A Date With The Holy Spirit
Do you want someone around when you sin? Almost never, right?!
It’s almost as if our conscience finds a megaphone when it knows someone is there to witness what we are doing wrong. We don’t want our conscience to hurt so much. “Calm down,” we may tell ourselves. “No one will see me. No one will come in. No one knows about the thoughts I have. I can hide it.” But the conscience knows better.
You may hide them from some people for a little while, but can you really hide your sin from everyone?
Whether you want him around or not, the Holy Spirit knows your mind and its desires. Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” David sang those words with wonder. But do they frighten you?
It may seem like a good strategy, then, to always remember that the Holy Spirit is present with us. We can attempt to scare ourselves away from sin. You may have even heard someone comment about a frisky couple, “I hope they leave room for the Holy Spirit!” If we remind ourselves that God is always watching us, then we can avoid sin.
Those thoughts are certainly a good curb to sin, but is it the best overall strategy in our approach to sin?
If the Holy Spirit is with you on your date, or while you are alone, or in any moment of the day, how does that make you feel? Scared? Nervous? Guilty? Ashamed? Powerless? If so, that’s a work of the Holy Spirit and he’s good at it. Very good at it.
John 16:8 “(The Holy Spirit) will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin.”
Whether the Holy Spirit grabs a line of the law in the Bible or uses the divine law written in the hearts of every human being since Adam and Eve, his work is decisive. We stand alone. Convicted. Ashamed. Scared. We have offended God. That knowledge may certainly help us to avoid some sins some of the time, but it will never give us hope and positive desires.
The best work of the law only prepares us for the best work of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 6:11, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
The Holy Spirit’s work does not end with a soul crushing conviction. We find our hearts naturally tugging toward the rules as if they could relieve us. Do this. Don’t do that. Follow this. Go there. The list is a tempting source of hope! The plan is all laid out, step by step. If I only do this and this and this, then I will successfully escape.
Nope. As tempting as it may be, the list is always out of reach. Like reaching for apples high in the branches of a tall tree. So close, but so far!
Our hope lies in another tree . . . a tree as preposterous and ugly as one placed on Golgotha. And the Holy Spirit is eager to fill you with the fruit of that salvation. Fervently. silently, and passionately, he opens the Scriptures for us. With the message of Jesus, fear dissipates, shame turns to honor, and guilt hears the happy voice of an innocent man.
It is good that the Holy Spirit is here to work his miracles. The miracles continue with new desires – better desires – that the Holy Spirit creates in us. Instead of hesitance to be in the Holy Spirit’s presence, fearing his approach and being eager to push him out of mind, we want him to be with us! We want him to help us war against our sinful self. In fact, we want to keep up with the Holy Spirit in the battle for our soul!
Galatians 5:25, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
In the battle against sin, we want to travel the whole path of the Spirit’s work – from law to the gospel to its precious fruits. It’s tempting to stick with the law, but the law won’t fully help us on our eternal journey. The full and complete message of the Holy Spirit makes him pleasant company whether we are enjoying him alone or with other people.
Author: Nathan Schulte serves as a missionary in WELS missions in Latin America. He lives in Quito, Ecuador.