Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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RELEASE — empowered to rise
Terry R. Baughman
“If the Spirit is the source of our life, we must also allow the Spirit to direct every aspect of our lives” (Galatians 5:25 TPT).
Many books and training programs are designed to help people improve their lives. Most are built on motivational techniques, developing self-discipline, or holding ourselves accountable to someone else. An exhaustive self-help genre has emerged to categorize these materials. Podcasts and programs exist to coach individuals to become the person they desire to become.
In some ways church attendance and religious materials may be viewed in much the same way as the self-help genre. However, the major distinction is that for the believer it is less about self-help and more about God-help! There are similarities: Preaching and teaching can qualify as motivational. The gifts of the Spirit equip us for self-control which may be seen as the same as self-discipline. Choosing accountability partners is encouraged to overcome sin and resist temptation. In these and other tools there are practices for improving our Christian living.
Spiritual preparation is different than natural training techniques. It is, well, spiritual! Though the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and Bible reading are certainly aides for Spiritual preparation, some qualities only develop by spending time in God’s presence and learning the grace and practice of a Spirit-led life.
How do we spend time in His presence? Certainly, we can be drawn into a spiritual place when we attend services, listen to worship music, or find ourselves engrossed in the Word of God. Seeking those special times can be rewarding experiences and help develop more sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit.
Other times come in unexpected moments. Driving toward a sunset or walking in a park can usher you into a spiritual oasis. Just the right song, a recorded testimony, or a statement in passing can suddenly speak to your spirit in such a way as to awaken something deep inside.
As we experience God’s Spirit in everyday life and in spiritual worship we are developing an ear to receive God’s instruction. Numerous times in Scripture we are challenged, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7 and more, NIV). One of the prophets identified His Spirit manifested as a “still small voice” or a “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12 NKJ and NIV). Whether God speaks in quiet tones and gentle nudges or in bright lights and bold voices, we may receive insight and the direction of the Spirit.
The first step to a Spirit-led life is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus has promised His Spirit to every believer, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8 NKJ). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a guide for life. Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13 NKJ). Revelation of His Word and the fulness of truth comes as we embrace the Holy Spirit in our lives.
As we prepare for the year ahead and the special calling God has designed for our lives let us prepare ourselves in the Spirit to answer the call. Regardless of our growth and experiences we will never outgrow our dependence on the Holy Spirit. He leads and guides into marvelous paths of further experiences. He knows the future and He knows our abilities. Prepare for the unknown as we make Him known!
“Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).