Life in the Spirit (Volume 2)
In the past few weeks, we looked at these foundations on what it means to live a Biblically spiritual life. We learned that to live in the Spirit…
1. You must first be Born in the Spirit
2. You must “know” the Holy Spirit
3. You must walk by the Spirit
4. You must be indwelt by the Spirit
5. You must develop Spiritual Disciplines
6. You must be filled with the Spirit
As you all know, my wife has been here more than a week now and I have been the happiest man alive since her arrival. But with her arrival comes a new lifestyle. I can’t live life anymore as if I am single. This is now our life as a married couple. So far so good, but I am sure along the way there will be some adjustments and changes as we figure out our life together and commit to a growing and thriving intimacy with one another and the Lord.
Change is inevitable when you enter a new relationship status; when you enter into a committed, "no turning back" relationship. When someone now co-habits your place of dwelling. What changes began to happen when Jesus entered your life? When the Holy Spirit begins to inhabit your heart and makes your life His dwelling, we enter into what the Bible calls "sanctification". It is the process of transformation by which the Christian becomes more like Christ as the Holy Spirit now begins to lead this new life we have entered into.
In the previous week we have learned that the Christian Life is impossible to be lived unless we are "continuously" being filled by the Spirit. Ephesians 5:15-18 instructs us not to be drunk with wine but be filled by the Spirit of God. The contrast with drunkenness is the key here. What do people go to alcohol for? For a happy hour. We all want to be happy, but there is a problem: “The days are evil.” Notice the logic of verses 16–18:
"The days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk . . . but be filled with the Spirit."
Where do you turn when the days are evil, when you are frightened or discouraged or depressed or anxious? Paul pleads with us: “Don’t turn to alcohol; turn to the Spirit. Anything of value that alcohol can bring you, God the Holy Spirit can bring more.”
Let's establish this concept further with a context and key passage in Ephesians 4:17-24, which pertains to our IDENTITY as Christians:
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Depends on the Translation Version of your Bibles, there is usually a subheading in that part of the text. On NIV the subheading is "Instructions for Christian Living". As we continue to answer the question on "What does Living in the Spirit mean?", it is important to understand our IDENTITY in Christ. That is actually a synonymous question to "What does CHRISTIAN LIVING look like?"
This thought leads us to our 7th foundational truth to living life in the Spirit:
7. To Live in the Spirit means to be Led by the Spirit.
If we claim that we are Christians or are children of God, the question to ask is are we being led by the Spirit of God?
The Holy Spirit SPEAKS…Are we listening? Are we obeying?
To be Led means to Listen and Obey.
We can become so used to being in control that we find it hard to FOLLOW. We can educate ourselves very well, be high achievers and accumulate so much wealth and possessions to the point of unhealthy self-reliance. Western culture had become so independent and individualistic of each other that encourages this mindset of self-reliance as well. Nelson Mandela’s INVICTUS reflects this idea:
"It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."
But this is not the Christian belief. Jesus is the master of our fate and the Holy Spirit should be the captain of our soul. The Christian life is supposed to be a Spirit-led life. We are to learn how to fully depend and trust in the Holy Spirit. To be led means we cannot always choose where we are going, what we are doing, how we are going to do it and when are doing it. TOTAL SURRENDER and ABSOLUTE TRUST in God is what Christianity really looks like.
Romans 8:14 says:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
In the Bible, men and women of God succeeded in life and in mission as they continued to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The accounts in Acts alone give us plenty of examples to see how the Holy Spirit actively leads and He still does today. He speaks to the man or woman who listens.
2 While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Ultimately, our Lord Jesus Himself, subjected Himself to full dependence and reliance on the Holy Spirit:
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them, he was hungry.
The Lord, in His full humanity, was showing us a pattern of living. He wanted us to follow in His example of utter dependence on the Father and the Spirit because that's where He positioned us - in the unbroken communion and intimacy with the Trinity as children of God. His calling is for us to learn the leadership of the Holy Spirit and to humbly submit, listen and follow His voice and receive His enabling as we walk our journey of faith here in the now and not yet.
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION:
What are the ways by which God speaks to us?
Share a time when you knew God was speaking or leading you to do something for Him.
What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? How do we know it is the Spirit of God leading and not just our own opinion?
Reflect on the verses given above. How is our identity related to our behaviour as Christians?
What hinders our lives to be led by the Spirit of God? How can we overcome them and train ourselves to be completely dependent on the Holy Spirit?