HAVING THE SAME SPIRIT OF FAITH

2 Corinthians 4:13 – But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak.

Paul used the word “spirit” with a small “s” because it is referring to the “spirit of faith”. One could say it is the spirit of “belief.” True faith is given to an individual by the Spirit of God. The same Holy Spirit that caused the prophet to believe and speak also caused the apostles to believe and speak. The same Holy Spirit is at work in believers today. It is the spirit of faith within me that produces a need to speak. My speaking stems from the faith that is within me given by the One behind my faith.

When a person is filled with the Spirit of God, they will be led to speak about the Lord. This should be the experience of every believer in Christ Jesus who is being led by the Spirit. The Spirit has come to speak of Christ. “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me” (John 15:26). The King James Version says, “He will speak of Me.” Every believer is called to speak or testify of Christ. This is not simply the preacher’s assignment, but of every child of God. Testifying to others of Christ is a vital part of our Christian development.  Many of God’s people are stunted in their growth because they keep their faith to themselves rather than sharing what Christ has done for them.

Paul stated in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” This was not limited to the apostles, but was meant to be a model for believers in Rome. It should be an example for every believer in the 21st century. Why? The Gospel remains the power of God unto salvation. The good news tells of Jesus the Christ, who was put to death for our sins, whom God raised up by the power of His Holy Spirit and seated at His own right hand in Heaven.  The Gospel is the only answer to the human condition. The world is looking for salvation, most of the time in the wrong places. This is why we must declare by the Spirit of God “The faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). As you trust the Spirit of God, you will be astonished at how the Lord will use you for His glory.

Father, help me to speak from the faith I have received of Jesus. Holy Spirit, fill me with boldness to speak to others about my faith in Christ Jesus, concerning what He has done for me.

WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN EARTHEN VESSELS

2 Corinthians 4:7 – We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.

At the beginning of this chapter, Paul is defending his apostolic ministry. He declared the gospel, which the true apostles preach. In verse 7, he wrote that the treasure we have as believers is in earthen vessels, in other words, our human body. Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this verse, it is clear Paul wrote concerning the treasure of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the power of God who gives us salvation. We can never claim the power originates with us. This surpassing greatness of the power originates in God.

An earthen vessel can easily be broken. The enemy tries to defeat us on many fronts. Our earthen vessels give Him great advantage. As humans, our fleshly appetites easily control our thinking. In the beginning, this is how the enemy of our souls got an upper hand. In the Garden, he attacked a weakness in Eve. Through Eve, he went after a weakness in Adam. In the wilderness, as recorded in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, the devil tried to use the same tactics when he tempted Jesus. Jesus did not cave to the appetites of the flesh, but rather relied completely on the Holy Spirit by using the Word of God to overcome the tricks of the enemy.

In every area of His life, Jesus sought to glorify His Father. He chose the Father’s desire over the appetites of His earthen vessel. Even on the cross, as He drew close to the final moments in His fully human body, He cried out to His father and said, “Into Your hands I commit My spirit.” He then gave up His spirit which returned to the Father. Paul wrote, “To those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). It is clear that the apostle understood the truth regarding the power of God. Jesus became weak by taking on human form. He totally relied upon God to supply the power. There is nothing weaker than our flesh, but God has chosen to indwell these human vessels so that all the praise and all the glory might belong to Him.

Ask the Holy Spirit to be free in you to reveal His surpassing greatness so that the power might be of God and not of you. Relinquish control once again to Him in all things. Father, into Your hands I commit my life to be used as You see fit.

ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT OF HOLINESS

Romans 1:4 – Declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul begins his letter to the Romans by establishing the purpose of his Apostleship. This purpose was to preach the gospel promised beforehand through God’s prophets, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. The promise was concerning God’s Son, who was born as a descendant of David. This is what Paul meant by writing, “according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3). Jesus’ birth line could be traced back to King David, 1000 years prior. Paul is declaring that Jesus is who He said He was, by the power of the resurrection. God’s holiness was satisfied in the sacrifice of His Son’s life. The Spirit of God raised Christ Jesus up and seated Him on the highest throne.  Heavens throne!

At the end of verse 4, Paul includes the name of God’s Son, “Jesus Christ.” Jesus means Savior, and Christ means Messiah. Paul identifies Jesus Christ as Our King when he says “our Lord.” What Paul is describing is the work of the Holy Spirit in raising Christ from the dead. Those who believe and have put their trust in the work of Christ will also be raised from the dead. “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you” (Romans 8:11). We presently walk by faith since the Father promised resurrection, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6).

Everything God has done in the Lord Jesus Christ has been accomplished by the Spirit of holiness. The contrast is stark between God’s holiness and His fallen creation man, between His Holiness, and our depravity. You cannot get farther apart than that. Our total hope in this present evil world and in the world to come is rooted in the Holiness of God.

The Holy Spirit is the Administrator of the kingdom of God, directing what the Father has commanded. The Father thought through His redemptive purposes before time began. The Son came as the Logos or the Living Word of God to give us redemption. The Holy Spirit is executing God’s plans through the Work of the Son. The Spirit is working in the life of believers who have put their complete trust in God’s redemptive plan.

Father, I thank You for Your King who died that we might live. I pray for the Spirit of holiness to lead and direct my life. I yield to your redemptive purpose through me.

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD GAVE THEM REST

Isaiah 63:14 – As the cattle which go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So You led Your people, to make for Yourself a glorious name.

It is in the valley where the meadows are found that the cattle find rest. It is a place of grazing and the place of chewing their cud. The Spirit of the Lord desires to lead us into green pastures for His name’s sake. For the child of God, it is the place of eating the Word of the Lord. The Word of God is not just meant to be read, but eaten and digested. Part of the digesting process is to ruminate on the Word. This means to meditate and think upon God’s Word repeatedly. The Word of God is meant to go down and then come back up for more chewing. This process is similar to what a cow experiences in the chewing of its cud.

In this valley, during the times of eating, meditating, and memorizing God’s Word we find our greatest rest. Isaiah 63:14 references the fulfillment of God’s Word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the people of Israel, when He gave them the land He had promised. The Scripture says that “the Lord gave them rest on every side . . . the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand” (Joshua 21:43-44). God’s purpose was to make a glorious name for Himself. 

Through the Lord Jesus Christ, He is continuing that purpose. The Father is working by His Spirit through His glorious body, His church. “For as many are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our rest is truly found in receiving God’s Word, speaking God’s Word, and in doing the will of God, all of which brings glory to His name.

Ask the Holy Spirit each day to lead you to the place of His rest. Ask Him to give you grace to receive all His promises that are yes, and to help you decree the Amen, so that your life may bring glory to His Holy Name. Father, thank You for the place of rest You have provided for me in Christ Jesus.

I AM FILLED WITH POWER

Micah 3:8 – I am filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord—And with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin.

We know little about the prophet Micah. He shared two specific messages with God’s people by the Spirit of the Lord. On one hand, he dealt with a word of judgment against Israel’s rebellion. On the other hand, he promised God’s help for restoration and blessing. Micah brought God’s Word against the false seers and diviners. Many today represent themselves as God’s messengers. Different messages are being declared to God’s people. Many run after the hype and glitter of modern day prophets. Micah declared, “On the other hand, I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord.”  Only the Power of the Lord can make the difference. The Power of the Lord brings judgment into the life of a believer. The Power of the Lord establishes peace and security.

The wise individual allows God’s judgments to work a deepening sense of God’s presence in them. They become increasingly aware of what God is after in their life. If someone refuses to submit to the correction of the Lord, increasingly severe results will follow. God loves His children and therefore disciplines them through His Holy Spirit in order to bring them to a place of sharing in His Holiness. Read Hebrews 12:4-11 for a clear perspective of this point.

God’s dealings with His people always have a redemptive purpose. He does not discipline His children out of anger as an earthly father might, but out of love, looking toward their future and their success. Any individual that is charged with caring for the people of God must possess a strong sense of justice and courage. Making sin known is not a light matter. Skill is required to administer justice and mercy to the offender. It requires compassion with a view toward restoration. The Spirit of God has not only come to judge, but also to restore. The individual who claims to have the Word of the Lord, but does not have courage to deal with sin, is a false prophet. A prophet who deals with sin must do so with a view toward God’s redemptive purpose. This is clearly seen throughout the Old Testament story and is established in the cross of Christ.

Ask the Holy Spirit to give to you a deepening sense of God’s presence and what He wants to judge in your life. Ask Him to fill you with power, both to deal with sin and to encourage righteousness.  Father, I thank You for Your judgments of my sin and for Your redemptive purpose in my life.

IN YOU I AM WELL PLEASED

Mark 1:11 – A voice came out of the heavens: You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.

The Father loves to confirm the faithfulness of His sons and daughters.  Jesus is the One who made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Father.  He is the One who gives us “the right to become the children of God” (John 1:12).  Every believer stands accepted before God because Jesus was fully accepted by the Father. In Mark 1:11, the Father audibly declared His pleasure from the heavens over Jesus.  Many believers have a hard time receiving the love of our Heavenly Father because of bad experiences with an earthly father.  Many people have not heard their earthly father speak words of acceptance and affirmation, but rather judgments and condemnation.  Jesus came for the specific purpose of revealing the Father.  “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).  The disciples experienced how Jesus treated them and saw how He treated others.  Through this, the Father’s love was revealed. The disciples had known of God through the Law, but now they were learning of Him through God’s love and grace.

The Scriptures make it clear how much the Father loves humanity. The three letters recorded in the Bible, written by John the Beloved, express the Father’s focused love for every believer.  The Gospel of John declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son” (John 3:16).  Paul wrote that “He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6 KJV).  The Holy Spirit has come to reveal the Father’s love. He is grieved when we have barriers to receiving His love.  Those barriers can be broken if you will allow the Spirit of Grace to open your heart to the Father’s love.  He will give you a spirit of forgiveness toward an earthly father who wounded you.  He will give you courage to trust and believe your Heavenly Father’s word of acceptance.  He will help you not only to know His love, but to be empowered to share His love. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and expose any area hindering you from hearing the Father say, “You are my beloved one, in whom I am well pleased through my Son, Jesus.”

Father, today, I open my heart to the fullness of Your love. Please give me grace to forgive anyone I need to forgive.  I realize that my unforgiveness stands in the way of receiving Your love.  By faith, I receive Your love made possible through Your Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.