Archive for July, 2010

Why is the Spirit-filled Life so Crucial?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 | Uncategorized

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Last month I mentioned that I would like to explore with you some ways we can depend on God more completely. Let’s start that today.

I believe the foundational element of extreme dependency on God is the Spirit-filled life. Of course the topic is a familiar one to us. It is one of the first things we teach to new Christians.

So rather than dwelling on “how”, I would like to feature “why”. Why is the Spirit-filled life so crucial to our willingness to trust God more and more over time?

Because the Spirit gives us continuous power for living

I just read an email sent to Judy by a young woman whom I know had a very close walk with God a few years ago. She even taught a weekly Bible study with college women.

Here is what she said: “I’ve been going through a faith crisis that has brought me to a point of depression, a questioning of my beliefs and an extreme aggravation…my heart is no longer desiring God, and I find no peace in prayer…It really boils down to a discontentment (with my life).”

She goes on to elaborate on the lack of power she feels to deal with some of the tough circumstances she has been facing over the last year.

So what happened to her? She apparently stopped appropriating the power of the Holy Spirit to gain victory and peace in the middle of adversity. After a while her fresh base of experience convinced her that she couldn’t depend on God to help her.

In other words, as she stopped trusting God for a period of time, she found it harder and harder to trust Him thereafter. We tend to let our feelings play too big a role in our decision making. If we are experiencing defeat, we feel defeated and eventually lose hope. This is one reason it is important to breathe spiritually soon after recognizing a sin in our lives. If we go too long it erodes our willingness to trust God in the future.

Why else is the Spirit-filled life crucial to ongoing dependence on God?

Because the Spirit helps us know God

We tend to trust people more as we get to know them and experience firsthand that they are trustworthy. Sometimes I do “think-work” in a restaurant. If I need to take a brief break, I make sure my cell phone and checkbook are in my pocket. Why don’t I just ask the man sitting in the booth next to mine, “Would you mind keeping an eye on my valuables while I am away for five minutes?” I don’t know him and have no basis for trusting him.

On the other hand, one couple next door has a key to our house because we have lived next to them and learned to trust them for over 15 years.

So it is with God; the more we get to know Him the more we find Him trustworthy, and the more we are willing to depend on Him completely.

So who helps us understand and know God better? The Holy Spirit. Paul teaches us in

I Corinthians 2:10b, 11: “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

The Holy Spirit reveals the heart , mind and trustworthiness of God to us. Over time we learn to trust God more because of what the Holy Spirit helps us learn and understand about Him.

One of the things which I have learned about God as I have walked in the Spirit is that I can depend on Him to bring needy people across my path. Just as I was writing this article at my house, the pest control person came to treat the inside of the house. In the course of the time he was treating the house we talked some about spiritual things. I learned he is a new Christian and I was able to give him a book and DVD to help him grow.

He said, “Could I ask you a question?” “Sure,” was my reply.

“My 11-year old daughter has a girlfriend who thinks she may be homosexual. I found out last night and told my daughter I didn’t want her to spend time with her girlfriend. My daughter wasn’t too happy with me. What would you recommend I do?”

That question led to a 30-minute conversation on how to build a better relationship with his daughter and how to begin to deal with the girlfriend’s sexuality.

I have found that being filled with the Spirit helps me trust God better for life and ministry.