Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Two: Being Empowered.
Our reading for today: Romans 8: 5-11 (MsgB)
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what He is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. But if God Himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of Him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome Him, in whom He dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, He’ll do the same thing in you that He did in Jesus, bringing you alive to Himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and He does, as surely as He did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With His Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
Paul says it so very well here to his friends in Rome; additional words may not be needed.
You see, Jesus of Nazareth never intended for His followers to live their lives alone, nor to struggle through this life wondering what’s up or what’s next? Indeed, true companionship, intimate and on-going relationship with the Divine, is one of the most unique gifts given those who choose to follow Jesus. And that amazing companionship comes through the in-breaking work of the Holy Spirit.
But keep in mind that this is no imaginary friend! No little shadow that follows us meekly wherever we might go.
No. The Holy Spirit is a complete indwelling entity. Invisible, yes. But shy, quiet, mild-mannered, and un-opinionated? No way!
In truth, every man, woman and child who decides that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior, must come to the realization that the indwelling and empowering Holy Spirit is now the One who desires to be in charge of our lives. He is the driver, the motivator, the giver of Truth, Wisdom and Peace (as we discussed last time), especially at those times in life when it feels as though there is no truth, wisdom or peace to be found!
But before we leave this week’s conversation on the Holy Spirit, I must ask you, my dear reader…have you invited the in-breaking, in-dwelling, empowering presence of the Spirit to work powerfully inside you today?
Now don’t get confused. At times, it seems as though there are two types of churches out there. Those who say that you must ask Jesus into your heart; and then those churches who tell you that this step just might not be sufficient and that you must also ask the Holy Spirit in as well! I admit it…it really can seem a bit messy at times, can’t it?
But here’s the truth. As you and I grow ever closer to Jesus of Nazareth, trusting Him more and more with our lives, giving Him an ever-increasing role as Lord and Savior, we are also welcoming in the Holy Spirit! Keep in mind that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three separate personalities, all of whom you must develop a working relationship with! The Triune God we find in the New Testament is one entity, yet each Person of the Trinity (Father, Son & Spirit) plays different roles in our broken lives, all of which are vital components to living what the Church would call the Christ-centered life.
So know this.
If you’ve given you’re heart to Jesus at some point in the past, praise God…welcome to the family of God. Many people can point to that one special moment in their lives when they made that important decision for Christ. And it’s my belief that the Holy Spirit came deep inside you the moment you made that choice. Then, there are others, myself included, who simply can’t point to one particular moment in our past, but a series of moments when we decided that Jesus was the One we would follow for the remainder of our days. For us, I say, yes, the Holy Spirit has been given to us, sent as our Helper each time we’ve said our yes to Jesus.
But as a good friend, a pastor, once told me when I asked him why he prayed each and every day for the in-breaking, indwelling, empowering work of the Holy Spirit…
“Marty, I don’t know about you, but in my life…I leak!”
So today, as you and I live in a very difficult place called Planet Earth…a place that can puncture us pretty severely at times, I suggest praying this prayer…
My prayer: Holy Spirit of the Living God…come fill me once again today. Life is hard but God is good. So in Jesus’ name, I invite You, Spirit, to come again, indwell me, empower me, fill me, mold me, make me, and please Lord…for Heaven’s sake…plug up my leaks today for Your glory and for Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So where has life punctured me recently? Where am I leaking? What parts of my life need to be reminded that I’m always safe in Christ and yet where do I need to be reminded that I’m always needing to draw ever closer to Him as well?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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