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The Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and the Children of God

Posted by on May 25, 2012 in discipleship | 11 comments

The Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and the Children of God

I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed thinking through these questions this week. Primarily, my posts have revolved around the question of how God gets our attention when we stop listening to him.

Every follower of Jesus – from time to time – either for a short time or perhaps even for a long time – will find it difficult to hear or to follow Jesus Christ. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that we are no longer in Christ or that we are no longer indwelled by the Holy Spirit or that we are no longer children of God. Instead, it means that we have hindered the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Scripture uses the language of “quench” or sin or transgress or disobey to refer to this same situation.

So, since God loves us, he does not want us to continue in this state. What does he do to get our attention to to help us return to him?

We are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. God can work directly in our lives to get our attention. But, of course, the problem is that we are already not paying attention to him. It’s possible that God can work in a different way in our lives to get our attention. But, it’s also possible that we will refuse to hear him in this new way also.

God also uses Scripture to get our attention – to show us where we have moved away from him. This means, of course, that Scripture would need to already be a part of our lives. When we are in a situation that we are not listening to God, it is not likely that we will begin to read Scripture. (Of course, it could happen.) However, if we have already been reading Scripture, then God can bring passages and stories and principles to our minds to draw us back to him.

Finally, God uses his children – our brothers and sisters in Christ who God has brought into our lives. If we have shared our lives with one another, then these people will know as we begin to ignore or neglect the work of the Spirit in our lives. They will know when we are not demonstrating the love of God. God can use them to get our attention and to help “restore” us to a state where we are listening to and following him again.

These three – the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and the Children of God – are not distinct, of course. And, it is actually God working through the Scriptures and his children to do his work. So, we are always dependent on God to draw us back to himself. But, besides dealing with us directly via his Spirit, he also uses the Scriptures and his children.


11 Comments

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  1. 5-25-2012

    And the morrow of the story, thank God for God is faithful, and God works out our salvation as we fear and tremble. Thanks Alan
    Howard

  2. 5-25-2012

    These comments might fit better into each of the posts that address these subjects more thoroughly, but I am going to put them both here instead just because I am lazy.

    1) In addition to not reading the Bible, isn’t there also the risk of reading the Bible in an overly academic mindset. I know there were times when I was in seminary that I treated the Bible more like a word puzzle than something that God could use to teach me stuff about following him.

    2) You never used the word, but I couldn’t help drawing a parallel between what you are calling “God using his children” and what a more systematically minded person might call “church discipline.” Of course, the major difference is that I think what you are saying is what actually works, where “church discipline” only serves to further drive people away that already are drawing away from the organization. Your explanation sounds natural between people who care about and know each other, where as “church discipline” tries to emulate that (and, I say, fails) in a systematic way that does not demonstrate or require knowledge of or concern for the person being “disciplined.”

    So yeah, I liked the series, and I have seen times in my life when God has definitely used all of these to change me.

  3. 5-25-2012

    Dan, I see that if we take out the chapters and verses we might find one big love story. The chapters and verses are a man made idea and added by man.
    Howard

  4. 5-25-2012

    Howard,

    Yes, God is faithful, though he may work in different ways. We should expect him to work in many ways, not just in one.

    Dan,

    Thanks for the additions to this series. Much could be written about each part of this series.

    -Alan

  5. 5-26-2012

    Howard,

    Yes, God is faithful, though he may work in different ways. We should expect him to work in many ways, not just in one.

    God only works in one way to bring you home to truth the truth that sets you free in him. no more work on your, my or anyone elses part for it is done, God has done it all already for each and every believer, but our flesh just does not want to die. It scraches and claws at the door of ones mind keeping the believer in captivity under any law. So thus stress, worry, confusion, doubt, are killing that person. John 10:10 the devil came to steal kill and destroy, but Christ came to give life and more abundantly. So we as believers believe lies that we are still to do something beyond belief. What a lie!!!! no abundant life under any law.
    Howard

  6. 5-26-2012

    Perfectly lined up to what I’ve been thinking about. This is great.

    Although there is freedom in our journey — there also has to be discipline. I really resisted any discipline (I’m talking activity/structure in my spiritual journey not church discipline) for awhile – wanting to move away from *other’s* external boundaries they wanted to put on me…. because I wanted to be lead by the Spirit… not lead by others.

    I came to the conclusion just recently that Paul wrote.. everything is permissible not everything is beneficial….. and it reminded me that my flesh – very much needs discipline. There are some things that clearly God uses more than others to help me grow closer to Him. Reading scripture, prayer, being still & worship through music AND brothers/sisters in close relationships are definitely those things for me.

    I am not mature enough to have *only* the internal boundary of the Spirit – though I can’t wait to experience that fully on the other side. I do need external boundaries still for now… to help get my mind, emotions & will focused on Him, being lead by Him.

    I think the external boundaries differ depending on our season and our personalities and life , etc, etc…. so I don’t like when others preach to me what I “should” be doing…(read the Bible and pray every morning for 1 hour) — but rather giving me insight what works for them.

    I believe God is helping me find the balance (dreaded word) of being lead by the Spirit (internal boundary) AND having external boundaries that He is helping me establish to help me focus on Him.

    It’s not about doing it to please Him, He is pleased. It’s not about trying to earn favor. It’s not about earning salvation, Jesus did that.

    It’s about training myself to be surrendered to Him. Training myself to be nourished by Him….. because if I don’t – my default mode is to *quench* (stifle, resist) Him…… rather than to be *quenched* (nourished, satisfied) by Him!!! :)

  7. 5-26-2012

    Randi, awesome, looks like you are seeing this freedom in him, it is delicious all God and we get ot join in because of Christ coupled with belief
    Howard

  8. 5-27-2012

    Randi,

    It’s interesting that you and Dan both mentioned “discipline.” I didn’t have that in mind when I wrote this post.

    By the way, even Paul wasn’t spiritually mature enough to have *only* the internal guide of the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus was that mature.

    -Alan

  9. 5-28-2012

    Thanks Howard.

    and yes “discipline” was used in both of our comments — but I really wasn’t thinking about “church discipline” at all…. but the kind of discipline we apply to our own lives.

    I’m not sure that brothers & sisters are ever called to “discipline” each other…. but it’s probably the wording I just don’t like :) because I DO believe in “sharpening” :)

    and thank you for that reminder that ALL need external boundaries on this side of heaven. thank you! :)

  10. 5-28-2012

    Randi I am elated I do not know what you got, and it does not matter for whatever you got it was edifying, and I am elated over this. For this is how the Spirit works. I like all God and none of me
    Howard

  11. 5-30-2012

    Randi,

    That’s great! Thanks for telling me what kind of “discipline” you were talking about. At times, we all need that kind of discipline and accountability, and we can help one another with that.

    -Alan