I’m still trying to grasp the simplicity—but liberating power—of Christ in me, my hope of glory. The Bible promises that in Him we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
The Holy Spirit lives in me, and the Spirit is all I need for life and godliness—if I’ll let Him influence how I live.
The Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, meekness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). My natural spirit is selfish, and none of these good things.
I used to think the fruit of the Spirit were attributes God would develop in me. I’d become more patient, for example. But wouldn’t that be like expecting oranges to develop on an apple tree? I am more patient than I was, and that’s His doing, as I learn to walk His way a bit. But that’s not my natural spirit, that’s me getting used to His and letting Him shape my responses.
The Holy Spirit hasn’t been grafted onto me to grow—I’ve been grafted onto Him. So I’ll grow as I draw my strength and nourishment from Him. But the thing I come back to is this: He’s already there, invited in and received by faith, even though so rarely seen. So when there’s a stimulus, I can choose how to respond—if I’m submitted to Him and not being selfish.
Think of a standard doorway from a room. Two full-sized people can’t exit side by side; one must go first. LORD, please help me to hold back, to let Your Spirit go out first. Not only does He deserve first place, but His presence will change things in a good way.
This makes me see what Paul says to the Galatians in a different light. Galatians 3:3 says, “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (NIV) He’s talking about the goal of righteousness and salvation, and about them beginning with faith but now trying to hedge their bets by observing the law. But the verse also speaks to me about righteousness and godly living.
Am I trying to do it by human effort? No wonder it’s not working too well. The Spirit isn’t going to take me over and push His way out. Like Anne Graham Lotz says, God is a gentleman. He has manners. I have to choose to let Him out.
© Janet Sketchley, 2008
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