Wednesday, August 5

Apostles' Creed Focus

“I believe in the Holy Spirit”


Reflection Verse

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” - John 16:12-15


Reflection

My mother and both of my sisters have backgrounds in education. All of them have been school teachers at different times in their lives. They are able to take difficult concepts and break them down in a way that students can understand. My brother, who writes a popular blog with a large computer company, credits the success of his blog to the same skills that my mother and sisters possess. He has the ability to write a step-by-step process for the average person to understand when it comes to dealing with complex computer issues.

The Holy Spirit has many roles in our lives, but one of them is to teach us. He helps us understand the Word of God which leads us to the Son of God. Just as my brother’s blog breaks down information to make it usable, so the Holy Spirit helps us apply Scripture in real life. He is not an impersonal force, so we should never refer to the Spirit as “it.” He is an entity that can be resisted (Acts 7:51), quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and grieved (Ephesians 4:30). 

From Scripture, we notice three ways that the Holy Spirit shines the spotlight on Jesus as He guides us.  

  • He guides us in prayer.   
  • He reveals the truth of God.
  • He directs us in decisions.  

Prayer is an area in which the Holy Spirit can help us. Romans 8:26-27 says, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”

We won’t look to the Holy Spirit to help us in prayer if we don’t realize our need for His assistance. Just as a drowning victim has to stop flailing and give up before she can be rescued, we have to recognize our weakness and come to Him. Then the Spirit can pray in harmony with God’s will on our behalf. How might you be a more teachable student under the instruction of the Holy Spirit in regards to prayer? 

Another way the Holy Spirit teaches us has to do with our understanding of spiritual truth. The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that we need the Holy Spirit to open our minds to the truths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10-16) 

The Holy Spirit can help us when we don’t understand something the Bible is teaching. He also provides discernment when we hear false teaching. We can dialogue with the Holy Spirit as we read the Bible or listen to a sermon so that we might understand and apply what we are learning. For the teacher/student relationship with the Holy Spirit to work, we first have to read, listen, or meditate on God’s truth. Then we ask questions and receive direction as the Holy Spirit helps us process and utilize that understanding. 

What would it look like for you to be a more teachable student of the Holy Spirit as the revealer of truth? For me, it often looks like slowing down, evaluating, and asking more questions. I often fly through my daily reading so that I can check it off as complete. In order to be a better student, I want to spend more time in reflection, meditation, and memorization. 

The Holy Spirit also directs our decisions. He told people in the Bible where to go and what to say and who to put into leadership. These are just a few of many examples of how the Holy Spirit can guide our lives. When I read Scriptures about His direction, I often wonder how the individuals knew for sure that it was the Spirit speaking to them. Most of us wrestle with whether an idea is coming from our own thoughts or is indeed a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Often, I don’t realize it was the Spirit until I look back and see His direction. 

The Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus. I pray that drawing near to Him will awaken in us a desire to learn at the feet of this awesome Teacher.


Prayer

Holy Spirit, we need You. We are not okay on our own. Teach us how to pray, understand the Bible, and know what to do next today. We ask for your help and guidance so that we can stay connected to Jesus until He returns. In Jesus Name, Amen.


Verses for Further Reflection

Matthew 4:1; Luke 12:11-12; Acts 8:29; Acts 13:2; Galatians 5:16


Family Focus

We use cell phones to share and get information, sometimes by text, sometimes by talking, and sometimes through apps and the internet.  What do you think are some good things about being able to talk to people who are far away from us (Sometimes we miss people when they are away and we want to reconnect with them; sometimes we want to share something new; sometimes we forgot to say something; sometimes there was not enough time to say all that we wanted to say in person)?

In John 16:12-15, Jesus tells the disciples that there is too much for him to share in the time that he has with them. That doesn’t sound like very good news! But then, Jesus tells his disciples, “Don't worry! I’m going to give you “God's Holy Cell Phone” so that we can talk later on.” Except Jesus doesn't actually say “God's Holy Cell Phone…” Instead, he says, “The Spirit of Truth,”- which is another name for “God's Holy Spirit.” Jesus then tells his disciples that this Spirit of Truth will share Jesus' words with them. So in the same ways we use a cell phone to communicate with loved ones who are not near us, Jesus communicated through the Holy Spirit to his disciples. This is not the only thing that God's Holy Spirit does for us, but just by itself, this is pretty cool, don't you think?

So way back at the start of his ministry, Jesus tells his disciples to follow him and to COPY him in how he seeks first God and God's kingdom. The disciples eventually learned how to copy Jesus. And one of the most important things the disciples learned from Jesus was how to talk to and listen to God in prayer which means that Jesus taught the disciples how to hear God’s words and receive God’s Holy Spirit even if Jesus was far away from the disciples.

And guess what!? The same thing is true for us! As we copy how Jesus seeks first the Kingdom of God (which we learn by reading the stories about Jesus), we will also learn how to listen for and hear God's Holy Spirit. As we listen for and hear God's Holy Spirit, we will then be able to hear and understand Jesus' continued teachings about how to live God's better life…including how to share God’s better life with those who are around us.

Let’s pray this repeat-after-me prayer together.

Dear God,
Dear God,

Help us to learn from Jesus…
Help us to learn from Jesus…

...how to seek you first …
...how to seek you first …

...so that we can then hear more…
...so that we can then hear more…

…of Jesus’ words and teachings…
…of Jesus’ words and teachings…

…through your Holy Spirit.
…through your Holy Spirit.

Thank you and Amen.