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A Call to Obedience
By Maky Fernandez
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Maky Fernandez
All right reserved.
Chapter OneObedience In The Holy Spirit
In ballroom dancing, two individuals—one leader and one follower—move as one. Using well-rehearsed signals and gentle nudges, the leader communicates each step to the follower. When done correctly, the two appear to glide gracefully and effortlessly across the dance floor, in perfect unity. However, the success of the team rests on both individuals performing their roles. The leader must always be aware of his responsibility to set the pace and tone and the follower must wholly depend on the leader to direct each step. When both are in sync, the result is a beautifully executed pattern.
In many ways, obedience to the Holy Spirit is similar to ballroom dancing. When we allow the Holy Spirit to direct the steps of our lives, God's perfectly orchestrated plans will unfold. Our duty is to follow His lead. When we surrender to Him without struggling, resisting, or complaining, God's perfect plan for our lives will be accomplished.
Understanding the Role of the Holy Spirit
"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters" (Genesis 1:2).
The Holy Spirit is God. The Bible teaches that God is One, yet that He exists in three separate and distinct personages. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity—co-existent with God the Father and God the Son. While each is distinct in function, each shares the same deity and each reflects the divine attributes of one Holy God. This truth is a mystery that can be difficult for many to understand. However, there are some simple illustrations that can help us grasp God's infinite and divine triune nature with our finite human minds.
For instance, water can exist in three distinct forms—liquid, solid, or vapor, yet it is still one substance. It is still water. An egg is another example. Compromised of three separate and distinct parts—the shell, the white, and the yoke—yet it is still one egg. Another simplistic illustration is a flashlight. Made of three things—a light bulb, a battery, and a casing—yet you need all three for one flashlight.
Many things in our world exist in triune form. None of these can adequately define the nature of our God completely. He is unique. However, they help us conceptualize the idea that three distinct entities can function as one.
God the Father is Sovereign. He orchestrates everything and rules over all. The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. (Psalm 103:19, NASB)
God the Son is Savior. Jesus died so that we could receive forgiveness of our sins and have eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
God the Spirit is our Counselor. His role is to testify of Jesus. When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (John 15:26)
Why Did He Come?
When speaking to His disciples shortly before His death Jesus spoke of what He expected of them. He also told them what was to come, and why He had to leave.
"If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love Him and show myself to Him." (John 14:15-21)
As a man, Jesus was limited by His humanity. However, after His death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended upon all who believed in Jesus. Today it is the Holy Spirit, who is present and actively working in the world.
"But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." (John 16:7-8)
The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin and lead people to Jesus. He empowers believers to be able to live the Christian life and obey God's will. But it is up to each person whether they are going to yield and willingly follow and obey His leading. He will never force Himself upon anyone who is unwilling to follow Him.
Do You Know Jesus?
When a person makes a decision to believe in Jesus as his or her personal Savior they are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as God's own possession. So a decision for Jesus is essential in the life of every person.
It is amazing how many disregard the gospel and the hope that is available through Jesus. They continue living without him. To display indifference by not making a decisive stance for Jesus is the same as taking a stance against Him.
Have you made a decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Only those who have are saved, have been made right with God, and have His power working within them, in the person of the Holy Spirit.
When a person rejects the leading of the Holy Spirit and refuses to accept the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for sin, they will remain separated from God for all eternity. The Bible speaks of that as the only unpardonable sin. "Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:32)
Whoever rejects Jesus is rejecting the only hope they have for eternal life. Forgiveness of sin can be found in no other source, so rejection is blasphemy. "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." (Mark 3:29)
If you have rejected the Holy Spirit's prodding to accept the truth of the gospel, now is the time to turn away from that sin and look to Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life. "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." (John 3:16-17)
Jesus Lord and Savior No one comes to the Father except through Him He is the way the truth the life (John 14:6)
If you want to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and spend eternity with Him, then with faith and an honest heart say the following prayer of repentance.
God, I confess that I am a sinner and I repent of my sins. I believe Jesus died on the cross to forgive me of my sins and that He resurrected on the third day to give me eternal life. Jesus, I need you and I proclaim you as my personal Lord and Savior. I invite you to come into my life and live in my heart. I surrender my life to you. Do with me as you please. In your precious name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer with sincerity of heart, the Bible says, "there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10). Jesus now lives in you through the Person of the Holy Spirit, and you have eternal salvation. As a Christian you now have the ability to live a Spirit-filled life.
Living a Spirit-Filled Life
The Holy Spirit's role in our lives is immeasurable. He leads us to salvation, guides us, empowers us, admonishes us, comforts us and instructs us in everything. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit reveals the truth of Jesus Christ and leads us into God's will. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit teaches us how to accurately interpret the Bible, helps us apply God's Word to our lives and reveals God's plan to us. "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 2:11).
At the beginning of Jesus' ministry, He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. We see in this account, one of the few places in the Scripture where the Trinity was present and active together. "As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17). God the Father speaks, God the Son is baptized; and God the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all together at that moment.
Jesus' water baptism is an example to all Christians of the significance of being baptized. It is an outward testimony of the inward working of God in our lives. But also significant and worth noting in this passage is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended upon Jesus at that time. One of the final instructions Jesus gave to His disciples dealt with their need to be baptized with the Spirit.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Power in the Holy Spirit implies courage, boldness, confidence, and wisdom. We receive insight, guidance, discernment, ability and authority to fulfill whatever task God assigns. The Holy Spirit gives us power to witness, to reach the unreachable, to love the unlovable, to persevere in Christian service, to stand firm in adversity, to encourage when disheartened, to overcome in trials, to defeat the enemy, to obey God's Word, to live a victorious Christian life.
The Holy Spirit dwells inside every Christian. "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16). Every Christian should be experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. If not, something is missing. Don't continue depriving yourself of the power that will enable you to follow obediently and joyfully. God wants to empower you by baptizing you with His Holy Spirit. Do you have the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through you? Do you want the Baptism or the filling of the Holy Spirit? If you desire to be baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit you can rest assured that if you ask and believe, you will receive His promise and be filled with the Holy Spirit and through faith you can appropriate the Spirit's power each day. "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13).
Understanding Your Role with the Holy Spirit
For several years my husband Orlando and I, flew to a part of the country we wanted to explore, rented Harley Davidson motorcycles and rode for seven days. On these road trips we never made any plans. We never knew where we would stay, what we would eat, where we would go each day, how much we would spend, or what adventures we would encounter along the way. There were no schedules, no plans, no desires (other than stopping at an antique store that looked promising) and no specific destination. Without plans, we were free from time constraints, detours, setbacks, and disappointments. We just rode and left the rest to the Lord.
Although every trip was different and not necessarily perfect, God's Holy Spirit was evident on each occasion. He always led us to places that we otherwise would have never experienced if we had planned these trips on our own.
Being led by the Holy Spirit is like being on an endless road trip. You have no idea where you are going but you are fully enjoying the ride and always moving forward to a new and glorious destination. It is exhilarating, revitalizing, thrilling, encouraging, fulfilling and indescribably amazing. The beauty is in the mystery of not knowing what He is going to do with you or through you. He is not constrained by time, touch, emotions, appearances, prejudices, insecurities and limitations. As we yield to Him, the Holy Spirit keeps us separated from the things that bind us to this world. He gives us the liberty and freedom we need to trust His guidance. He is boundless! He can take us places, show us things, and introduce us to people that we would never encounter on our own. His only goal is to lead us to accomplish God's plan for our lives.
Our role with the Holy Spirit is clear-cut and simple. We are to follow and obey His leading. All we have to do is let Him take care of all the plans, arrangements, and details for our lives.
As Christians, we are to live a life set apart that honors God and obeys the Holy Spirit's guidance. The more we yield to the Holy Spirit's leading the more He controls us and the more recognizable His characteristics will be in our lives. If we are following Jesus and are indwelled and submitted to the Holy Spirit, our lives will bear good fruit. "This in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." (Colossians 1:10).
Good fruits are developed over time as we abide in Christ and apply His Word to our lives. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5). Our part is to abide. That means not only to know but also to obey the Scriptures. Our obedience produces good fruit and glorifies the Lord. Good fruit in our lives is a by-product of a Spirit-filled life. As we live in the Spirit His attributes will flow through us. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
A couple of years ago, we decided our kitchen needed to be remodeled. After much prayer, we hired my colleague's husband. He was highly recommended by a very reliable and close friend of mine. Since we had prayed, had a relationship with his wife and saw the quality of work he had done in my friend's kitchen, we were convinced that everything would go smoothly with this remodeling project. The agreement was that we would be without a functional kitchen for a week once he started the installation.
Six months later, our kitchen was still not fully functional. To this date, our kitchen is not finished and will remain in its current imperfect condition until a future homeowner decides to renovate it. Although the unprofessional condition of the work is not necessarily visible unless pointed out, our kitchen is a constant reminder of the importance of displaying the elements of the Fruit of the Spirit in Christian behavior.
God in His goodness allowed me to share Christ with this man and I felt a responsibility to behave as Christ-like as possible in the situation. It was important to me that I maintain my Christian testimony for the sake of Jesus' name despite the difficulty of the situation. Throughout the remodeling project the Holy Spirit reminded me that what was most important was how I represented the Lord.
I read God's word daily, prayed, and asked the Holy Spirit to fill me afresh everyday so that the fruit of the Spirit would be evident in me. I frequently looked at a plaque that listed the fruit of the Holy Spirit in order to remind me that I not only needed to obey God's Word, but that it was possible if I stayed yielded to His Spirit.
"We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:32).
Excerpted from A Call to Obedience by Maky Fernandez Copyright © 2011 by Maky Fernandez. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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