Christians are persons who no longer seek their salvation, their deliverance, their justification in themselves, but in Jesus Christ alone. They know that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them guilty, even when they feel nothing of their own guilt, and that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them free and righteous even when they feel nothing of their own righteousness…
Because they daily hunger and thirst for righteousness, they long for the redeeming Word again and again. It can only come from the outside. In themselves they are destitute and dead. Help must come from the outside; and it has come and comes daily and anew in the Word of Jesus Christ, bringing us redemption, righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. But God put this Word into the mouth of human beings so that it may be passed on to others. When people are deeply affected by the Word, they tell it to other people. God has willed that we should seek and find God’s living Word in the testimony of other Christians, in the mouths of human beings. Therefore, Christians need other Christians who speak God’s Word to them. They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened.
Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7
Questions to Ponder
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
Think of someone you would like to be a spiritual friend with and ask God to help you build a mutually supportive spiritual relationship with him or her.
Prayer for Today
O Holy Spirit, send the people I need to bring me the word of God, and send the people I need to speak the word of God to.
The Holy Spirit Is Our Refiner
When the Spirit came upon the 120 disciples in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost, He was manifested in primarily two ways: (1) the sound of a rushing wind and (2) flames of fire that miraculously appeared on each person’s head. We do not know the exact nature of this fire; it obviously was not physical fire or it would have burned everyone’s hair! It was most likely the visual manifestation of the Spirit’s presence. But most assuredly this fire also represents to us the holiness of God.
Are you willing to allow God to purify you, even in hidden areas? Suppose you have lived in the same house for 24 years and you decide to move. The process of packing and cleaning that house is never easy. Imagine what you will see if you pull your refrigerator out from the wall to put it on the moving van.
It has been in the same corner of the kitchen for a long time. No one has ever swept under it. The tile would be filthy. The floor might be caked with layers of grime, dust, stray nutshells, specks of rotted food, lost hair bands, dog hair, and unidentified stains that have been there for more than two decades. Yuck! This would require some special cleaning to get your house ready for a new owner.
It is a scary thought, but you may have areas such as this in your own life. Sometimes we hide our secret sins in private compartments. We know how to mask our ugliest attitudes. But when the Spirit comes in power, He comes to scour us of our grit and grime.
He moves the furniture around in our lives in order to cleanse us of resentment, anger, shame, addictive behavior, and so many other things that can create distance between us and God. I encourage you to open your heart to the Spirit’s fire.
The Holy Spirit Is Our Comforter
Before Jesus went to the cross, He spent a lot of time with His disciples and opened His heart to share many things with them. During His last crucial hours with His closest followers—whom He called “friends”—He talked a lot about the Holy Spirit. He wanted His disciples to know they would not be alone even though He was leaving them.
Jesus told them in John 14:16–18: 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. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
After Jesus was raised from the dead, when His dejected disciples were huddled inside a house with the doors shut, Jesus appeared to them. After He showed them His pierced hands and the wound in His side, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).
We often think the Spirit was first given on the Day of Pentecost, but that experience was the disciples’ second encounter with the Spirit. Their first introduction occurred Sunday evening of the Resurrection. The Helper had come, just as Jesus had promised!
We have been given an amazing gift. When the Spirit came to dwell in you, He brought the eternal life of God. He gives you the very breath of heaven. He infuses you with God’s presence. And more than that, He sets up eternal residence in you so you will never feel alone. Christians can literally sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in themselves, and as we grow in our faith we learn to hear His comforting voice.
I have learned to especially appreciate the presence of the Helper when I go through difficult times of trial, discouragement, or struggle. The Spirit sustains me with supernatural strength and hope. When I experience grief, the Spirit cheers me; when I am mistreated or persecuted, He gives me miraculous grace to endure; when I am accused or misunderstood, He fights my battle for me; when I make a mistake and want to kick myself, He lifts my head and mixes gentle correction with encouragement; when I am in despair, He reminds me of God’s promises. He wants to do the same for you.