Is Your Spiritual Life Dormant?

 

Daffodils, gladiolas, and tulips are blooming in full colors, a sign of spring and new life. Their blooms burst out from bulbs that lie dormant during the cold winter months, hiding in the dark ground until the days become warmer and the power of the sun shines in the sky.

Much like the flowering bulbs, many Christians are hiding in the cold ground, lying dormant even though they have the potential to bloom and produce abundant fruit. Instead, there is no sign of new life. They seem frozen in their walks with God, at a standstill. Because of a cold heart towards God and His Word, the Holy Spirit’s power is dormant. Apathy ensues and soon there is little or no sign of life. They wonder why they can’t love others, can’t be patient, have no desire to forgive, don’t have self-control to stop certain actions, or don’t experience peace but instead fear and strife. They just don’t desire the things of God.

Believers in Jesus have been given an inner power, the Holy Spirit, who gives new life which produces spiritual fruit in those who desire to live godly lives. Jesus promised his disciples the Holy Spirit would come to guide and instruct them, giving them the power to obey his commands.

“[God] will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you…He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:16-17

The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us new life in our thinking and actions when we come to receive Jesus as Savior:

“the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God…you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his children.”  Romans 8:10, 15

“He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth, and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

So why are some Christians not experiencing this new life?  Many do not rely on the power given to them by the Holy Spirit, and some walk away from God and his commands to be different from the world. They have gone back to their sinful ways and look no different than the world. Evidently, the Christians in Galatia also had this problem:

You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves… the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires…But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. “Galatians 3: 2-3, 5:16, 22-23, 25

There is hope from God’s Word. He says to take action. Don’t make the Holy Spirit sad, but choose to put away the sinful actions that keep us dormant in the cold:

throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception…Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live.” Ephesians 4:22-24, 30

When we as Christians admit that our lives are not fruitful and the Holy Spirit is dormant, we can go to God in prayer. He desires us to ask him to change us.

“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” James 5:15

Maybe you need to pray right now, asking God to make you alive and fruitful through the Holy Spirit. Ask him to produce the spiritual fruits in your daily life. Then watch for the beautiful blooms as God works and renews your life through the Spirit.

 “When it is a question of God’s almighty Spirit, never say, I can’t.”            Oswald Chambers

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The Power of Self Control

It’s February, just a few weeks since New Year resolutions. How is it going? Some victories, some changes? By now, some people may have given up or forgotten their new direction and desire for change.

When I decide to make a road trip I plan the route, clean the car, put my packed suitcase in the back, take food and drinks for the ride, and I’m ready to go. But if there is no gas in the car, with all my planning and preparing I’m not going anywhere. Like the road trip, I can make plans and have the best intentions for change but I need something important to get going. I need the power of self-discipline and self-control. Daily!

Right now, we are living in a time where self-control is almost nonexistent. We often hear people say, “I just can’t stop it”, “It’s just part of who I am.” Even Paul, the Apostle of Jesus admitted: “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.” Romans 7:21-24, NLT

The world around us and our own sinful nature war with our minds trying to stop us from doing what is right. So what do we do?  Give up?  Where is the power to change? Even on a long road trip, eventually you will need to fill up with gas again when you are running on empty. Are you running on empty?

Thankfully, as believers in Jesus we have the power that never goes empty. Paul went on to say, “Who will free me…Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:25 NLT

Jesus told his disciples, “Apart from me you can do nothing…but if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:5, 7

We can’t accomplish anything but through Jesus’s power. As we walk with, “remain” with Jesus, reading and “remaining” in God’s Word, then we will want what Jesus desires. Our desire will be to produce spiritual fruit. Then when we pray what Jesus desires Jesus will grant our requests. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit who will produce this fruit: “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives…self-control.” Galatians 5:16, 22-23

As believers in Jesus, we should be the best example to the world around us of self-control. Yet, we often look like the world with little or no power. I call it spiritual “amnesia”. We have forgotten Jesus, His words and His promises to answer our prayers. We have forgotten the power He has given to us through the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. Jesus desires for us to change and He is willing if we just ask. It is a new year with new resolutions- a new week, a new day, a new direction. Don’t forget the gas, the power of self-control to keep you on the right track. Ask Jesus for His power:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your power to not only forgive my sin and make me your own, but also the power you give me through the Holy Spirit to live a fruitful life. Thank you that you desire to produce the fruit of self-control in my life. I give you my life and my lists and ask that you would change these areas. I am trusting in you to bring these changes. I need the Holy Spirit in my life moment by moment to guide me. Thank you that you promise to answer my prayer in your will. I look expectantly for what you will do in my life this year and desire to give you the glory for the change. In your powerful name, Amen

A Great Gift

sewing machine

The pungent smell of mothballs coming from the small wooden drawers in the old Singer sewing machine cabinet always reminds me of my grandmother. Sitting with her next to the machine, watching her foot move the pedal up and down while guiding the fabric, I learned tricks and shortcuts to sewing. When my grandmother moved from her house to a retirement home, she gave me the sewing machine as a special gift. I’ve kept her thimbles, thread and machine attachments in the drawers to remind me of our times together. Now that she is gone, that old machine brings back wonderful memories of times together and what I learned.

As Jesus prepared the disciples for His death and departure from this world, He promised them a great gift too. This great gift would remind them of what Jesus taught them, give them strength and power to live on this earth and direct them in understanding truth. Jesus told them:

“…it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you…when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16: 7, 13-14

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you…but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:16-17, 25

Paul wrote to the Galatians that the fruits in our lives comes through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in the life of the believer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Holy Spirit was given by Jesus as a gift to us so that we can live a fruitful life abiding with Him. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the great gift given to believers who teaches us, helps us, guides us and reminds us of all Jesus taught.

Am I listening to the Holy Spirit in my life today? Do I see His fruits in my life? Am I asking for His help to live like Jesus? Thank you, Jesus, for leaving your believers and followers with such a great gift!