Last week, I talked about identity in Christ as the foundation point for all discipleship. Part 2 to Part 1 is learning and experiencing the Holy Spirit.
There is no way I’m going to be able to put all that you need to know about the Spirit in a single post. We just recently spent 5 weeks on the topic in our series Forgotten God. That’s a good place to start as well as Francis Chan’s book by the same name. (By the way – we still have some extra Forgotten God books in the office!)
What I can cover here is just the basics.
But the basics are important. Without the basics, so many Christ-followers needlessly struggle in their walk with Jesus. It’s like they have no power in their walk and they don’t because they don’t understand, nor do they really have a relationship with the Spirit. It’s like they’ve got this brand new Camaro in the driveway of their life with no fuel in it. Looks great but utterly pointless because they don’t have the strength to push this car around and it was never designed to be pushed, it was designed to be driven. And driven…under the speed limits and within the driving laws of the state of Kansas. (Every analogy breaks down somewhere…)
Let me shoot out a few basics…then I’ll wrap this up with a helpful story.
Spirit as Creator – Genesis 1:1-2, Psalm 104:30
Spirit as Anointer – Isaiah 61:1
Spirit Convicts & Redeems – John 16:7-8
Spirit Gifts for Service – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11
Spirit Indwells Us – Ephesians 1:13-14, 1 Corinthians 3:16, Acts 2:38
From John 14:15-17
The Spirit is: from the Father, our advocate, with us and in us.
From John 14:25-27
The Spirit is: God, teaches us all things, reminds us of Jesus, is the peace of God.
From John 15:26-27
The Spirit is: from Jesus, testifies about Jesus, moves us to testify about Jesus.
From John 16:7-11
The Spirit: convicts about sin, teaches about righteousness
From John 16:12-14
The Spirit: guides us in truth, speaks to us, only speaks what He hears from the Father, and glorifies Jesus.
This obviously is not every verse or passage that teaches on the Spirit, but it gives a fairly comprehensive picture of Him.
How do I receive the Spirit? Will I start speaking in a foreign language or something?
I realize whole denominations have split trying to answer this question but I think we’ve made this a lot more difficult than it needs to be. The moment we pray to make Jesus the leader of our life, the Spirit comes and resides in us. That does not mean we have necessarily “received” him.
“Receive” is about welcoming Him, allowing Him to work on our hearts, giving Him permission to have control. There was a time in my life when Amy and I had to live with her parents for a few months while I transitioned from active duty in the Army to the “real world.” We had only been married for a little over a year and I’d heard nightmare stories about husbands living with the in-laws. One guy told me that he would get up in the morning, sit at the same table with his mother-in-law and she would not say a word to him.
Fortunately for me, I had the opposite experience. Amy’s parent’s RECEIVED me into their house. I got my own key and garage door opener. They cooked for me even when Amy wasn’t around! We played cards, talked sports, went to baseball games. They made their home feel like my home. I could come and go as I pleased.
Same way with the Spirit. Some people treat the Spirit like the unwanted son-in-law, ignoring Him, refusing to acknowledge Him, never giving Him permission to move in and set up shop.
Next week – Part 2 of the 5 Part Simple Discipleship.You can find more of Grant's random thoughts on his blog.