Preacher man Dan

"Prove all things..." 1Thess 5:21

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Discover anew Christ who indwells you

Christ Our Example

Being Led by the Spirit

by Daniel J.M. Galpin

This was written with the hope that lives might be changed. That we would walk closer to our Lord and have a clearer understanding of what is meant by what is said in the Scriptures we love. That we may know Christ more accurately for who He was while He lived among us on earth. Thus giving us a greater picture of how we too can live for Christ now while we are here and He is in heaven with our Father. Roman 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

A prayer I saw in a Sunday School booklet caused me to ponder: Lord, I open myself completely to Your word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Teach me what it means to walk in the Spirit, to pray in the Spirit and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

This prayer has depth and I'd like to spend some time focusing on it. Reflecting on its insight and thinking of it's implications for our lives as believers. Who is the Holy Spirit? How is the power of the Holy Spirit shown? What is it to walk in the Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the the Holy Trinity, the comforter Christ promised to send once He was gone up into heaven, returning to His rightful home. The power of the Spirit, then, is the power of God, Himself. Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Notice it is Him that is able and it is according to the power of Him that works in us. God's power alive in every one who believes in Him. 2 Peter 1:3-4 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Notice it is God's divine power that gives us all things and it is though the knowledge of God that we are called to both glory and virtue. All that we can glory in and all the goodness we have is a direct result of God's power in our lives. Paul said it so right: Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

This power of the Holy Spirit is revealed in a number of ways (partial list):

  1. God convicts us of our need for Christ so that we can be saved.
  2. God convicts us of sin after salvation so we will keep our relationship with God open and live for God's glory in the things we think, say and do!
  3. God is alive inside every one of us that believes on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ as Lord.
  4. God lives through us changing us into the likeness of Christ, our brother, the first born of God.
  5. God lives through us to show the world who He is

For we will be the only Christ the world will see, except of course, upon His second coming when all will see Him come out of the sky. Our words of God's goodness mean nothing without our actions. Thanks be to God, He does the work in us, giving us the choice to obey and the choice to show our love for Him by obeying Him. For it is God doing in us all that He asks us to do, so it gets done. If left to us, it wouldn't get done! Over and over in Scripture, all we are really asked to do it to yield ourselves to Him. The power to overcome is in Him alone and He will not fail us. To do so would be to fail Himself.

Although the third question is addressed more fully in the booklet: 'Walking in the Spirit', I wanted to touch on it lightly before moving forward. Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” We are alive in the Spirit upon salvation. We were dead in Adam and are alive in Christ: Romans 5. Now that we are again alive to God, we were alive to Him in Adam before the fall, we are to walk in Him. The word walk in this verse is the greek number 4748 and it means to march in a military rank, to conform to. Thus, we are to follow God in formation and conform to His likeness. Isn't this what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.“ A bold statement to make be the way, but Paul understood that as he obeyed Christ, he was a reflection of Christ and therefore we could safely follow him. This is what God expects out of each of us. Any one at anytime should be able to look at us and see an image of the invisible God. Not because we are God, rather because we are follow Him.

Christ is our example. He came to both save us from the punishment of sin and sin itself. He walked on earth for 33 years to be a living example of how to live our lives and to show the world who God is. Christ has now returned to heaven and we are the only Christ the world can see! Christ relied on the Holy Spirit, just as we must do. Mark 1:10-12 “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.” Did you catch the last sentence? The Spirit drove (led) Christ into the wilderness to be tempted. Remember, He is our example.

How did Christ overcome temptation?

  1. Jesus was a man of prayer – we can do that.
  2. He had the Holy Spirit – we have Him too, once we're saved.
  3. He didn't grieve the Spirit – we can do that Ephesians 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
  4. He quoted appropriate Scripture for the situation – we can do this. Matthew 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” and Matthew 4:7 “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
  5. He resisted Satan – we can do this as well. Matthew 4:10 “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” and James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” and 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

God would not command us to do what we cannot do: most important, God is doing it through us!

Notice: the Spirit led Christ to a place where Satan would tempt Him. Are we not led into places of temptation? God wants us to choose to obey when we are placed into temptation. We are assured of a way to escape: 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

God has provided the Holy Spirit (God, Himself) living in us to both overcome our sin and to live for God! John 14:16-17 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

We are still given the choice! God doesn't force Himself on us. Genesis 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” When we became saved, we were restored to life through Christ and with life we can choose to obey God as Christ did or choose to disobey as Adam did. The power of sin over us has ended, read Romans 5-8 with emphasis on chapter 6.

You might say, Jesus is God, of course He overcame temptation. I realize Jesus is God, do you realize Jesus was without His Godness (God power) while on earth? He was limited to the same limitations we are and had to rely on the Holy Spirit to do the will of God! Philippians 2:5-7 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” The word reputation means to to make empty, to neutralize, to have no effect. Jesus on his own was as powerless as you or I. Not because He isn't God, He is! But as God, Christ made a choice to limit Himself to the natural abilities of a man to show you and I how to live for God.

Is this so foreign an idea? Long ago did not a king of English choose to walk away from his thrown to marry the woman he loved? Yes! Can not the CEO of a company, choose do work a day, a week or even a year as a janitor of his company under the limits of such a position? The question is not can he, he's the CEO and can do much of what he wants, but would he? Likely, not! Yet the CEO of the universe did so not only to restore our relationship with Him and save us from hell and give us a home in heaven, but to give us life here and now by living in us to accomplish His will on earth.

Christ was led by the Spirit to carry out God's will, as we are, if we yield to the Holy Spirit within.

So how does one walk in the Spirit and what is the benefit of doing so?

God wants to show the world who He is and He gives us opportunities to show them. We are the only Christ the world will ever see. It's His power, waiting inside every one of us that believes, to show a lost and hurting world who He is and that He loves them.

I wanted to include a few examples of being led by the Spirit: I was on the way to work a few years ago and was pulled over by the police. The policeman came up to the door, told me to get out of the car and throw me up against it. All the while I had no idea way I was even pulled over. I knew I had just changed lines without signaling, but other than that, I didn't have a clue. He had called for backup and I was taken to the Police Station. He even search my car before we left! I was told I was speeding and I failed to yield to him. The backup cop, even told the other cop to let me go. After waiting in a holding area for about 15-20 minutes the cop came in and said I could go. The backup officer took me back to my van and dropped me off. Then I realized the first cop still had my keys! The cop dropping me off called him and he brought me my keys. As he pulled up to me, he throw them at me. Without thinking, I said, “thank you and have a nice day!” As he drove off and I picked up my keys and was shocked at my response to the jerk. I was even angry at myself for being so “nice” to the cop. Then God reminded me, I had asked for opportunities to love people and that it's easy to love friendly people. I laughed with God, got in my van and went to work.

My mom has a spending problem and now when she goes shopping she will send a flare prayer (a quick prayer) before she enters any store. Once in, she gets what she needs and leaves without the extra product calling and pulling at her to buy. IF she forgets to pray or as she is praying, she really doesn't want God's help at the moment, guess what? She buys more than she needs.

I was on the way out of our subdivision to do a few errands and I had a repetitive soft voice telling me to go the opposite direction than I had planned. I debated a moment and then yielded to the voice. I didn't know why I should go the other way, but I did. At my first stop, which would have been my last originally, I had the same voice say, pay the woman's bill in front of me. I objected of course, going a different direction didn't cost me anything, but who knows what the bill will be? I didn't yield and as she walked away I felt I had grieved the Spirit. As my items were being rung up. I quickly repented and ask the Lord, if He still wished to use me, have the woman in the parking lot when I exit. Sure enough, she was the first car I came in contact with on the way to my car. I didn't even have to look for her! I walked up to her and told her that I believed God wanted me to pay her bill and I hadn't, so I wanted to give her money instead. She seemed relived and thanked me. As she got in her car to leave, I noticed it was packed full of personal items. She was traveling from or to somewhere and God know she needed the extra cash. Immediately, my grieved Spirit went away!

Sadly, we don't always get a second chance: My family hosted Japanese students for a number of years when I lived in California. It was a awesome experience! One day we had been sightseeing and there was three students in the back of our van I was in the middle with another two students and they were taking a break for speaking English. I'm not sure why, but I looked back at them. One asked, do you speak Japanese? I quickly turned back facing the front and the girls giggled. Then I said, you never know, right? So one of them took the challenge and said a statement in Japanese. I had no clue what was said, but I knew God did and we had used opportunities to share with them about God during their stay. I quietly asked God what they said. That same still voice replied, raise your hand. I quickly asked which hand. God replied, your right one. Then came my mistake. I had the faith to ask God for the answer and believe He'd do it, but I let doubt stop me from raising my hand. The girls in the back giggled again at me in fun and returned to their conversation. After the day was over and we were home with the student who was staying at our house, I asked her what the girl hand said. She, replied simply, “if you know what I'm saying, raise your right hand.” I was very grieved that I had failed to believe what God had so clearly spoken. I asked Him to give me another chance while the students were with us and felt in my spirit, a no. Throughout the rest of their stay, I asked God what was being said and there was silence.

I share that spiritual defeat for two reasons: I don't believe in presenting my successes without also showing my failures and if God is telling you something, do it; you may or may not get another chance. God wants to show Himself through us to an unbelieving world, but He wants us to believe in Him ourselves.

What are some steps we can take to be led by the Spirit?

Applying God's word can be difficult, some times scary and at times humbling. Yet it can be so exciting and rewarding, a fresh spring bubbling up and joy overflowing: 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”