[e-devotionals] 1999-12-15 - Counting on the Coach

The Spirit-led Life

John 16:7-13 (NLT) (Jesus speaking) But it is actually best for you that I go away, because if I don't, the Counselor won't come. If I do go away, he will come because I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world's sin is unbelief in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the prince of this world has already been judged. 12 "Oh, there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can't bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.

In the game of tennis, when one of the players is in position to score the winning point, it is said to be his advantage. It's sort of like that with what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. If we get the point that Jesus would be sending the Holy Spirit, we will understand the advantage that is ours. As difficult as it must have been to see Jesus ascend back to the Father, the disciples must have found great encouragement in knowing that the Holy Spirit was on His way.

What advantage does the Holy Spirit bring to us?

  1. Convicts us of sin: The Holy Spirit whispers to our conscience when we have transgressed or violated the will of God. Often after people first receive Christ, they come under heavy conviction for various sins. They should not be discouraged. The Holy Spirit is merely doing His part in the process of transforming the new believer.

  2. Convinces us to do right: Not only does the Spirit of God convict us of sin; He also prompts us to do right. Often we can sense the Spirit encouraging us to be obedient to the Word of God.

  3. Leads us toward the truth: The Spirit of God reveals truth about Jesus Christ.

Every person who has surrendered his or her life to Christ has received the gift of the Holy Spirit. According to John 14:16-17, the Spirit is our Helper. The word Helper has rich meaning. It means Comforter, and because of His presence in our lives, we can have the peace that surpasses our human understanding.

Helper also means Counselor. The Spirit of God is our wise advisor. James writes that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God.

The word, Helper was also an athletic term in Jesus' day. It was a term used to define the coach. The coach trains, encourages, corrects and enables us to play the game to win. He keeps us focused and provides the game plan for us to cross the finish line someday with satisfaction. We must listen to the Coach and we must obey if we are to win the prize!

The Imortance & Value of Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4

I like to think about spiritual gifts as power tools. Why do we need to plug into God's power? They are the resources that we need that enable us go beyond our human resources, to get the job done.

  1. We can only get the job done by the power of the Holy Spirit - Jesus said that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5)

  2. When we plug into the Spirit's power, our batteries don't go dead.

  3. He will get the credit when what we do comes from His power. We can do a lot of good things in our own power, and often get recognition for doing those things, but only those people who are plugged into the Spirit's power can do the God things.

Here's the deal on Spiritual Gifts. It's the right person in the right place for the right reason for the right results. When gifts are deployed, watch out!

Fantastic Fruit

Galatians 5:22-23

Does an apple tree have to strain to produce fruit? No. It's a natural, because it's an apple tree. It's not possible for us to say, "This year, don't produce apples." An apple tree cannot not do what it's destined to do. The fruit of the Spirit is also a natural by-product of the indwelling presence of God in your life. An apple tree needs some pruning or fertilizing and some special attention, but the production of apples is its natural inclination.

The fruit of the Spirit is not something you can produce. You may achieve a measure of success in each of these area on your own, but you can never experience them in fullest measure apart from Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit of God.

Who's in Charge?

Every believer who has received Christ as their Lord and Saviour has received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). It's obvious, however, that some Christians seem to walk according to the Spirit more consistently than others. Some people seem to experience greater power, greater fruit and greater results. Does God give more Spirit to some than to others?

God gives gifts differently according to His will and purpose (1 Cor. 12:11). Because of this, we sometimes see God's power manifested differently in each other. We will not see, however, some people having more Holy Spirit than others. There are two key ingredients that foster the full manifestation of God's power in our lives.

  1. Surrender

    The more we give up to God, the more God gives to us to be all that He designed us to be. Read Galatians 2:20. Our failure to surrender quenches the Spirit in our life. The Holy Spirit is in us if we have indeed received Christ into our heart, but perhaps we have not fully surrendered to Him.

  2. Submission

    Submission is day-to-day surrender. At the end of the Civil War, the Confederate troops surrendered. They were declaring their commitment to no longer fight or resist. Submitting to the authority of the Union Army, and ultimately reuniting as one nation, was a process of submission. We may have willed in our hearts to surrender to all that God wants to do in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit, but there is a daily submission process that must continue, for us to fully realize His power. The Holy Spirit will lead, prompt and encourage on a regular basis, and we must choose on a regular basis to submit.

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord. (Zechariah 4:6)

David Massey