“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me [Jesus] and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.”
(from THE MESSAGE)
At Bible study we discussed the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, sharing anecdotes of how He convicts us, redirects us, provides understanding, reveals implementation strategies, and helps us to walk in a manner that honors God.
One woman described a battle she had with the flesh (what we want and desire, versus what the Spirit wants and desires).
While working on a massive cleaning project, with the kitchen a mess, her husband asked, “what’s for dinner?” His comment was like a match to gasoline, it ignited a firestorm of feelings such as anger and indignation. It seemed impossible to approach the situation with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)
These attributes are known as the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, they are produced by the Holy Spirit within us. We can’t produce them ourselves.
But what is this battle my friend entered that evening, triggered by a casual comment during the chaotic chore of reorganizing her kitchen? According to the Apostle Paul it is a clash between the old self-centered nature and the new nature that wants to bless others (Romans chapter 7). “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing,” he writes.
The believer realizes there is a struggle within between the flesh and the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18) and one or the other must be in control, Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary “Be Right, How to be right with God, Yourself, and Others” a commentary on the book of Romans.
In my friend’s situation, the Spirit helped her win her battle over the flesh. She did practice self-control and respond with kindness.
Wiersbe explains how this happens. As the Spirit of Life, the Holy Spirit empowers us to obey Christ and be more like Him. However, He is also the Spirit of death enabling us to put to death the sinful deeds of the body.
“As we yield the members of our body to the Spirit (Rom. 6:12-17), He applies to us and in us the death and resurrection of Christ. He puts to death the things of the flesh, and He reproduces the things of the Spirit,” writes Wiersbe.
Yes, my friend experienced the death of the flesh and production of fruit, all a work of the Spirit.
The fact the Holy Spirit is the source of life—helping us live as a new creation—and the source of death, helping us crucify the sinful nature is a win, win situation. He provides all we need.
Examine your battles with people. Have you responded in the flesh or the Spirit?
When our first thought is toward a godly response, and we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit He will answer. As he reveals the right response our attitude will change so we are able to follow His instructions.
I find it extremely beneficial to exchange learning experiences with sisters in Christ. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. However, we learn best when the classroom is filled with students sharing our questions and answers.
If this short article has helped you understand the work of the Holy Spirit a little better, please share it with someone.
1-In the comment section below, name one way the Holy Spirit has directed your steps. He promises to teach us all things and remind us of all things!
1-“Be Right, How to be Right with God, Yourself, and Others”
by Warren W. Wiersbe published by David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, CO.
©2022 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved