As a reminder: Starting this month, in addition to our regular Sunday sermons, we’re going to be featuring an online church service that you can watch live at 10 or 11 a.m. (Central Time) or on-demand throughout the week at this link: http://live.eastview.church.
Also, if you need prayer or someone to talk to, you can chat live with our online hosts between 9 and noon on Sunday mornings at the same link. Join us today for some rich worship, biblical teaching, and an online chat!
Why The Holy Spirit Does Not Give Into Our Whims, but Helps to Bring Out God’s Best in Us and Teaches Us to Love What is Difficult
by Paul Fritz
People need people. Laurie was about three when one night she requested my aid in getting undressed. I was downstairs and she was upstairs, and … well. “You know how to undress yourself,” I reminded. “Yes,” she explained, ’but sometimes people need people anyway, even if they do know how to do things by themselves.”
-William C. Schultz, Bits & Pieces, December 1990.
1. The Holy Spirit wisely chooses to not give in to our selfish whims because He knows what is best. Paul wrote, “God works all things together for good for those who love God and those who are called according to His purposes.” (Rom. 8:28) The Spirit of God works to conform us more to the thinking, behavior and character qualities that are found in Christ Jesus. Ask the Lord to help you surrender more of the control of your desires to the leading of the Spirit.
2. The Holy Spirit listens to our cries, but selectively responds to the prayers that are in conformity with the will of God for our lives. The Spirit acts as our advocate to the Father, but acts only according to the will of God. The Spirit has a way of filtering out requests that are not in agreement with scriptural truth. Paul wrote, “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Rom. 8:27) Ask the Lord to help you pray more in line with all of the scriptural passages, promises, and principles.
3. The Holy Spirit makes us competent to do whatever God calls us to accomplish. Paul wrote, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant.” (2 Cor. 3:5,6) Thank the Lord for all the ways He has made you competent to perform every aspect of His will of your life.
4. The Holy Spirit filters out some of our requests that are not in the perfect will of God. Paul wrote, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Rom. 8:26) Ask the Lord to help monitor your requests so that the Lord answers only the prayers that are in line with 100% of the perfect will of God.
5. The Holy Spirit has a way of amplifying the requests that will facilitate our maturity in Christ. Paul wrote, “The Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Rom. 8:26) The Spirit continues to remind us of the prayers that will best help bring us to higher levels of personal, spiritual and ministry maturity. Ask the Lord to help you record your prayers and answers to prayers enabling you to see where God is blessing.
6. The Holy Spirit is hindered from helping to answer the prayers of those who are habitually living with secret sins. David wrote, “If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psa. 66:18) Ask the Lord to help you uncover any secret sins so that you can confess and forsake them.
7. The Holy Spirit is more concerned about obedience and trust than in giving us what we desire. John wrote, “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” (I John 3:24) Whenever you are not seeing answers to prayer, it may be necessary to evaluate how obedient and trusting you are in the Lord. Ask the Lord to show you if there is any false way in your heart so that you can become all that the Lord wants you to be.
8. The Holy Spirit cautions us against hardening our hearts to the Lord in any way. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “So, as the Holy Spirit says, ’Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. (Heb. 3:7; Psa. 95:7-11; Ex. 17:7) Ask the Lord to help you be more tender hearted to the Lord’s correction and rebukes.
9. The Holy Spirit wants us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Paul wrote, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Eph. 6:18) Ask the Lord to help you pray in harmony with the Spirit’s mind, will and emotions with everyone of your prayers and requests.
10. The Holy Spirit does not want anyone to hear God without really listening and responding to Him. Paul said, “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: ’Go to this people and say, ’You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (Acts 28:25-27) Ask the Lord to help you avoid any tendency to be insensitive to God’s word, His voice or His counselors.
11. The Holy Spirit wants us to realize that many of our desires are contrary to God’s will. Paul wrote, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (Gal 5:16,17) Ask the Lord for help in conforming more of your will to the Father’s will.
There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. -Clare Boothe Luce.