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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Holy Spirit and Discipleship - Continued

(Continued from Yesterday) Third, in Romans 8:26 – 27, Paul tells us that the Spirit helps us know what to pray.  Stop and think through that for a minute.  Matter of fact turn away from this and pick up your Bible, a pen, and your journal or a blank sheet of paper and take a few minutes to write out what that means, how that impacts you.
We are dependent on the Holy Spirit for prayer, our contribution to the Body, sharing our faith, and our ability to obey.

For me the notion that my Creator not only invites me to talk directly to Him but is also directing me in how to best come to Him, is more than I can comprehend.  It causes me to react much like Isaiah and John when they were allowed a peek into the throne room (Isaiah 6:5 and Revelation 4 & 5).

Fourth, the Spirit builds the Body of Christ.  In 1 Corinthians 12:11 – 13, Paul tells us, through the Holy Spirit, that it is the Spirit that distributes the gifts in the body as He wills.  The Spirit works in each of us, Romans 12:6, gifting us for the purpose of building one another up in the faith, Ephesians 4:14 – 16.  This gifting is one of the foundations for the unity that is supposed to be in the Church.

Fifth, in sharing our faith with others it is the Spirit that gives us the Words to say, Luke 12:11 – 12, and is using those words to effect the outcome in those with whom we are speaking, John 16:8.  Even in our dealing with one another in disagreements or conflicts we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to help us sort those out, Paul reinforces this in 2 Timothy 2:24 - 25.

Lastly, in the area of obedience, Philippians 1:6; 2:13, we read that our obedience is the work of God.  It is not specifically stated here that this is through the Holy Spirit.  However, with all of the other passages that deal with His work in our life, it is not inappropriate to see the Spirit here.

This should take the striving out of discipleship.  Psalm 46:10 tells us we are to cease that ineffective action.  Hebrews 3 & 4 expands that by telling us we are to enter into God’s rest.

What awesome grace we have been given in Christ.


  1. Mike,

    What about the concept of surrender? Surrender is part of the means that the Holy Spirit can enter in and take our acts of obedience and turn them into fruit.

    When Jesus called the disciple they had to choose to follow Him. In doing so they surrendered their lively hood and everything they knew to follow Jesus. In that humble place is where the beginnings of new life is found where the Holy Spirit begins to transform us in a piece of God's Kingdom. It is through surrender that the Word somehow become alive, where prayer become intimate, community become real and evangelism become a ripe harvest.

    When I have met God the closest is when I am surrendered to him.

    1. What a great point. What role, if any, does the Spirit have in your surrender?

    2. I do not believe that we would be able to start the process of surrender without the Spirit's voice nudging us along. The question is how much are you willing to surrender. That will determine if your soil is good or if it is poor for growing the seeds.

    3. OK. So how much of our response to the Lord is due to the Spirit's nudge and how much is our "good" soil? Is the fact that we are nudged somehow connected to the fact that we are good soil already? Or does the nudge make us good soil?

    4. Let's back up a second. Why does the Holy Spirit choose at time to engage us in our disciplines and at other time he seems absent??

      Some people can do all your disciplines and yet appear to not truly walk with the Lord and act more like a Pharisee or the disciples and completely miss it the point of scripture, prayer, etc.

      What makes the abstract concept of the Holy Spirit that you have define the last couple of days and transforms it into something with substance?

      I could take what you have put together and present it to middle school students and it would not make any impact since it has not meat.

      The beauty of the message of the Gospel is that the Creator of the Universe, thanks to the loving act of His Son is willing to recreate us, heaven and earth. He is willing to help us though his Holy Spirit to be made new. What does He ask of us to have His spirit fully enter in? Micah 6:8 Humility, surrender, sacrifice. Where is that status of our hearts as we join Him in the disciplines.

      If we are not engaging the Holy Spirit with our discipline we push the world away from God and do more harm than good.

    5. Thanks for your thoughtful response I have read it several times. I am struggling somewhat with how to respond but here are a couple or more thoughts.

      First, I could not agree more that the disciplines alone are not sufficient - for anything. The focus has to be on knowing Christ, which is why we were given the Holy Spirit in the first place. That was the point of #9, obviously I did not make it well.

      Second, I agree with you the point of the last couple of days is that the disciplines without embracing the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through those disciplines is required in order to gain the benefit intended by the disciplines, namely knowing Christ and understanding His completed work in our life.

      Lastly, for now, I am not sure I agree that middle school kids would not benefit from hearing all of this. It was not written with them in mind, so it would need tweaking. But there is a lot of scripture presented in the 12 pieces and they are all aimed at individuals taking responsibility for their own walk with God through the avenues that God has provided. Further, exposure to these Biblical disciplines can be used by the Holy Spirit to get people’s attention. As Paul said in Philippians 3:15 – 16, we may be engaged in disciplines for the wrong reasons but God can change our hearts in and through the process.

      Again, thank you for your thoughtful questions. I appreciate the time it takes to capture your thoughts in writing. It is not easy to clearly communicate in this form. I struggle with it myself, obviously.

    6. This is definitely not the easiest forum for discussion.

      I didn't mean to say that middle school kids would not benefit, however a trick with teaching and preaching is making things real with the audience. Recently I have notice the teaching and preaching around me sometimes speaks in the abstract. It feels like we have lost the power that goes behind those concepts. That has frustrated me because there is real beautiful story in the Gospel and Kingdom that made people willing to sacrifice their life. If we talk in the abstract we lack the power that should draw people in.