Today I’ve started reading two books that threaten to further destabilise any hope I had of retaining my old superior ways of engaging with God. The first book looks at the problem of legalism and how it negates the New Covenant relationship I have with Christ based on grace.
The second book is called Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Dr. Jack Deere. I’m not one to completely take on board the thoughts and views of any writer, speaker, teacher or preacher. I endeavour to separate good from bad and allow good to challenge, provoke, stimulate and encourage me as it should. I don’t always succeed in the endeavour and sometimes I completely miss God in the whole affair. One thing I have picked up over time, however, is a growing awareness of my serious character flaws that God has healed although my journey towards its realisation is still in progress.
One of those areas is my pride often revealed in my desire to be right about the Word. It only crops up all too often, however, that the more I read the Word the more I realise that I don’t know the Word at all and that it’s best to just submit myself to this fact first and foremost and then allow that to reshape me. One particular area is in regard to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
It is a contentious area of teaching and application and open for much abuse and neglect. Something I am only too aware of now is that I ignore the ministry of the Holy Spirit at my peril. Likewise I pontificate about the ministry of the Holy Spirit at my peril. One thing I must endeavour to do is earnestly search the scriptures and God in prayer to understand more of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and the life of the church and apply that whenever I can.
I believe it is through the Spirit that God calls me, equips me, inspires me, provokes me and transforms me into the image of Christ. I believe that the power that raised Jesus from the dead can enable me to live above sin. I believe it is that same power that can conquer deep-rooted sin in my life and release me from bondages that I realise now prevent me from really operating in the freedom in which Christ has set me free. I believe it is this same power that convicts and converts me periodically – sometimes daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes minutely, sometimes seasonally. And yet for all that I believe I am only too aware that there is so much more for me to understand and to know – not just head knowledge, but whole life application – that will allow me to consciously, deliberately and intentionally engage in life in the Spirit that sees me producing fruit that lasts and brings honour to the Father in the name of the Son.
I feel daunted at times by the size and implications of all this, but then I am reminded of the holy love that sent Jesus to die on the cross for me and I realise that this journey is one of righteousness, peace and joy – to embrace and live life in the Spirit is to truly respond to the love so amazing and so divine that demands my soul, my life, my all.
For His Name's Sake
da man cd