First of all–Go Seahawks!
Second of all–In case you missed this series, I’m sharing condensed versions of the talks I gave to some incredible middle school and high school students a couple of weekends ago. If you missed them, check out The Spirit of Life and The Spirit of Adoption.
|Nothing cuter than a hubby studying up on passion!
Third of all— In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am giving away a copy of The Little Book of Great Dates …and because my and mentor, Shannon Ethridge, just released her newest book, The Passion Principles, you are entered to win both books, by sharing, tweeting, liking. Double entries for hitting that “like the shamelessness” button over there on the right!
I’ll announce the winner next week!
Fourth of all— Here we go…
In Romans 8:35 Paul asks a rhetorical question: â€œWho shall separate us from the love of God?â€
“No one” and/or “Nothing” aren’t strong enough answers for the guy. Paul is saying, Just so there’s no misunderstanding, I want you to understand that nothing in all of creation; nothing above or below or spiritual or physical or painful or joyful, nothing that you will ever experience, not even death, nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, nothing yesterday, today, or tomorrow, or high or low, nothing real or imaginary, nothing you could ever consider in your wildest dreams, can ever keep Godsâ€™ love from you. Nothing. Got it? Good.”
Our only response to that emphatic description of God’s extraordinary love is to live a life led by the Holy Spirit. We can never repay God, but through the Spirit, we can serve him out of gratefulness and awe for his great love.
In Francis Chanâ€™s book, The Forgotten God, he argues that the Spiritâ€™s work in our lives should be obvious. He writes, “If I told you I had an encounter with God where he entered my body and gave me the supernatural ability to play basketball, wouldn’t you expect to see an amazing improvement in my jump shot, my defense, and my speed on the court?”
In other words, (in honor of the Super Bowl) let’s say I told you I met Russell Wilson and he gave me his spirit. Naturally, if you watched me play football, youâ€™d expect me to be amazing, especially for a 5â€™ 3â€ white girl. However, if you actually saw me play football (let’s be honest, any sport, really) youâ€™d soon realize I can barely even hold a ball in my hand without having a full-on panic attack.
The point is, if you’re a follower of Jesus, there should be some evidence of the Holy Spiritâ€™s presence in your life.
In the book of Judges, in the Old Testament, there’s this crazy story about a guy named Samson. You probably know the story of Samson and Delilah; the guy was less than perfect. However, from birth, he was set apart by God and eventually used in powerful ways to help set Israel free from their enemies. The first time Samson was handed over to the Philistines, the Holy Spirit came upon him in power. He grabbed the jawbone of a donkey (apparently lots o’ donkey bones were laying around in those days) and used it to defeat 1000 men.
In the New Testament, in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit came like a thunderous wind, empowering all kinds of people to begin declaring the gospel in other languages. On that day 3000 people began following Jesus.
Iâ€™m telling you these stories, not because you have to do anything amazing or spectacular to obtain the love of God, but because the same Spirit in Samson and in Actsâ€”not a weakened version, not a lesser shadow, not a junior-sized spiritâ€” the same Spirit who helped create the entire world, inspire the breadth of the bible, and raise Jesus from the dead is in you, if Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
What would it look like for us to become people who are led fully by the Spirit?
Walking with the Spirit implies an ongoing relationship producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5). In other words, when the Spirit leads, he makes us more like Jesus.
Stepping out of my student-talk-mode for a moment (For them, I compared pursuing God to a 13 year-old girl pursuing One Direction. Oh yeah. I went there.)…
Admittedly, it’s an easier thing to type this than always live it, especially as we face the stresses of school, work, parenting, marriage, failure, life’s disappointments, loneliness, or fear about the future. I truly believe, however, when we draw close to God, his Spirit gives us courage in difficult times. I’m currently in a season where I need some Holy Spirit-Courage. I imagine you do too.
We are loved by an unstoppable, unending, nothing-can-get-in-the-way-love. I’m so thankful to the Holy Spirit for leading us back to that love again and again.
I’ll leave you with some of the final words of Chan’s book:
“Ask God to have His Spirit work so mightily in you that it would make for an amazing biography. A biography that speaks of a life so supernatural that no one would even consider giving you the glory. A biography that displays the power of the Spirit
and lifts up the name of Jesus to the glory of God the Father. Amen”