Monday, August 3

Apostles' Creed Focus

“I believe in the Holy Spirit”


Reflection Verse

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” - Ezekiel 36:26-27


Reflection

If you’ve ever gotten your car stuck in the snow, you have felt the feelings of frustration, anger, and helplessness. The harder and quicker you punch the gas, the more stuck in place you become. One night in a largely vacant parking lot with a friend, I found myself trapped in inches upon inches of snow. I became frustrated that there seemed to be no way out. I continually hit the gas pedal until the smell of burning rubber made its way into the car. It wasn’t until I took direction and guidance from my friend standing outside the vehicle that there was hope for change. He slowly led me in rocking my car back and forth in the crater of packed snow I had made for myself, until I finally gained enough momentum to push my car out of the frozen ditch.

A lot of us feel this way as we walk through the Christian life. There are days, months, maybe even years where we feel as if our wheels are spinning, we aren’t going anywhere, and the tires are looking pretty thin. We try hard to follow God, we mess up, we try even harder, and then we mess up again. It’s unbelievably frustrating to feel stagnant and disappointing when we truly wish to see ourselves grow.

Ezekiel 36 teaches us that the Holy Spirit not only transforms our hearts (quite literally bringing our souls that are dead in sin back to life), but He guides us in following the life God wishes us to live. The Holy Spirit doesn’t just nudge us in the right direction, He can give us joy in obedience, an answer in the dark, and a renewed want to live more like Christ.

This process however, involves two parts.The first involves understanding that it is only from the power of God that we can live for him and therefore it is only through the Holy Spirit that we continue to live a sanctified life. The second is that we must also choose to listen to what the Spirit is saying. If we decide to walk through life with our fingers in our ears, it makes it hard to make wise decisions. The Holy Spirit is always willing to guide us in understanding Scripture, following the commands of God, and healthily walking in a relationship with the Lord, but that connection becomes fuzzy when we choose to ignore Him. It doesn’t matter how many miles we run on a treadmill, whether that be 1 or 100, we will always step off in the same place we stepped on. It is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that we will see true heart change, not through white knuckling our way through life.

So where does this leave you today? Have you had moments recently where you’ve purposely ignored something God has wanted you to do? Have you taken time recently to sit down, slow down, and ask what the Lord wants to do in the most tender areas of your life? Maybe you even need to ask the most simple question, Holy Spirit please guide me in ____ part of my life. Start your time with God today by asking for his guidance wherever you seek to find it and remember he is willing to do just that.


Prayer

Holy Spirit how humbling it is to realize I can’t possibly make my way through life on my own. Thank you so much that not only are you capable of rightly guiding my life towards continual godly obedience, but that you want to do that. Please push me towards a deeper relationship full of trust and give me the willingness to follow wherever you lead me. Amen.


Verses for Further Reflection

John 14:26, Isaiah 11:2, Romans 5:3-5


Family Focus

For this discussion, you will need a glass of milk and some chocolate syrup.  Begin the object lesson by slowly pouring chocolate syrup into the glass of milk. Before you stir, ask your kids, “Is it chocolate milk now?”

They should respond with something like: “That’s not chocolate milk. It’s not stirred up!”  “Oh, the chocolate is supposed to be mixed in? What a good idea, I’ll try that.” Now stir it all together. 

With their attention firmly fixed on the glass, explain, “The white milk is like our lives, and the chocolate is like the Holy Spirit! When God saves us, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us; but just like the fact that we had to stir it up… that doesn’t mean He’s in control of every part of our lives unless we let him! The Holy Spirit can help us become “tastier” Christians - who think and act like Christ, instead of living for ourselves. We just need Him to completely fill and control us. We need the Holy Spirit to get stirred up inside us!”

Let’s be like tasty chocolate milk, mixing God into every part of our lives!