Ministry of the Holy Spirit: Control (part 2)

Still pondering! Our subject is the control of the Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for learning to lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance. We are told to walk by means of the Holy Spirit and not by the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). We are told to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not to lean not on our own understanding.  In all their ways we are to acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). We are to learn to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

The more time we spend in the Scriptures, the more we have the tendency to become doers of it.  The longer we trust God’s Holy Spirit to help us do what God’s word tells us to do, the more we will do it.  Said another way, the more we learn to lean on the Holy Spirit’s control, the stronger our faith becomes.

A friend once shared with me that the most terrifying thing he had ever done was fly an airplane by instruments. He spent months learning how to use them. He worked hard imagining what it would be like to depend solely on the many gauges and dials in front of him. He said the first time he actually put into practice what he had learned was a heart-wrenching life changing moment. He took off from the airport and for the first time had to fly into a cloud bank at over three hundred miles per hour. He could see nothing past the windshield of the aircraft – nothing.   

At first, he felt the overwhelming tendency to panic and revert to flying the airplane by sight. He took a deep breath, steadied himself, and focused on the instrument panel in front of him. The instruments were all he had to tell him how fast he was flying, how high he was flying, whether he was right side up or upside down, and in what direction he was going. It was extremely exhilarating as well as terrifyingly scary!

Operating by the instruments alone, he came out of the clouds, hoping that the airport was where the instruments said it was supposed to be. And there it was! He had the overwhelming desire to shout. I think he probably did. Success after success taught him that he could rely on the airplane’s capability. The airport was always there. The more he flew using this method, the more confident he became. He learned to trust that the instruments were telling him the truth.

That accurately describes how Christians learn to live by faith. Believing that God’s word is telling the truth and trusting the Holy Spirit to give us the power and the encouragement to live by it. At first taking small steps of faith, we learn to rely upon the sound teaching of God’s Word, not our own human desires or inclinations.

This works well as long as God’s Word goes along with our human desires. When we can clearly see out of the windshield. But when there is clash and life gets a little testy, when God’s Word often goes contrary to our human inclinations and tendencies, we have an overwhelming inclination to revert to flying by sight.  For instance, when God’s word tells us to serve those that we wish to lead – that goes against our human inclinations. Our success is not found through self-promoting pride and arrogance but through submission and humility. When we begin to align a ourselves with God’s word, we can see through the windshield. Then we begin to give Him honor when we can’t see. We become consciously aware of His continuing presence 24/7. And our goal is to honor God in private as well as publicly.

My pilot friend said that when flying by instruments, he could not allow himself to revert to what his human inclinations were telling him, not even for a moment. He had to train himself to depend solely on the instruments. The same is true when living by God’s Word. As we learn to walk by faith, we discover that God is always faithful to do what He says He will do. We can trust Him with our very lives.

This does not mean that we do not fail. We do! We sin because we are sinners. We are to quickly right ourselves by confessing our sin to God and putting our eyes back on the instruments (1 John 1:8-9).

As the disciples spent personal time with Jesus Christ every day, their faith grew. They walked with Him, talked with Him, and learned to put their confidence in Him. They grew to love Him. We can do the same thing today—by faith.

By faith, we can attend the wedding at Cana in Galilee, where the Christ turned the water into wine. By faith, we can sit beside Him in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, when He stilled the storm with the words “Peace, be still.”  By faith, we can observe the faces of the blind man that the Christ caused to see, the leper that He cleansed, and we can rejoice with the crippled man as he walked for the first time in his life. By faith, we can stand with Him under the sycamore tree when Jesus called old Zacchaeus.

By faith, we can be there as He cursed the fig tree and as He talked with the woman of Samaria.  By faith, we can stand with Him and sense His grief as He wept at the death of His friend, but then we can stand amazed when He called Lazarus to life. By faith, we can observe Him on the cross as He cried out, “My God, my God why have your forsaken me?” By faith, we can hear Him say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” By faith, we can stand by the two Mary’s at the mouth of His empty tomb and hear the angels say, “He is not here, for He has risen as He said He would.” By faith, we can walk with Him along the road to Emmaus after His resurrection. By faith, we can touch His resurrected body as Thomas did. By faith we can stand with Him and watch Him ascend back into heaven with His promise to return ringing in our ears. By faith, God’s airport will always be there. Stay safe and stay tuned.