God is calling all of us to depend on Him for living in a way that cannot be mimicked or forged. He wants us to walk in step with His Spirit rather than depend solely on the raw talent and knowledge He’s given us.
As a Christian are You Different from Anyone Else?
Has anyone ever been amazed by your peace? Love? Joy? Have they ever envied your self-control? Have you ever prayed that God would so fill you with the Spirit that people would know the change could be empowered only by the Spirit? It is when we are filled with true peace and hope that people notice there is something different about us. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us that peace (Rom 14: 17) and hope (Rom 15:13).
I think we all could agree that living “according to our sinful flesh” is not what is intended for us as children of God. Yet even so, we often choose to face life’s issues and circumstances in exactly the same way as someone without the Spirit of God. We worry, strive, and grieve no differently than unbelievers. While it is true that we are humans like everyone else, it is also true that we are humans with the Spirit of God dwelling in us. Yet, consciously or not, we essentially say to God, “I know you raised Christ from the dead; but the fact is my problems are just too much for you and I need to deal with them by myself.”
You are most likely familiar with the “fruit passage” in Galatians 5, which says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5: 22- 23). But look over these traits right now and ask yourself if you possess each to a supernatural degree. If God truly lives in you, shouldn’t you expect to be different from everyone else?
This is not meant to make you feel guilty. But it is meant to be a challenge and make a space for you to take an honest look at yourself. Do you know what it’s like to be filled with joy? Do you experience genuine peace regardless of your life circumstances? Do you consistently respond with kindness no matter what you receive from others?
God’s Holy Spirit Can Change Us
Despite our inability to change ourselves, we expend a great deal of effort trying. We focus on what God wants us to do and forget the kind of people He wants us to be. Instead of mustering up more willpower, let’s focus our energies and time on asking for help from the One who has the power to change us. Let’s take the time to ask God to put the fruit of His Spirit into our lives. And let’s spend time with the One we want to be more like.
Perhaps you need wisdom to know which decision to make. Or courage to do the right thing, even though you might lose your job. Or maybe you need love because you feel alone. Or you want people with a similar vision to journey with and support you along the way. Whatever you need, the point is that God is aware of you and your circumstances, and He knows what you really need and when the time is right for His response. He is able to bring these things, people, and circumstances into your life.
Allowing God to Meet Our Needs
But God is not a coercive God. And though He desires for His children to know peace and love and to have wisdom, I have noticed that often He waits for us to ask.
We may think it is safer to avoid situations where we need God to come through for us; we’re afraid to totally rely on Him and risk His silence. However, if you have not known and experienced God in ways you cannot deny, you may not be expressing your deep-seated needs from a desperate heart. God delights to show up when His children call on His name and when they are trusting fully in Him to come through for them. We must merely wait patiently for His perfect timing.
No matter where you live and what your days look like, you have the choice each day to depend on yourself, to live safely, and to try to control your life. Or you can live as you were created to live—as a temple of the Holy Spirit of God, as a person dependent on Him, dependent on God to show up and make a difference. When you begin living a life characterized by walking with the Spirit, that is when people will begin to look not to you but to our Father in heaven and give Him the praise.
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For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 14:17)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Forgotten God by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski