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Wednesday: The Guidance of the Spirit — 13 Comments

  1. There is a lot of rhetoric about the Holy Spirit that is just plain wrong. Listening to some Christians, it would seem that they think of the Holy Spirit as though it was some sort of magic wand that you wave when you want something done.

    I like to think of the Holy Spirit like the lane detection system on my car that I mentioned in yesterday's comment. It gives me a gentle reminder that I need to stay in the lane. It does not coerce me. When we were driving back from Queensland after our last trip up there to sort out my father-in-law's estate we were pretty tired, both physically and emotionally. We usually take turns driving, so after I had driven through Brisbane and the Gold Coast I handed the steering wheel over to Carmel. She drove for about 15 minutes and then she got a nudge from the car to tell her she was going out of the lane. She quickly realised that she was having difficulty maintaining concentration. She had not gone to sleep, but she was in a state that meant it was unsafe for her to drive.

    In many respects, the Holy Spirit is a gentle force, like the car's lane detection system. It alerts you but does not coerce you. You are the one that has to make the "freedom of choice" decision. And as with the car's safety system, you ignore its warnings at your peril.

    There are two passages of scripture worth reading in the context of this discussion. the first is 1 Cor 12, which talks about the "manifestation of the Spirit". The overriding theme is the diversity of skills and abilities and their cooperation. It is no accident that the following chapter is devoted to the true meaning of selfless love.

    Then in Gal 5: 22,23 we have:

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    Again there is this sense that with the gentle influence of the Holy Spirit we work together in love and understanding towards one another.

    The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8

  2. One of the articles which I have kept note of would answer today‘s lesson‘s question and partly that of yesterday. I quote (author unknown):

    „Think of the human mind as a computer, and the Holy Spirit as a sort of anti-Virus program that can be uploaded, that „mind“ can then affect all the computer‘s systems, taking out harmful applications and replacing them with good, functional applications. Continuing the analogy, the Holy Spirit rewrites our hard drives so that we are capable of understanding, or interfacing with God Himself. We gain new desires and qualities, like humility (Phil 2:5), compassion (Math.9:36) and other godly fruit (Gal 5:22-23). We have a new purpose that is aligned with His (Luke 19:10) and we can see clearly the reality before us that this world is temporal and flawed and that we are meant for an eternal world (1John 2:15-17).

    I find it encouraging to focus on the last sentence.

  3. Looking for wisdom is something for those who realize happiness is not in material things. Possessions don't fulfill the soul. To be truly wise it is necessary to disconnect from the visible world, because true wisdom comes from the unseen, from a spiritual perspective. If intellectuality were the way to go, humanity wouldn't be in this constant fall. The key is in the Spirit! That's the answer we should really strive for!

    “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

    “You parents — if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matthew 7:7-11)

    Let's continue to ask for the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to be given us for discernment and wisdom TODAY!

    • Hi, JC. I can certainly appreciate your emphasis on our reception of the Holy Spirit as the primary source of wisdom. That said, I've had to stop and think about your statement that "intellectuality" is not "the way to go." If by this you mean that we cannot rely on a well-developed intellect to ever guide us aright, I can agree wholeheartedly. It often seems that some of the best educated and smartest theologians are astoundingly capable of getting things very wrong!

      However, if I were to take your statement literally, it would seem to suggest that there is no value in the development of our minds. Personally, I am more inclined to agree with the words of Seventh-day Adventist pioneer Ellen White.

      "If the Bible were studied as it should be, men would become strong in intellect... God would have us avail ourselves of every means of cultivating and strengthening our intellectual powers. We were created for a higher, nobler existence than the life that now is. This time is one of preparation for the future, immortal life. Where can be found grander themes for contemplation, a more interesting subject for thought, than the sublime truths unfolded in the Bible?" Fundamentals of Christian Education, page 165

      Perhaps it is best for us to become as brilliant as possible, by God's grace, and then rely fully on Him for our understanding. What do you think?

      • Thanks R.G. I meant that intellectuality alone, without the guidance of God's Holy Spirit is not enough to "save the world"... humankind has achieved such a high technology but is incapable to stop the planet's nature downfall.

    • Hello, J.C. – I agree with you that asking for the Spirit to reveal to us the things that are spiritual is essential in a Christian’s walk by faith. How else would we become aware of the finer nuances between acting selflessly and selfishly. Wisdom is not knowledge, it is understanding rightly.

      We know that 'wisdom' in and of itself will not be able to make the difference between acting wisely and foolishly, unless it is accompanied by a humble and willing heart which desires to live according to the revealed understanding of the Will of our Maker. Wisdom by itself is neither good or bad; how it is applied is what makes it acceptable or unacceptable. Solomon is a good example to this point – very wise, but often acting foolishly at the same time.

      • Thank you, Brigitte. I'm sure that when Solomon acted foolishly he was not acting according to the Spirit, even though he was super wise. Again, human wisdom does not mean much comparing to God's.

  4. "I never knew you" is nullified by letting the Holy Spirit guide us into the joy of the Lord. We will thus hear those beautiful words, "enter into the joy of your Lord." And "come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world."
    Matthew 25:21,23,34.

    Being open to the Holy Spirit, is letting Him guide us into truth, doing what is right, and following Christ every day.

    2 Peter 1:5-11.
    "for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

  5. Amina, what a great analogy. Thank you for sharing. I'm very grateful for everyone who gives input on our weekly lesson, it helps us to understand and gain perspective.

  6. The Berean Standard Bible:

    John 16:12-14: ”I (Jesus) still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you.”

    (ESV)Paul states:

    Eph.1:13-14 - ”In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

    Upon believing we were sealed with the Holy Spirit. This implies that our ears and eyes have been opened, now being able to receive and perceive the wisdom inherent in the Truth of the Word of God. To those who cannot ‘hear or see’, God’s wisdom/understanding which was/is revealed to our heart and mind is considered foolishness.

    From when we first believed, seeking the Spirit to guide us on our walk by faith through the perils of this life, we look to share our 'having been found'. From then on, wisdom and understanding are coupled with compassion to benefit those still walking in darkness, undergirding all that we deem important to engage in.

    Our body with all its faculties has now become the temple of the Spirit to reveal the Glory of God in all we do. Humbly keeping our heart and mind, eyes and ears tuned to understanding and doing the Will of God instead of ours, is all those who love God with all their heart can do.

  7. I found today's lesson somewhat judgmental. While I'm sure it is true that some people want the Spirit's gifts without the change of the Spirit and I might even be able to predict who those people are, I really can't without being judgmental. I have known some very spiritual people in other churches and many preachers in other denominations are doing good work. Yes, it's true that at the end, Jesus will tell some supposed followers, "I never knew you", we generally can't tell who those people are.

    We may have "the truth" but I hate the way we're smug about it. Sadly, I don't think Adventists as a whole are any more filled with the fruit of the Spirit than any other church. We might not look like Simon the sorcerer, but we may not be so different.

    I'm kind of troubled by the final paragraphs that suggest that we must consecrate our vows each morning or we won't be given the Holy Spirit. Does that mean that if I have a bad day and rush off without praying or don't pray the right prayer in the morning, that the Holy Spirit won't guide me? Don't get me wrong, I feel we should dedicate our day to God, but I hate the thinking that God abandons us the moment our walk with Him is less than ideal. That is quite depressing, because I know I have some bad days.

    • Christina, I don't believe the Holy Spirit "abandons us" if we don't ask Him to guide us every single morning. But I do think our hearing of His voice is much duller when we do not make that conscious commitment each morning. Our hearing also becomes duller when we do not regularly spend time allowing Him to speak to us through the Bible.

      I don't believe the Holy Spirit *ever* abandons anyone. When people do not listen to Him, their hearts become so hardened that they no longer hear Him. At that point, they have committed the "unpardonable sin."

      While the one paragraph may not be totally clear on this, the author begins the next paragraph by saying, "We must, however, be open to His leading by making conscious choices." We need to be "open," or we don't hear. To be "open," also means to make conscious choices.

      Lastly, I understand that it is not the individual good deeds or bad deeds that determine our destiny, but the direction in which we are headed. The minister in the pulpit may be harboring pride that is slowly separating him from God, while the drunk on the sidewalk may get up and humbly give His life to the Lord. Thus the minister may be heading for destruction while the "drunk" is on his way to heaven.

  8. The idea that "Only by seeking to live in our God-given strength to live as we should will we be open to receiving that power of the Holy Spirit in our lives...." This seems contrary to me to what Jesus said in Luke 11:13 that God is more willing to give us The Holy Spirit than Parents are to give good gifts to their children and that all we have to do is just "ask" The Father for this. This is like saying that God expects us to be righteous before He will place His "Robe of Righteousness" on us. It sounds like "righteousness by works" before God will then grant us The Holy Spirit to then further help us to live for Him and for others.


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