“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2)
God Himself is both the standard for the Christian life and the provision for reaching that standard. Our responsibility to connect with that provision is faith, with its two parts – yield and trust. When we yield and trust what can we expect as a result? Here again, sadly, we’re tempted to go to one extreme or the other, either expecting too little of our lives in the Spirit or having unbiblically high expectations.
Today let us consider some of the basic truths about our responsibility and God’s provision for Christian living. One of the first steps toward living transformed is to understand God’s provision. Then we must move from understanding to obeying. Failure to respond obediently to the Holy Spirit damages our relationship with Him because disobedience distorts our belief system. Our beliefs ought to determine our behavior, but unfortunately, the opposite is often the case. Unless we become people who live very purposefully, we will follow the pattern below.
- We experience temptation.
- Rather than examine our value system and choose right, we give in to temptation.
- We feel guilty because we have violated our value system.
- So we twist our beliefs and values to relieve our guilt.
When we live in disobedience, we automatically twist our understanding to rationalize our behavior. Thus, we blind ourselves to an accurate understanding of the Spirit and of the Christian life. Examine how this occurs in your life. In what situation have you twisted your values and beliefs to keep from being wrong and relieving your guilt? Now, challenge yourself often at the point of obedience. Make the decision to trust and yield yourself to God. Carry out that decision by committing each area of your life to Him. Have you linked up with the Spirit by yielding to His will and trusting in His power? The trust will grow, but the yield part you can settle right now. Tell Him you’re not able on your own to live life as He intended but that you want to live a life of obedience. Commit yourself to God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Spirit. Ask Him to make you into Christ’s likeness. Don’t write conditional clauses in the contract, just respond to the Spirit with a simple, straightforward, complete, “Yes!” Perhaps you have already yielded completely to the Spirit of God. This would be a good time to reaffirm that and ask Him to increase your faith and spiral you up into ever greater likeness to the Son. Thank Him, too, for the intimate companionship He offers.
When we make the big turnaround, yielding to God’s will and trusting Him to work, the Holy Spirit begins to change us. We become more like Jesus in our attitudes, in our view of things, in our goals and ambitions, in our responses and behavior. Consequently, we get closer and closer to Him in daily companionship (2 Corinthians 3 :18). The more we know Him, the more we love Him; the more we love Him, the more we want to be with Him; the more we’re with Him the more we want to be like Him; the more we change to be like Him, the better we know Him, the more we love Him – the spiral continues toward likeness to Christ and a greater love relationship with God.
The ultimate goal God has in mind for you isn’t merely a change in character to resemble Jesus. God intends for you to be like Jesus in another way, in your intimate love relationship with the Father. That’s not only the grand climax of your existence as a redeemed human being, but this is also what it means to be best friends here and now, and to experience that intimacy.