The Cost of Discipleship: Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ Implies the Possibility of Suffering

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Will We Allow the Holy Spirit to Reign in Our Lives? (Nicky Cruz)

In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul wrote, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Throughout Scripture it is clear that God wants every one of his children to surrender to the reign and rulership of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Spirit’s primary purpose for living within us is to direct and guide us in all that we do.

The Holy Spirit provides absolute and detailed instructions to those who walk with him. When we walk in the Spirit, we don’t walk in confusion or doubt. His direction is clear and distinct. The early disciples of Christ understood this truth, and they allowed the Spirit to direct them in every decision, every move, every action. The Spirit talked to them and guided them in their every waking hour. No decisions were made without first consulting him. The church’s motto throughout the New Testament was, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit has to say.”

You and I have this same opportunity today. The same Spirit that guided the early believers in their walk with the Lord is living within you and me, beckoning us daily to listen, to submit, to heed his will and direction. He promises power and effectiveness beyond our wildest dreams. The only question is, will we allow him to reign?

I am always amazed at how much fun it is to move in the blessing of God. When God directs your path, it is always invigorating and seldom what you might expect. It’s never boring, never predictable, never ordinary, and always refreshing.

In the many decades I have followed God wherever he leads, I have seen him work in ways that are too awesome for words. God has displayed the power of his Spirit and his Word so many times that I have long since given up trying to second-guess him. When the Holy Spirit guides your path, the best you can do is hang on and try your best to keep up.

Hearts Captive By the Saviour’s Love

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street” (Isaiah 42:1-3).

This passage is all about Jesus. The Holy Spirit had moved upon the prophet Isaiah to bring forth a revelation of what Christ would be like when he comes and the image that comes forth from these verses is clear: Christ would not come with a loud clamor or noise. Rather, he would come as a tender, loving Savior.

We read the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Matthew 12:14 where we see the Pharisees planning to kill Jesus because he had healed a man on the Sabbath. When Jesus found out about it, he “withdrew from there.” He did not retaliate in anger or try to get revenge, although he could have summoned a legion of angels to deal with his enemies on the spot.

This tender spirit, Matthew says, reveals the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets” (Matthew 12:19). So, what did Jesus do after he quietly withdrew from Jerusalem? The Word says he immediately went outside the city and continued to heal all who crowded in on him: “Great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all” (12:15).

Jesus instructed the people, “Don’t tell anyone about the miracles you see.” Even after healing two blind men, Christ told them to keep it to themselves (Matthew 9:30). You see, Jesus did not want the people following him for his miracles. He wanted their devotion because his tender words had captured their hearts.

Jesus wanted everyone, including every future generation, to know he came into the world as a Savior: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). Today, focus on the Savior’s love and his great gift of salvation for all mankind.

David Wilkerson
(1931-2011)

Ignorant of the Power of God’s Spirit (David Wilkerson)

We can often possess something valuable without fully appreciating its worth or significance. The story is told of a farmer wo worked his small farm his entire life, tilling the rocky soil year after year. At his death, the farm was passed down to his son who continued plowing the ground — but the son found a gold-streaked nugget in the soil. The land was full of gold and he instantly became a wealthy man. Yet that wealth was lost on his father, even though it was on the land his whole life.

So it is with the Holy Spirit. Many of us live in ignorance of what we have, of the power that resides in us. Some Christians live their entire lives thinking they have the Holy Spirit, yet they have not truly received him in fullness and power. He is not accomplishing in them the eternal work he was sent to do.

Some believers seek the Holy Spirit only when they are in trouble and want him to manifest his power. They hope he will come down and sweep away their problems. But Peter says that is not the truth about the Spirit. According to him, we have the treasure within us: “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

At the Jordan River, John the Baptist told the Pharisees, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know” (John 1:26). Those religious leaders saw Jesus in the flesh, and they heard him speak, but they had no understanding of who he was. They did not know about his power and glory. Likewise, Jesus asked his own disciple, Philip, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?” (John 14:9).

How long have you testified that you have been filled with the Holy Spirit? Has he been with you many years and yet you really don’t know him? He is the One who brings us through hard times with a testimony of joyful endurance. Our greatest witness to the world is being a Christian who has cast his every burden on the Holy Spirit.

David Wilkerson
(1931-2011)