The Many Facets Of The Spirit
Read Romans Chapter 7
Ro 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
We used to hear an old chorus which contains these lines: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is love.” It sounds wonderful. Those sentences conjure up a sense that the Christian is always living a life of unhindered happiness. There is a lot of truth in the chorus. Galatians 5 lists the fruits of the Spirit, all of which fit right in to the chorus’s description of the presence of the Spirit. But that is not the full story. Yes, the Spirit is peace and love – sometimes. But that’s not always the case.
- The Spirit was present when Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden.
- The Spirit of the Lord was present when Jesus angrily turned over the tables of the moneychangers.
- The Spirit of the Lord causes deep divisions (Luke 12:51-53).
- The Spirit convicts mankind of sin (John 16:7-8).
- The Spirit brings conflict within the believer.
The last one of this list will be our focus today. Our scriptural reference is the one above, from Romans Chapter 7. There can be no doubt but that Paul was writing verses 7-25 because of the wrestling within that he was experiencing between the Spirit and the flesh. We rarely hear about this conflict that naturally happens when a man or woman is a follower of Christ. When we belong to Christ, we enter into warfare, a struggle which lasts a lifetime.
It is His Spirit which does not allow us to be complacent about sin in our lives. It is the Spirit within who urges us to resist the temptations that present themselves before us. It is His Spirit who tells us that we cannot live a gay or lesbian life. How often do we thank the Spirit because He is our constant reminder of this truth? Rarely, if ever. More than likely we find ourselves bemoaning over this idea. We must begin to look at it differently.
The conflict we face within us is proof that we belong to Christ. Unbelievers are happily living their gay life or lesbian life. There is no internal conflict going on. There is no tugging of the Spirit, telling that person they must repent and change their ways. I wish I had known that when I was in my period of rebelling against God’s word. All the while that I was living a gay life, this inner conflict was raging within me. It was the presence of God’s Spirit that called me to repentance, and acceptance of His truth. There was no way that I could have any peace or love, until I submitted to His will and way.
There is one other thought we need to ponder. In the list above, number 4 can cause us to think a little deeper. What is the difference between the Spirit’s work in the heart of the believer and the heart of the unbeliever? Write this one down as my opinion. The unbeliever will hear the Spirit’s conviction for a time, but he rejects what the Spirit says. His response is to develop an intense anger against God and against God’s message. Over time, he becomes God’s enemy, doing all he can to dismiss the message and all who dispense God’s message.
The believer may do the same for a time, but eventually the Spirit wins the battle of his heart. The believer will return to the Father, just as the prodigal son did. I sat in the pigpen slopping the hogs as did he, but could not resist the Spirit’s call. The believer can grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and he can quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). But the believer will eventually submit.
Jude 1:17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You now, for giving us the Holy Spirit to teach us, convict us, and cause our internal turmoil when we go astray. Thank You for not allowing us to believe lies which come straight from the ruler of this world.