Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Role of the Holy Spirit in a Believer's Life of Obedience

    God calls us as Christians to live a life of complete and utter obedience to Him. As humans this is impossible. There is absolutely no way we can live up to His standard of life on our own. Knowing this, God has given us access to a power that is much greater than ourselves. This power, which enables us to live victoriously in every aspect of life, is the Holy Ghost.
    The Holy Ghost is a part of the Trinity, which consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Not only is it part of the Trinity, but the Bible tells us that it is also a gift (Acts 2:38, 10:45). It is the gift from God that gives us a power to live in victory over sin, be an effective witness to the world, and possess joy and power during the tests of life. Without this power there is no humanly possible way to have victorious Christian life.(Romans 8:8,9b)
    One of the things that God calls Christians to do is to live in victory over sin. Without God this is impossible because we are of the flesh. We walk after the flesh and seek to fulfill our fleshly desires. This is futile. We are told in Romans 8:8 that when we follow after our flesh, we cannot please God. Thankfully, there is hope. When we become Christians, we receive the power to overcome our flesh. This power is the Holy Ghost. When we have this power we are able to turn our backs on our flesh and follow after the Spirit. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that doing so leads to life. (Romans 8:13) 
     God also commands us to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel". As you can imagine, doing so takes a tremendous amount of faith and courage to step outside our comfort zones and share the Word of God with others. God, once again knowing our human tendencies, has provided us with a way. In the beginning of Acts we read, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) The Early Church received the Holy Ghost which gave them the power to witness to the world. The Holy Ghost enabled the Early Apostles to speak in tongues which in turn brought thousands of people to the Lord. (Acts 2:4) The Holy Ghost taught the disciples what to say and also spoke through them in times of need and trial.(Luke 12:12, Mark 13:11)
     This power is not only for the disciples or the great Christians of times past. God has promised to us the Holy Ghost. Being Christians and having received this power, we need to claim that power and use it in serving our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access to a power that will enable us to live completely and utterly in the will of God.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Deep Love

     I sat there in my jail cell, shackled to the wall with heavy chains. I was a notorious criminal; I had broken every command in the land and now I was paying the price.
     I heard the sound of heavy chains dragging along the cold ground as the guards hauled another prisoner to the whipping post. I shuddered at his eerie screams as they echoed down the long corridor. I knew I was next. My shoulders sagged at the thought of the agony I was to endure. I knew I deserved it.
     My head jerked up at the sound of the guards outside my cell door. As I was roughly jerked to my feet and led down the dark corridor, I began to protest loudly.
    "No!" I cried, "You can't take me. Just leave me alone!" I began to fight the guards with the last of my fleeing strength. It was no use. Their strong hold never weakened as they drug me down the corridor.
     Finally giving up, I allowed them to chain me to the whipping post. Arching my back, I listened for the sound of the whip whistling through the air. Gritting my teeth, I prepared for the stinging pain, but it never came. Instead of the whip whistling through the air, I heard a kind voice next to me. In the place of stinging pain, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.
     Glancing up, I saw Him. The Man who had tried to befriend me for so many years. The Man who I turned my back on. The One who I scoffed and taunted day after day. I looked away, ashamed that He should see like this.
    As He unchained me, He commanded the guards to chain Him in MY PLACE.
    Bewildered, I staggered back. Did He not see these filthy rags I wore? Did He not see the whip in the guard's hands? Did He not remember everything I had done to Him? Did He not know of all the crimes I had committed?
     As the whip whistled through the air, He looked into my eyes and I began to understand. As the whip came down on his back, sobs began to rack my body and I crumbled to the ground. As His mouth opened in an agonizing scream, I realized that He did see. He saw it ALL. He saw the filthy rags I wore. He saw that chains on my feet and the jail cell I sat in. He knew of all the sin I had committed. He knew it all, yet He took my place at the whipping post.