Monday, May 27, 2013

Holy Spirit Word Study - Romans 15:13

What you need to know about today's blog:

Many years ago, God led me to start a word study on the Holy Spirit. Starting in Genesis and working through the book of Revelation, I was to meditate on each and every verse that contains the word "Spirit" asking in prayer what the Holy Spirit wanted me to know about himself from the scripture I was studying. (In case you're curious, my concordance shows the word "Spirit" in 328 different verses.) Often in my studies, the Spirit would bring to mind a memory or use a current event of my life as a kind of parable to teach me about himself. The Spirit gave me a new or better understanding and I wrote a short devotional piece (much like my weekly blog) which I shared with a small group of friends. I worked on it diligently for four years and then hitting hard into a desert time of uninspired writer's block, I had to stop. That was four years ago. I started this blog in a desperate attempt to keep God central in my life during this dry season.

Jesus used many parables in his teachings--stories of everyday life that the commom person could use as a frame of reference to understand and respond to God's love and grace. Every person's ordinary life held imperfect parallels to the nature of God and His Kingdom from which they could understand better God's goodness and His perfect will. I firmly believe that everyone's life story is like a parable from which we can learn about God, if we just take the time to look for the lesson. That's why this blog is called The Parable of My Life. I tried to look for where God was evident in my week and share that with you faithfully.

Now I am feeling called to return to my Holy Spirit word study. I still have 114 verses to go and plan to share them with you on my blog as they are written. Below are my thoughts on the Holy Spirit as read in Romans 15:13.

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, NIV)

I've been a child of God now for 14 years. In that time I've sought to serve The Lord with my all my heart and my life to the best of my ability, more often than not. Over the years, there were times when I was bursting with devotion, seeking God at every turn and there were times when I coasted on the fumes of my faith. I'm not ashamed of admitting this. After all I am human and still a work in progress. Aren't we all?

There have been some people in my life whom I find admirable in the faith and there were times when I leaned on them to limp through parts of my faith journey. That's what we are supposed to do for each other. I'm a sinner, and so are they, but we can share our strengths in each other’s weaknesses and hold each other up and accountable along the way. We are brothers and sisters in the family of God and, ideally, we love each other as family should. We need to be careful though that we are relying on God even while leaning on each other. No matter how admirable someone may be, every last one of us is messed up. And that's okay because Jesus came to this world as the perfect human and as our perfect sacrifice -- even for the worst of sinners. He showed us what we are to do and be, and by the power of the Holy Spirit who resides within every believer's heart, we can be the people he created us to be. He loved the unlovable, befriended, not the super spiritual leaders of the time, but the humble sinners ignored and rejected by the righteous. He gave hope to the hopeless and he didn't do it by pointing out how lost they were as sinners but instead showing how loving and forgiving God is by taking the sinner's place on the cross, giving all of himself for our redemption. This is the example we are to follow.

But how do I do that in my spiritually dry times? That's a question I've been asking myself for a while now. Only recently did The Spirit lead me to the answer--I don't! In fact, what he made clear is that even in spiritually abundant times--It's not me! It was never me who loved the unlovable in my life with the heart of God, befriended the sinners, or gave hope to the hopeless--it was him! And his ability doesn't depend on the status of my spiritual tank. He is the God of hope that fills us with all joy and peace as we trust in him to do, so that we will overflow with his hope to pass on to others by his power alone. I am not manufacturing hope to share--I am merely a conduit of his unending love and grace for every person, no matter who they are or what they've done.


Audrey said...

I love the phrase that you are not the manufacturer but rather the conduit. Great words of truth!

Common Household Mom said...

Good thoughts. Thank you!