God speaks: I will help you.
Perhaps with the New Year still young, you can relate to one of these thoughts:
You've made the decision to get sober -- way to go! But it ain't easy...
You are really challenged by the notion of growing in self control--
you lack self discipline and want to exercise the little you have
to exercise the rest of what you have...like, your body.
You have realized you waste too much time with mindless things and wish
to commit to growing your mind by challenging it with good thinking...
Perhaps you have made the all-important, life-altering decision to start each day with God: meeting and talking with him, grabbing ahold of his wisdom, etc....
Then again, perhaps you have several fires burning that threaten to consume you.
Where to get strength? And as for your new commitments--what will make this time different? Is it just your own grit? Nope. I've got good news! Now stay with me here...
In the month of December, we saw the various ways God spoke to people about the birth of Jesus--through prophecy, dreams, angels, even circumstances. And then of course, we know that Jesus himself spoke about the future, https://conta.cc/3jyorXU
; he told his disciples he will come again to take them to be with him. More good news for us, Friends. But Jesus promised something else; and though the disciples were comforted that Jesus would come back again, this other promise would change everything for them. And for us too.
Come with me back to the first century, back to the ancient dusty streets of Jerusalem teeming with people who had come to celebrate Passover...up the narrow stairway to what we call the Upper Room. (pictured above) After three years of life with Jesus, this would be a night the disciples would recall and remember the details for the rest of their lives.
John chap. 14 captures the tenor of that dinner and Jesus' impactful words -- I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.1
Friends, if you have given your life to Jesus, this same Holy Spirit Jesus spoke of is in you and strengthens you.
Wait, can you explain how this happened? How did we go from the Upper Room with Jesus present to a time when Jesus was not there, but the Holy Spirit was??
Indeed. So Jesus told his disciples he would be leaving them, but he would not leave them alone: the Father would send another who would not just be with them, but IN them. Hours after this incredible conversation, Jesus walked across the Kidron Valley, the disciples in tow, to their familiar garden - Gethsemane. Jesus would be arrested, drug back across that same valley and hours later, nailed to the cross where he would die.
Stay with me here--As Jesus had said he would, he rose again on the third day. Forty more days in which Jesus saw his disciples and his family; he ate with them and loved them, even addressed a group of more than 500 people.2 And then, just before he went up into the clouds as they watched, he told them, ‘Go to Jerusalem … wait, watch, pray. And Friends, stay together.’3 Note: Jesus gave his loved ones clear instruction: they were to stay together and pray together in community, awaiting the promised Holy Spirit.
Ten days later, the Holy Spirit came; He could be heard, seen and felt,4 and life for Christ followers was forever changed. As Jesus had promised, believers would know and experience spiritual power through him—the sweet Holy Spirit.
So that is how it happened.
Now back to you.
---When you devote yourself to Jesus, that same Holy Spirit is in you. Before he ascended into Heaven to be at the right hand of the Father again, Jesus said, You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you...5 The Holy Spirit strengthens you with divine power.
So you do not have to commit to sobriety or better eating habits on your own. Good news: God sent you the Holy Spirit to help you! Even Alcoholics Anonymous knows that choosing the freedom of sobriety requires a 'higher power' for success. You have a higher power and please use his name, Jesus; the Holy Spirit within you connects you to his unequalled power.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit - our triune God. But, the only agent of God on the earth today is the Holy Spirit.6,7
A prayer you might pray: Heavenly Father, I prayer that you would strengthen me through the power of the Holy Spirit you have given me. I want my life to honor you - through my trust in you and devotion to you. Strengthen and empower me to make wise decisions in what I think about, what I say, and what I do. Give me the strength to do far more than I could ever do without you. I ask this in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.
You are not alone.
1 - John 14.16-17, NASB
2 - 1 Corinthians 15.6
3 - Acts 1.4
5 - Acts 1.8a
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