This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff Mazzariello.
Pastor Jeff Mazzariello
ENCOUNTER: Read Galatians 5:16-25 and Romans 8:12-14
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” - Rom. 8:14
At the risk of sounding like too much of a pragmatist, being LED by the Spirit is kind of the point of why God sent him. What I mean is, in the infinite wisdom of the Triune God, he planned to send the Holy Spirit, the “helper”, to indwell us after Jesus ascended from the earth. John in his Gospel explains this more fully (Chapters 14-16), but suffice it to say that once Jesus left, God sent the Spirit so that now all believers for all time would be able to walk with God at all times. It is true that this indwelling presence of God brings a myriad of benefits: We have the comfort and peace and strength of God present at all times. But, not to oversimplify it too much, I think the point of God’s plan to send the Holy Spirit is that we have the leading of God at all times...
This being the case, two questions come to mind:
1. Am I, in fact, being led by God?
If the practical reality and purpose of the Holy Spirit is that we can now walk with God and follow his leading, we must ask this question. Of course, for most of us, the answer is some version of: “Well, kinda...” Our challenge is to examine our lives and our practices and figure out how we can more readily lean into the presence and therefore the leading of God by his Holy Spirit within us. All of the historical as well as contemporary spiritual practices of the Church are aimed toward this end. Is there even one thing you could do this week to remind you to tap into the Holy Spirit’s leading?
Again, if the point of God’s sending the Spirit is that we may experience his leading, the second question that comes to mind might be even more salient for you:
2. Am I, in fact, willing to be led by God?
It is worth reflecting on whether or not the reason we don’t intimately “walk with God” is that we are fearful of what we might hear him say. It might require our stepping out in faith, or facing our fears, or making some sacrifice. Even more difficult, it might require opening our hearts to God and, for some of us, trusting someone like that is really hard to do. But, as I say, it is worth reflecting on because the cost of missing out on being led by God is that we are missing out on the whole point of our faith.
BE A BLESSING:
This soul-searching is challenging and complex. But at the same time that we are working all that out, we are privileged to simply be called to live our faith by loving and blessing people. I have a suggestion: Let’s move forward in engaging the questions above by asking the Holy Spirit, right now, to lead you to an act of love and service that he has ordained for you in these next few days. Write yourself a post-it or electronic notification to remind you a few times a day to invite the Holy Spirit’s guidance on how you might be able to be a blessing to someone around you. It will be an exciting adventure, I’m sure, as God loves to answer that prayer!
In addition, find one other friend who has a relationship with God and ask them how they have heard God’s voice through the Holy Spirit within them. You will be surprised and encouraged how much you can learn about your walk with God by how God is leading others. It can tune you in to ways God speaks to his people that you might not otherwise have noticed. And share with them what you are learning about this journey of hearing God. Your story might be just the thing that they need to hear to help them on their walk.