Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. Proverbs 25:11
I love it when the Holy Spirit brings to mind God’s Word in the moment when I needed it. When I needed encouragement or correction, guidance or wisdom, God’s Word was brought to the front of my mind by the Holy Spirit. It’s a golden word for me, of immense value, and life-giving.
Spiritual formation takes place over time. The formatting of my mind by the Gospel is a work of the Spirit to which we are called. In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul exhorts his listeners to cooperate with the Spirit of God:
1And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
You can be a part of the Holy Spirit’s work by memorizing and meditating on Scripture . Psalm 119 is a celebration of God’s gift of His Word and there the Psalmist joyfully declares, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Holy Spirit recall occurs when you have His Word in your mind available for the right, apt, moment.
Want to get started on memorizing Scripture?
Here’s a set of verses organized around the acrostic, G.L.O.R.I.F.Y.T.H.E.L.O.R.D., to help you get started.
9But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
10And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. Romans 8:9-13
The glorious reality of the new creation accomplished through faith in Jesus Christ and His work for the forgiveness of sin is this: “The Spirit of God, who raise Jesus from the dead, lives in you.”
In you. The Holy Spirit confirms you belong to God.
In you. Though your body will die because of sin, you will live.
In you. The Spirit gives life because you have been made right with God.
In you. The same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead gives life.
In you. The Spirit frees you from enslaving obligations to the sinful nature.
In you. The Spirit has the power for you to put to death sinful deeds.
In you. By the Spirit, you will live.
Wow! This causes me to pause.
Consider. Give thanks. And listen and respond now – to Jesus.
7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:7-15
Jesus says He will send the Holy Spirit as the Helper for the disciples. That’s great news because their assignment in the world is daunting. Who is going to believe them? But its not all up to them! The Holy Spirit will take on the work of convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment;
of sin because they do not believe Jesus.
of righteousness because Jesus has gone to the Father.
of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.
Conviction is uncomfortable. The application of God’s truth to our lives stirs up the mixture of guilt, shame, and fear that a person may have been managing for years. Conviction goes against our cultural reluctance to “make a person feel uncomfortable.” And thus we may not want to cooperate with the Spirit of God by proclaiming the promise of Jesus. But its the very uncomfortable and inconvenient realization of truth that makes the grace of Jesus timely and amazing.
9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13
Our Heavenly Father delights to give for the life and benefit of His children. So, ask. So, seek. So, knock. He knows how to give good gifts! When it comes to gifts, He will even give Himself. Jesus says our Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
So, I’m asking for the Holy Spirit who
- brings me into God’s love and assures me that I am His. (Romans 8:12-17)
- animates the Gospel of Jesus and lifts Him up. (John 16:4-15)
- empowers me for the work of Jesus in the world and leads me into it. (Acts 1:4-8)
- equips me for the benefit of the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12)
- grants me wisdom for decisions. (Isaiah 11:1-3)
12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
The Gospel frames “spiritual” as a condition brought about by the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ. So for the Christian living in my setting of people claiming “spiritual but not religious” some sophistication is required to maintain the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel.
The same Jesus who was present at Creation with the Father, and Holy Spirit is with us. The same Jesus who lived among Israel and died on the Cross is present with us. The same Jesus who was raised from the dead and ascended to Heaven is with us. The same Jesus who will return again some day is with us.
For the “natural” “Spirituality” is the common language that retains the common grace of intrinsic worth emerging from the image of God. Even the “natural” may recognize their need for love, for respect, for righteousness, for power and yet deny Jesus Christ.
Now, In Christ, we have Him and He has us, by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is working so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
We have been given the mind of Christ. Now we are no longer “natural.” Now we are made to be “spiritual” in the truest sense by means of the Gospel. Yet we affirm the “natural” in their quest and desires that correspond with the glory of God and His Kingdom.
Jesus is with us. Our spirit is alive to God through the work of Jesus Christ. Now we are truly spiritual as the Gospel frames “spiritual.”