Saturday, April 28, 2007

Living Life In The Spirit - Part 1

Marriage and parenting can be really difficult at times. I don't know about you, but I want to get this thing right. As a believer, there is a power that works in us to help us and aid us in every role we find ourselves in as we live out this life. That includes our roles as spouses and as parents. Hopefully, this series of articles will help shed some light on how you can tap into this power in your everyday life.

In scripture, we are instructed to live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit, etc. All of that, of course, can sound pretty mystical and even a little freaky if we have no understanding of it. If we aren't careful, we can make this into a spiritual "twilight zone" experience that becomes very impractical and unfruitful. I don't know about you, but I'm a pretty practical person. When I am instructed in scripture to do something, I need to know how to apply that to my life in a very practical way. I believe that although the Spirit of God dwelling in us is something very supernatural, His ministry in and through us is a very practical thing. I think it is safe to say, if we are instructed to live life "in the Spirit" then we can learn how to live life "in the Spirit."

First off, we must understand that the key to living in the Spirit is learning to yield to the Holy Spirit in our lives. It's not a legalistic lifestyle of trying not to sin, it is simply becoming sensitive to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to live through us. Let me give you an example. I struggle in the area of patience sometimes. Now, part of the character of the Holy Spirit is patience. Let's say I'm stuck in traffic and cars are just inching along. I have a choice to allow myself to yield to the Holy Spirit in me and exercise patience or blast right through that Holy Spirit yield sign. Most of the time I blast right by that yield sign. We call that living in the flesh not living in the spirit. As a result, the world sees my character and not that of the Holy Spirit in me.

So often we find ourselves praying for things like patience and what God wants us to realize is that learning to be patient is directly tied to a choice on our part to yield to the Holy Spirit in us. If you are a born again believer, filled with the Holy Spirit, then the character and personality of the Spirit of God dwells in you. Believe me, its in there somewhere. You may have trouble locating it sometimes, but trust me its there. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all attributes that you and I can tap into if we will learn to yield to the Holy Spirit in us.

Some may be reading this and thinking, there is no way this can be so simple. There is something in us that wants to make the Christian life a difficult thing to understand. I don't think it is. Sure, to the unbeliever spiritual truths are a mystery. However, for the believer, God has sent the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in our discovery of the truth. God doesn't want us in the dark when it comes to understanding how to live life in the Spirit. Now, don't get me wrong. Understanding the Christian life and how to walk it out is different than actually walking it out. Therein, is our struggle. It's a process. A lifelong process. And, it's a lot easier said than done. The Word of God tells us that the flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit wars against the flesh. It's a war and wars are tough. And, sometimes they can get really ugly. But again, the Holy Spirit is in us helping us through the battle. Trust me, this living in the Spirit thing is not nearly as hard as we try to make it out to be.

Ok, so you're still not convinced? Let me give you a couple of examples that I think will help push this point home. When Mary was approached by the angel and told that she was going to give birth to Jesus, her response was "Be it done unto me according to your word." Her responsibility in the whole process was to allow God to do what He wanted to do through her. God was going to do all the work, all he wanted her to do, was yield to Him. Ok, now I know what some of you moms are thinking. I'm not saying that carrying a baby for nine months and then delivering that child is not work. What I am saying is that Mary had no part in this immaculate conception except to yield to it. Now, lets look at your salvation experience. God sent His Son to die a brutal death and then God miraculously raised Him from the dead. Your responsibility in the salvation experience was to believe that truth and then simply yield your life to Him. All through scripture, God worked through men and women who would simply yield themselves to Him. The Holy Spirit longs to work through you and I but, in order for that to happen we have to yield to Him.

So where do you begin? What is an area you struggle with? Perhaps you find that you consistently respond harshly to your children or spouse. Or, maybe you find it difficult to walk in love toward someone who has wronged you. Whatever it may be, take one area and focus on that. I mentioned earlier that I struggle in the area of patience, so that's an area I've committed to work on. Take some 3 X 5 cards and write down scriptures that apply to that one area and keep those in front of you. Put them on your computer, tape them to your sun visor, put them on your refrigerator, put them on your bathroom mirror, and carry them in your pocket. You'll find that as you practice yielding to the Holy Spirit in that area, that the process will become easier and easier until your normal reaction will be a reflection of the Holy Spirit in you. That's called transformation. That's where we all want to be.

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