Alpha Ministries, Inc
All of us are confronted with a multitude of choices to make daily. Many of them seem small and almost inconsequential while others seem overwhelming and life threatening. What makes life so complicated and hard is not just the choices we make but often it seems we really have no choice at all. Much of our confusion and frustration in life comes from the fact that we are not sure what choices we have, if we even have a choice, and exactly what choice we should make in any given situation. Welcome to the world of a control freak!
Seeking to control the people and circumstances in our life comes from a deep need to make ourselves secure in an insecure world. There is no guarantee that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven in this dog-eat-dog and often hostile world. In fact, chances are that we will be neglected, abandoned, or even abused. Likewise, unless we can control the people and circumstances in the chaos of this world it is impossible to find a real sense of importance, purpose, and competence. Wrong or bad choices seem naturally to lead to a meaningless and unsatisfying life.
Underlying all other choices we must make is the most important and basic choice. It is the choice the Bible urges us to make daily and describes it in a variety of terms. Jesus invites us to take his “yoke” upon us (Matthew 11: 28-30). Paul urges us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God” (Romans 12: 1-2). James tells us to ask for wisdom from above (James 1: 5). Peter calls on us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5: 6). All these directives (and many more) have one thing in common…surrender. We give up trying to make it happen and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
In the AA program of recovery the 3rd step describes this kind of surrender as deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Making the choice to surrender all our decisions as well as our very lives to the control and care of God is the foundation and start of a new and satisfying lifestyle of grace in which God, through his indwelling Spirit, leads us, guides us into all truth, comforts us in our choices, reminds us who we are, and produces the very character of Christ in us. As Paul instructed the Philippians 2: 12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure. “
The fundamental choice we all must make each day is whether we want to let God control our lives. It is really a no-brainer since he is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe and loves us so much he gave his life for us. For me it boils down to one simple prayer each morning, “Lord please remind me of who you made me to be in your son and guide me in how you want me to love others around me today”. I really do not have any other choice that makes sense.
|Posted on 21 January, 2021 at 11:05|
I can’t think of a greater blessing from God than that which Jesus gave to his followers concerning the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I know it is incredulous to the world, but for anyone who has experienced the new birth by faith in Christ that first “taste” of their personal salvation is amazing. Wonderful as that might have been, however, it was just the beginning of what Jesus promised for our lives in this world.
Being a realist Jesus knew by first hand experience the troubles we would face in this ungodly world. In fact, he told his followers to expect all kinds of hassles, persecution, tribulation, etc. But in the same context he gave us the assurance that we would receive “another of the same kind of Comforter” that he was with his disciples. He referred to him as the Spirit of truth and noted that the world could not receive him because they couldn’t see him and couldn’t relate to him. In strong contrast to those of the world Jesus promised his disciples they would would recognize him because lived with them and would be in them (John 14: 17). That promise was fulfilled the night Jesus met with his disciples after his resurrection saying, “Peace be unto you: As my Father has sent me, even so send I you” (John 20: 21). John notes that after he had said that he “breathe on them” and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.
The apostle Paul describes same experience for all believers by saying, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his” (Romans 8: 9). All who are born of the Spirit have the Spirit of God living in them to fulfill the promise Jesus gave to his disciple concerning his comfort in this world. The indwelling Spirit of God comforts us by teaching us, guiding us into all truth, reminding us of what Jesus has said, and making Jesus real to us. What he produces in us is called the “fruit of the Spirit” by Paul in Galatians 5: 22 and includes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance-the very character of Christ.
Followers of Christ are not left to their own devices to figure out how to live in this world. Neither are they faced with the task of trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong in any given situation. More importantly, believers are not required to try as hard as they can to make themselves do what is right and quit doing what is wrong. Jesus has not abandoned us as orphans in this world trying to survive on our own. Instead, he has given us the indwelling Spirit of God to lead us personally in all that we do or say. Learning to relying on the personal leadership and comfort of the indwelling Spirit of God is the greatest privilege we have this side of heaven.
No matter what we are faced with in this world, we can be assured of the leadership and comfort of the Spirit living within. We are never left on our own to flounder in confusion and suffer in sorrow and pain alone. The Comforter within is with us regardless of our circumstances in this world and will go with us to the end. It is this supernatural resource within that gives us the confidence we need to truly overcome the world.