Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Never Resist the Holy Spirit's Voice -- it is Life!

"Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful." - Mark 4:18-19

This text from one of Christ’s parables jumped out at me this morning.

It led me to ask the introspective question: what are the worries of life and desires for other things that may be restricting (or choking) God’s Word from achieving its purpose in my life?

Honestly, the Holy Spirit brought to mind a few things. But the next question was: what am I going to do about it? There is first recognition of the need to change, but then there has to be the willingness and desire to actually change, followed by action.

This is the dilemma one faces whenever they read something convicting from God’s Word. What does one do when the Holy Spirit speaks? Our first commitment must be to do what the writer of Hebrews emphasized when quoting the Psalmist.

"So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.

That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, `Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' - Hebrews 3:7-10

So it is of utmost importance that we refuse to harden our hearts, or simply shake it off and ignore the Holy Spirit. If you are willing to turn away from the Holy Spirit when he puts his finger on something convicting, then how are you going to be tuned in to hearing Him speak when He has something wonderful and exciting He wants to show you (that you surely would be interested in)?

But hear the words of Proverbs 15:

"He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor." - Proverbs 15:31-33

Wisdom, understanding, honor. They are all things we would like to have. But before they are granted to us, there are things such as healthy rebukes, discipline, correction, reverence for God, and humility that must be embraced first.

Nothing is easy. Change is not easy. But change is at the core of the Christian life, and when the Holy Spirit speaks, there is blessing that awaits the one who listens and obeys. So when you hear Him speak, listen closely, fight off the urge to resist Him, and do whatever is necessary to act on it, even if it means writing it down as a reminder.

I pray that there is nothing in your life that is hindering the Holy Spirit’s voice, or as Paul says in Ephesians, I pray that there is nothing in your life that is “grieving the Holy Spirit.” Those worries, those unnecessary fears, those unholy desires – they are like spiritual cholesterol (of the bad type). They restrict the blood flow, hinder our growth, and render us ineffective, or as the text says, “unfruitful.”

Examine your life this morning. Refuse to harden your heart if God is putting his finger on something. Develop a regular pattern of listening and obeying, so that God’s blessing will never be forfeited.

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