Saturday, April 23, 2011

Meditations on the Spirit

Yeah, I know it's been a while, but I feel that the Lord is finally leading me to write another post. Anyway, recently, Ive been going through the Bible reading all the verses on the Holy Spirit. I am not finished yet, but it has been an amazing study so far, and I've been learning alot. I want to highlight just a few of the verses and show you what God spoke to me in them. Also, I highly reccomend doing this study to everyone, lest we end up ignorant of the things of the Spirit (I Cor. 12:1).

"And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." -Ezekiel 36:27

In this passage, God is speaking to the children of Judah taken captive to Babylon. Notice the order in which the statements are arranged. God promises that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit FIRST, and THEN they would walk in His statutes, keep His judgements, and do them. One of the biggest misconceptions about the Spirit is that He is like some sort of currency in a heavenly reward system in which the better we are, the more that God will fill us with His Spirit. We read verses about the Spirit being a mark of those that are in Christ and often interpret it as saying that if we come to Christ, we are rewarded with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we think that if we are really good and seek the Lord, He will chose to fill us with His Spirit and use us in a mighty way. However, one thing that is important to remember is that the Spirit is the cause, not the result, of any good that we do. The Spirit is the mark of a believer because it is the Spirit who makes the believer a believer. We do any good works that we do because the Spirit put in us to do those works, and not only that, but God had prepared those works for us to do before we even did them (Eph. 2:10). With this in mind, it is foolish to take any pride in our own works. God does not "owe" us the Spirit, we recieve the Spirit as He choses according to His will. We call the "fruit" of the Spirit fruit because fruit is the natural result of a groing tree. Likewise, good works are the natural product of a Spirit-filled life, but do not themselves cause the filling of the Spirit.

Dwell on that image of the fruit of the Spirit. Fruit are a product of a tree. They do not produce the tree from which they grow. However, in them are the seeds with which more trees can be made. The same way, even though our works do not bring the Spirit into our own lives, the Spirit uses our works to create new, Spirit filled believers. What a beautiful picture!

"And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man." -I Samuel 10:6

How beautiful a phrase it is that the Spirit turns us into another man. The Holy Spirit is in the business of transforming lives, not just changing them. He is a rebuilder, not a renovator. He is not simply satisfied with changing a few things in our lives. Our lives are to be completely different now that we have the Spirit in us than before we were saved. Paul does not say that our old man (our life before we were saved) is changed, but crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6). Any life in which the Spirit truly dwells will be radically different from how it was before salvation. Does your life have such a change? Or are you merely trying to change things about your life. This is done on your own effort, and will never work.

"And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly." - I Sam. 11:6

In many passages in Scripture featuring the Holy Spirit, the Spirit comes upon someone and they are able to do something tremendous. They might recieve a prophecy, be filled with strength, recieve wisdom, or any other miracculous feat. This time, in comparison, may seem a little strange. What is so miraculous about getting angry, it may seem at first. However, a closer examination reveals a beautiful ministry of the Spirit here. In this passage, the Holy Spirit is giving Saul the heart of God. The Spirit helps us to hate the things God hates and love the things God loves. When you look at it, this is even more miraculous than recieving tremendous strength. God loves good and obedience and hates sin. Naturally, humans love the pleasure sin gives us and hate authority and the pain from doing what's right. Yet as the Spirit begins to work in our hearts, we recieve a tremendous change. We learn to go against our human nature, to align our hearts with God, and think eternally. Many gifts of the Spirit are use just for a moment, but this ministry changes our hearts and minds forever. What an amazing ministry of the Spirit!

"And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;" -Isaiah 11:2

This passage is a prophecy about the coming Messiah, Jesus. The "him" is Jesus. I find it very interesting that the Spirit was working and empowering Jesus throughout His life and ministry on earth. This verse said that the Spirit gave Jesus wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. If anyone didn't need the Spirit to provide these things, it would be Jesus. If Jesus had a need of these things, how much more reliant should we be on the Spirit for our lives? How much more should we pray for the Holy Spirit to give us these things?

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;" -Isaiah 61:1

Isaiah is the speaker in this passage. Here you see that he had a real sense of what his ministry was that the Spirit had called him to. It is the Spirit who gives us our ministry. He gifts us in ways that we will need for our ministry and then leads us there. A good friend of mine once told me, "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." God doesn't look for Spirit-filled people to use. He fills people with the Spirit so that He can use them. Each of us have a ministry that God has specifically called us to. The Spirit gives us the ability to do that ministry. For Isaiah, that ministry was to preach good tidings, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and open the prison of them that are bound. What is it for you? If you don't know what it is, look how the Spirit has gifted you and think how they can be used for Christ's Kingdom. Then go out and minister by the Spirit!

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