People are intrigued with ‘inside information!’ Who doesn’t like to have access to a secret? Knowing what others do not, mastering some skill or gaining some level of expertise helps us to find value in our world. So, let me ask you this. Is there a compelling quality to your Christianity, a kind of joy, an authenticity, a discipleship that others desire? Are you capable of living in love, dealing with hardship, and consistently influencing the world in which you live for good?
Mature Christianity, true discipleship, is for all people, not just for a spiritual elite nor a few religious professionals! So what is the secret of a rich, deep, satisfying life in God? Read on.
Yesterday the Church marked Pentecost Sunday. It is a remembrance of a day that is recorded in the book of Acts on which a remarkable change was made in the lives of those first Believers. Reading the stories in the Gospels we find immature, fumbling, spiritual powerless men who are often at a loss for spiritual understanding. They confront evil and are defeated by it.
50 days after Passover, when Jesus was crucified, they were gathered in the Upper Room, waiting… yes, just waiting. The Resurrected Jesus told them that they would become world-changers, but that there was a gift prepared for them by God. “In one of these meetings as he was eating a meal with them, he told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what he promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”” (Acts 1:4-5, NLT) “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8, NLT)
So after His ascension to Heaven, they waited – and then it happened! “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” (Acts 2:1-4, NLT) When God, the Holy Spirit, came into their hearts and minds, there was a complete transformation.
The Spirit IN us – this is the open secret of our faith. We make a mistake if we think that being “Christian” is intellectually knowing doctrines of faith though study is important!. We are sidetracked into dead religion if we believe that Christ came to ask us to chafe under heavy weight of rules of morality or to keep on going through the motions of religious rituals.
We are invited to become the people of the Spirit, owned by the Lord, overflowing with a Life that is eternal and rich. Jesus promised that when He, the 2nd person of the Trinity, left this earth, God would remain, known to us through the 3rd Person – the Spirit. “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:26-27, NLT)
The Spirit-filled life is described throughout the New Testament. He is the open Secret of the Christian life, the power that enabled those people to do God’s work, to endure; yes, to thrive!
And, He is ours, today.
How do we live this life? I hesitate to write of that only because some will try to make it a formula.
There is no universal formula for the Spirit-filled life because we are unique and God’s thoughts are infinitely greater than ours but, there are principles that guide us to know Him.
First – the Spirit-filled life is one of FAITH.
The Holy Spirit does not ‘possess’ us without our cooperation, nor will He knock down the door to take up residence. We come to God in faith and accept His promise. One of my daily prayers is “Come, Holy Spirit.” He is, of course, God and therefore always present, but with that invitation, I make myself present to Him.
Second – the Spirit-filled life is one of SEEKING.
Jesus spoke of “hungering and thirsting” for God. The LORD told Jeremiah that “You will find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV) Are you a seeker?
Third – the Spirit-filled life is one of WORSHIP.
Worship is a way of life centered on God, learning to think His thoughts, to revere Him in ways big and small. What happens when we live as worshippers? The Spirit’s Presence grows brighter in us and we become “witnesses” people whose lives are statements of His worthiness. This was said of the disciples who were Spirit-filled. In Jerusalem it was said of them that ‘they had been with Jesus.’ He rubbed off on them. Worshipful Christians will become known primarily for the Presence that lives in them.
Fourth – the Spirit is a GIFT to us.
We cannot work ourselves into a place where we are worthy of being baptized in the Spirit! We can no more earn His fullness than we can earn a place in God’s holy family. He is God’s gift, coming to those who are hungry to know God. If we ready to settle for satisfaction with food, fun, money, and sex – we are not likely to seek or know the Spirit’s fullness. But, when we have come to the end of those things, we are ready to look higher and say, “Come, Holy Spirit!”
Ready to thrive?
Ready to be fully alive?
Pray for a Pentecost, for God, the Holy Spirit to come and overflow in you.
Here is a word from the Word.
“So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him “Father, dear Father.” For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” (Romans 8:12-17, NLT)
Oh, Lord, make us fully alive in the Spirit.
(Video of this blog at this link)
Oh let the Son of God enfold you
With His Spirit and His love
Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul
Oh let Him have those things that hold you
And His Spirit like a dove
Will descend upon your life and make you whole
Jesus oh Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs
Jesus oh Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs
Oh come and sing this song with gladness
As your hearts are filled with joy
Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name
Oh give Him all your tears and sadness
Give Him all your years of pain
And you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name
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