I recently wrote about the church and the need for change. I had been reading so many blogs about how the church is dying, how people are leaving. I wrote about the fact that the need for change is real, but that it can only start with each individual heart seeking God in a deeper way.
Now, I’m not discounting my previous blog, please understand. I really believe that change must start within the individual heart. However, I feel as though I need to take this a step further. There is one that actually needs to lead the way into this deeper change. Let me explain…
THE HOLY SPIRIT
In Galatians 4:16 Paul is talking about the law and how we no longer live under it. He goes on to explain why we can live without it.
But I say, walk and live in the Spirit; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are opposed to the flesh; for these are antagonistic to each other…
Let me stop for a moment and point something out. The Spirit being spoken of here is not your spirit, it’s not the spiritual being on the inside of you. Notice that the word Spirit is capitalized. This is speaking of the Holy Spirit. In John 14 Jesus explained that He was leaving this earth, but would send the Holy Spirit as an advocate and a teacher for us. So, Paul is saying that we are to walk and live according to the Holy Spirit.
CLEAR AS SIN
Sounds easy, but how are we supposed to know if we are living according to our own fleshly desires or by the direction of the Holy Spirit? Let’s read on in verse 19-21:
Now the doings of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealously, anger, selfishness, divisions, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.
Then He goes on to say in verse 22-26:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law. and those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and appetites and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.
Ummmm….wow. Yeah, wow. Just reading that I can think of SO many times I have not been led by the Holy Spirit. Times I’ve been provoking, jealous, irritating, angry, etc. When we look at our day to day life what do we see? Do we see the work of the Holy Spirit or the work of…well, us?
So, we need to be more authentic in the church, we need to love more, and all of this starts in the heart of the individual Christian within the church. But how does that change begin to happen? By the direction of the Holy Spirit. And how do we get into a position where the Holy Spirit is directing us?
WHO WILL LEAD THE WAY
The Bible says we pray and ask for it. Ephesians 1:17 and James 1:5 say to pray and ask for wisdom. Romans 12:2 says that we will be changed from the inside out by the renewing of our mind as we read the Bible.
So, to put it practically, open your Bible and before you read it, ask for the Holy Spirit to help change you from the inside out as you do.