LIVING IN THE PRESENCE
As we begin the New Year, take a few minutes to think about the needs of the people around you. Every day we hear of nations which are being weakened by poverty and debt, regions devastated by war and natural disasters, and families shattered by crime and accident.
We might not know these people personally but our hearts ache at their pain and our inability to help them. Then we read in the Bible about ‘trampling on the works of the enemy’, and feel powerless to do anything which will make a difference to the damaged lives we know so well.
You long to take a spiritual step forward, yet something always seems to hold you back. You want to pray effectively, speak about Jesus, see somebody healed, or conquer your own weaknesses. When you pray little seems to change. Then you compare your personal experience with the stories in the New Testament – and you begin to despair. Does this describe you? Is it an accurate picture of your life, even in part?
Deep down, we know that it can be different – that it should be different. We know that Jesus lives, acts and heals today through his body on earth. We understand that the Holy Spirit has been poured onto the church to enable all Christians to share Jesus’ power and authority. We know that the Spirit’s presence in our lives should make a dynamic difference to people around us.
Be ready to be equipped
When we are living in the presence of the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-Holy Spirit, he can activate any of his abilities in us and through us. He can do this when, where, and how he wants. Without him we will always be ineffective. With him, nothing is impossible.
God wants to impact your life this year. He wants to bring every aspect of Christ’s abundant life to you. Then, having received from him, his freedom and wholeness will flow from you to others around you.
Learning to listen
One of the main principles of effective Christian living and serving is being close enough to the Spirit to hear what he is saying and to recognise his voice.
If a very close friend telephones, we do not need to be told who it is, for we know their voice. Likewise, we need to develop such an intimate friendship with the Spirit that we can tell the difference between his voice, the devil’s voice and our own thoughts.
Make sure that you don’t fall into either of the following traps. Don’t be so frightened of making a fool of yourself that you do nothing; and never assume that you must always have heard God accurately. Learn to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit. That’s where it all begins.
Throughout his year I will be bringing a series of articles in Revival Times that will help you to live and act day by day in the presence of the Holy Spirit
SURRENDERING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
My earnest prayer for you is that you will submit yourself completely to the work and presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
This will not be something which happens by accident. God will not make you submit to him. You must decide. It has to be a conscious act of your will -one that you go on making every day of your life.
In fact, the degree to which you submit to the leadership and the initiative of the Spirit is the degree to which the Spirit can reveal Christ through your life.
If the Holy Spirit asks us to do something, no matter how trivial or demanding, he will always supply everything we need to carry out his task. We need to hear his voice, obey his command, and then depend entirely on his provision.
Surrendering to the Spirit does not mean only obeying his every prompting, it also means never acting on our own initiative. Presumption is just as wrong and unhelpful as disobedience! If God does not tell us to do something, no amount of effort on our part will ever achieve it.
We are called to live in his presence and become true partners with the Spirit. Our part is to provide the arms, legs, mouth, touch, voice, and so on. His part is to direct and enable. We cannot control or manipulate God. He works through us but he does not do this mechanically, over-riding our free will.
We have to co-operate with the Spirit as a genuine partner in the task of taking God’s healing love to the hurting world where we live.
Time for a change
The broken and damaged people you meet daily all need to be changed by the loving power of the Holy Spirit.
The world has had enough of religion without power and is repulsed by religion without purity. Yet Jesus Christ, the perfect example of full power and total purity, is alive and is working in the world through his church.
Jesus is looking for men and women who will turn away from mere human reasoning and worldly methods and instead will live always in complete dependence on the Holy Spirit. He wants us. Jesus is calling us all to share the life of his Holy Spirit.
You know that it is time for a change in your life. It is time for you to move into the permanent presence of the Spirit. Now is God’s time for you to start living in purity and in power. Not for your sake, but so that our needy world can feel God’s saving love and healing touch.