior. Our character, attitude and conduct reflect godliness. I know which side I want to win—how about you!
I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who does the job. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger is filled.—Corrie Ten Boom in Each New Day Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 1.
If we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and self-seeking and pleasure and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God, and I believe many a man is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else.—Dwight L. Moody
Nothing is more dangerous than to put a wedge between the Word and the Spirit, to emphasize either one at the expense of the other. It is the Spirit and the Word, the Spirit upon the Word, and the Spirit in us as we read the Word.—Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 3.
God does not fill with his Holy Spirit those who believe in the fullness of the Spirit, or those who desire him, but those who obey him.—F. B. Meyer (1847-1929)
Let me put it to you with the story of a simple, illiterate man who was converted through the work of the Salvation Army. He went regularly to the Salvation Army citadel. One day he came home rather disconsolate. His wife said, “What's the matter?” He said, “I've just noticed that all the people in the Salvation Army wear red sweaters, and I don't have a red sweater.” She said, “I’ll knit one.” So she knitted him a red sweater. The next Sunday after he went to the citadel, he still wasn't happy. His wife said, “What's wrong this time?” He said, “I just noticed all their red sweaters have yellow writing.” They were both illiterate, but she said, “Don't worry about it. I'll embroider some writing on for you.” She had no idea what the yellow writing on the red sweater of a Salvation Army man said—Any of you know what it is? They have a yellow circle, and in it, BLOOD AND FIRE. That s their motto. (Unbutton the jacket of a Salvation Army man when he's ringing his little bells sometime; tell him you're just checking.)
The man’s wife had no idea what the letters said, and she couldn’t read anyway. So copying a sign from a store window opposite their home, she embroidered the words of that store sign onto his red sweater. When he came back the next Sunday, she said, “Did they like your sweater?” “They loved my sweater. Some of them said they liked my sweater better than their sweater.” What neither of them knew was that the sign on the store window she had copied read, THIS BUSINESS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.
That’s what it means to get saved. That’s what it means to get converted. That’s what it means for the Holy Ghost to come upon you: this business under new management.—Stuart Briscoe, “Christmas 365 Days a Year,” Preaching Today, Tape 135.
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)