Sunday, 22 July 2018

T The restoration of God's people

The work of the Holy Spirit in us

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In the previous chapter I’ve described three options that are used to deal with sin. The third option is the “conviction of sins by the Holy Spirit”. Since the Holy Spirit has such an important place in our life, I’ve made this a new chapter. I do realize that all the aspects of the Holy Spirit cannot be described in just a few pages. This book also isn’t meant to give a full detailed description of everything. But I do hope that this book will be used by the Holy Spirit, to give you enough to set you thinking, to make you hungry for more and to make you eager to search for it.

Do I like to be confronted with my sins? Do I like to deal with my sins? Absolutely not. No one does. Once we are convinced of sins, it is always painful and shameful. But I know Him. I know my Friend, the Holy Spirit. And I know what His intensions are! He doesn’t want me to be hurt or to be ashamed. He doesn’t want to rub it in. What He wants is to save me, to heal me, to deliver me and to restore me in full. Whom have I but this wonderful God, Who’s intensions are always to give me the best? Whom have I but this wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave His life for me? Whom have I but this wonderful Father, Who runs to me, longing to hold me in His arms, to welcome me and to lift up my head? Seriously, who else do we know who has the same intensions?

And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
John 16:8-11

The Word specifically says here that He has come to “expose” our sins, to expose righteousness and to expose justice. In other words, He has come to reveal all these thing to us, to shine His Light on it. The picture I have in mind while reading this, is that the enemy tries to put a veil on all these things, while the Holy Spirit removes the veils by His presence, so that we can see clearly. When that happens all becomes painfully clear. Why does He do that? Because at that moment, when all is clear, we have the ability and the choice to do the right thing. Everything is in the Light then and nothing is hidden anymore. To what aim is He doing that? 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

First of all, He wants us to confess our sins, for when we do, He can forgive us and cleanse us. That is His aim. Once we are forgiven and cleansed, restoration can begin. It is no guaranty that all of this is without pain or shame. Sometimes we have to go through that. But knowing Him, we also know what His aim is and the destination of this process: full restoration. 

How does this work? When we commit a sin or have commit a sin, the Holy Spirit will act as our voice of conscience. At that moment, you know what you did wrong. He will remind you of what you did and He will put it in the Light of God. He will encourage you and insist that you repent from it and confess your sins. If you don’t, He will try in all sorts of ways to bring you back to senses. But He will never accuse you. That is not Who He is. The way He tries to bring you back is by convincing and by showing the sin in the Light of God. 

Even now, while you are reading this, the Holy Spirit can convince you of sins in your life. But the message is clear. Today He tells you: “I don’t want to hold your sins against you. I have to, because I am just. But if you confess your sins, I don’t have to anymore.” Once the sin is confessed and we have repented, it is gone. Every voice that reminds you or accuses you after that is the voice of our enemy, the devil. 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:26

When we read about the work of the Holy Spirit, to convince us of sin and to expose sin, then He may sound like a policeman, looking over our shoulders. But that is not the kind of Person He is for us. When Jesus introduced Him, He introduced Him as our Helper. He is a Friend to us, a Companion. He is the One Who teaches us all we need to know and Who will remind us about the Words of Jesus, whenever we need it. He will bring those Words back in our memory when we find ourselves in circumstances where the Words need to be applied. All with the aim to have a close and intimate relationship with us and to bring our relationship with God to the highest possible levels. 

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

While any other relationship on this earth can never come closer than our skin, this is the only form of relationship that goes much further. Not only is the Holy Spirit with us, He also dwells in us. No one is ever able to come as close as that. No one can be more ‘with you’ then that. When God said that He will never leave our side, He meant exactly that. He is more involved in our lives then we can ever imagine. The God Who created the heavens and the earth, Who created mankind, Who breathed His life into man, is living and dwelling in you. 

For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
1 Corinthians 2:10-12

This shows us two things. First of all, there is no one who is able to know the things of God, except the Holy Spirit. Secondly, there is no one who is able to know all things about ourselves, except our own spirit. But this also shows that the Holy Spirit can know all things about us as well, since He is dwelling in us. The Holy Spirit will help us to understand God, but He will also help us to understand the parts we don’t understand about ourselves. With each and every revelation He gives, a lot starts to make sense. Not everything always makes sense, but we know for sure that when we keep following Him, one day it will.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
John 16:13

It is interesting to see the Holy Spirit being identified as the Spirit of truth. We know that Jesus Christ identified Himself as the Truth, so we can conclude that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Now that is a Royal Visitor living and dwelling in us! The beautiful thing is that His power is in us because His Spirit is in us. His salvation dwells in us because the Savior dwells in us. His healing dwells in us because the Healer dwells in us. His deliverance dwells in us because the Deliverer dwells in us. His restoration dwells in us because the Restorer dwells in us. Wow! That is unlimited power and unlimited resources. And all is available to us, through Jesus Christ and through His Holy Spirit! It is not something far and distant, it is as close as nothing else can come. Salvation, healing, deliverance and restoration are not far away. All is within reach, because of Him. He makes it available to us. 

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Jesus clearly defined what we can do without Him: nothing. Well, you can do a lot, but you can’t do anything that has any eternal or divine value. And that means that all we do without Him, will fade away as soon as we leave time for eternity. We know that the aim of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into salvation, healing, deliverance and restoration. The way He does that is also described in John 16. He does that by ‘leading us into all truth’, or as the verse can also be translated, ‘in every truth’. I don’t know if you notice it, but this tells us that God is not withholding any truth from us, if we decide to follow His lead. 
The Holy Spirit, our Friend, is also our ‘connection’ with heaven. Many people wonder what happens in heaven and what is being said about us there. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent. That may be difficult to grasp, but He is present in heaven, present on earth and lives in us at the same time. He listens to what is spoken in heaven and He tells us about it. Whenever the Father or Jesus has something to say to us, the Holy Spirit speaks it. In this way we are always connected. And when we need warning or a heads up, He gives the message to us. Unlimited resources. 

As in everything in life, we must learn. Learn to follow the Holy Spirit, to follow His lead and to know when He moves and speaks. This is a process as well. I have heard so many great things and big things. Huge events and moves of the Holy Spirit. And yes, He does that sometimes. But all too often we forget that most of the time, He is like the silent whisper, like a small breeze that can barely be heard. The sort of breeze that you almost dismiss as being nothing special. It always touches me to read the story of Isaiah, a great man of God and a prophet. A man that was supposed to be able to hear His voice. When he fled for Jezebel, he did something we all do so often. He hid. There he was, all alone. Left by everyone and in isolation. Afraid for his life. And then our mighty God spoke to him.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire…
1 Kings 19:11-12a

These are all the signs that would make us so enthusiastic nowadays and are so often being mistaken by relationship with the Holy Spirit. For the immature those are the signs everyone is waiting for and they run with it. Notice that He passed by, so it was God and not anything else. He was near. He was the One causing all these events to happen. And still Isaiah didn’t move an inch. He was not impressed by all the great things that happened. What he wanted was intimacy. It was what he needed the most in his situation. He needed a Word from God, because he knew that His Word would contain power and the solution to his problem. So he waited. And that is something we don’t see very much either in these days. Still it is one of the most essential parts of the Christian life. And then something happened that touches me so deeply. When all the great things have passed, all that remains is a ‘thin voice of stillness’ (1 Kings 19:12b). A voice that could barely be heard and easily dismissed as nothing special or unimportant. But being the mature spiritual man he was, Isaiah recognized His Master. It was only at that moment that he knew that the Master arrived. 

So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.
1 Kings 19:13

The great things and the big events happen, but they will fade away. But that voice of stillness, that precious thin voice of our Master, that voice stays, although it often can barely be heard. But the most important reason for not hearing His voice is mainly because our attention can so easily be drawn away by the big events, that we forget to pay attention to the part of intimacy that He wants to have with us. 

The Holy Spirit is the only spirit in the universe that you can’t use, manipulate, intimidate or control. He does what He wants, when He wants it and how He wants it. When we follow His lead, He will guide us through every situation. He truly is our Helper and His aim is always to carry out the great master plan of God in our lives. There is a lot to say about this precious Spirit of Jesus, but I guess the best and most valuable advice I can give you about Him is to learn to become sensitive for that voice of stillness. There are moments when all the noise fades away and where all that remains is that voice. We can only ask Him for His grace to help us to become sensitive and to help us to have a teachable spirit and an open heart for when He speaks from His heart to ours.

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