The Holy Spirit – Day 16
The Influence of the Holy Spirit
The text today comes straight to the crux of the Christian life. It would be interesting to know how many people can immediately identify with it and how many think that it sounds anomalous.
It is hard to imagine a living spirit in a dead body! On the one hand it is perfectly plausible to accept that if we are Christians, we are controlled by Christ’s Spirit living within us, but on the other, we are aware of the often unsatisfactory state of our lives, and may feel that we live in a constant state of tension between the sinful nature and the Holy Spirit.
We know that Jesus told His disciples in Luke 9:23 that, “Whoever wants to be (His) disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow (Him)”, but we don’t always know how that works practically. Clearly we must stop indulging ourselves and arrest wrongdoing that comes so easily to our natural self, the body. We must reject those things that oppose the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. In Ephesians 5:1, when he urges them to “be imitators of God”, Paul gives them a list of things to shun: sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity and foolish talk or coarse joking (Ephesians 5:3-4). This is not always easy, as some things may have begun imperceptibly, and are now habits. Nevertheless, we must examine ourselves, with the Spirit’s help, and evaluate how we can break them. It may be hard, but let us take heart because “(We) can do everything through him who gives (us) strength” (Philippians 4:13) and accomplishing this will bring new joy and freedom.
From the time we trust Christ for salvation and experience the miracle of His Spirit living in us, we are able to die to ourselves and we will experience His help in all aspects of our lives. His Spirit will help us to understand the Bible and put His principles into practice; in prayer and in working through problems we will become aware of His help; we will begin to discern His voice and be empowered to serve Him and do His will; we will discover the gifts that will enable us to build up others and be fruitful in the Church, as Paul describes in Ephesians: “… for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
If we set our hearts on following Jesus Christ and have the Spirit living in us, we will be victorious.