Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brick Building - Section Four - Cooperating with the Holy Spirit

So are you starting to wonder where the brick wall fits into all of this?  Or are you thinking I had forgotten about it?  Well I haven’t forgotten, we are just working toward it. Let’s just say that Jesus has us in the process of being formed into bricks. 

Today let’s consider what it might look like to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. As I noted over the last several weeks, the goal of a Christian is to mature or to pursue maturity instead of going back to the initial basic elementary rules of Christianity. We are being formed into individual bricks in the process

In Jesus' last words to the disciples, He said He had to go so another would come. In John 16: "It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment".  See Act 2: After Jesus' departure from this earth, the disciples, apostles, were filled with the Holy Spirit. 

After we accept Jesus Christ as our savior, I believe we begin a journey with Him by the Holy Spirit. (Consider it a journey of learning to allow Him to be the Lord of our lives.) We begin to learn to listen and be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit. This process I am breaking down into 3 phases in order to simplify this discussion.

Phase 1:  Infant Stage of Cooperating with the Holy Spirit: Initially, similar to an infant learning to walk, our walk with God may look awkard. We are not sure how to fully cooperate with the Spirit. We may even be a little resistant, but we are trying to learn. We may fall a lot during this time just as a baby falls a good bit when they are learning to walk. We let go of His hand and grab back on a good bit, but that is part of learning just as a toddler does. Which leads us to the "I do it myself" time. Each one of these represents growth, but also these represent our desire to be independent from God. -- On a side note, as others begin their journey from infancy, let's walk beside them with encouragement.  Just as a mother would not scold their child as they fall while learning to walk, let's give that same grace and freedom to newer believers. Let's remind one another that God is not calling us to "do it myself", but He is equipping us, enabling us, leading us and maturing us; but we have to be willing to be dependent on Him and obey His leading -- we will talk about this later.

Phase 2:  Teen Stage of Cooperating with the Holy Spirit: This phase is a place where the independence is worked through, and we begin to test our boundaries. We have a bit more of a defiance and perhaps a bit of rebellion during this phase, but this phase helps us understand we cannot do it on our own. It teaches us we were not called to do it on our own. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves during this phase, "doing for God". It is a time of failure and testing. It is a time for us to see where our dependence lies, and it is not with ourselves, but it is with God by the indwelling Spirit. This is where we begin to discover God is reliable. (Just as not every teen rebels or is defiant, nor does ever believer... I am just demonstrating a time of hashing out our boundaries of where we end and He begins. Similar to a teen discovering their independence from their parents.)

Phase 3:  Mature Adult Stage of Cooperating with the Holy Spirit: This is a lifelong process as is the majority of our physical life is spent as an adult. This is where we have become convinced of the sufficiency of God and our own insufficiency. This is a place where we surrender to Him and learn to allow Him to lead us. This is the phase of our walk where we learn to abide with Him. In this phase, I believe the believer becomes an ambassador for Christ. -- I believe God uses us during all of the phases, and God can be glorified in us during each stage. But I believe we will see the kingdom expand exponentially when the body as a whole cooperates with the Holy Spirit, let's Him complete His refining process and become mature in the faith. This is where the individual brick is formed and ready to be set in place in the wall figuratively speaking.

Ponder these phases. Each of us may find that although we are mature in one area, we are indeed still an infant in another area of our life. We may find this to be true with our fellow co-workers in Christ as well. So let's offer grace to ourselves and to one another as we move through these phases of growth. We need to understand that we all can use some encouragement seasoned lightly with correction in love.  Let's come to an understanding that we too are not fully mature in all areas. This is a process of sanctification. Thankfully God doesn't sanctify us all at once. I wonder if He did, would we be able to stand it... I say it would simply destroy us. Thankfully He takes us from glory to glory in this refining process. Just as a silversmith would heat up the metal only enough to melt it so the impurities would rise to the top and be removed but not so hot to destroy the metal, circumstances in our lives become the heat to allow our impurities to come to the top to be removed. The cool thing about refining silver, the silversmith watched the silver and knew the silver was ready when he could see his reflection in the metal. Hmmm. That is Jesus' goal for us. He watches over us and takes us through each stage until we reach adulthood where He continues to develop us. He is taking us from glory to glory until He sees His reflection in us. (forming us into usable bricks.)

Are you READY!

To see more about Abiding see also: Abiding in the Temple

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