We recently finished our series on five scriptural tools to maturity: praise, prayer, fellowship, outreach and receiving teaching to cultivate the results of biblically-based wellbeing in our lives. We discussed four of these results: forgiveness, hope, empathy and gratitude. An important verse with additional results of biblical living is Galatians 5:22-23 which denotes the ‘fruit of the Spirit’: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What role does the Holy Spirit play?
This is an important issue to understand how the Spirit works in conjunction with the tools to maturity to produce good results in our lives. Consider that the five tools represent the motor for maturity. The Spirit acts as the gasoline, enriching us with power to drive the engine. Both must be present and work in conjunction to each other to create movement.
The Spirit is often misunderstood and Christians are often unclear how it works in their lives in a biblically-based way. We can summarize the Christian’s relationship to the Spirit in three basic ways:
- Non-variable actions of the Spirit: These include: convicting the world of sin (John 16:9), regeneration to life of new believers (Titus 3:5), indwelling believers from the time of salvation onwards (Ephesians 1:13-14) and praying for believers (Romans 8:26).
- Variable actions of Christians: As believers we can influence our relationship with the Spirit and so we are told not to quench or grieve the Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19 and Ephesians 4:30, respectively) but to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and be filled (mature) in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
- Variable actions of the Spirit: If the Christian, being indwelt by the Spirit, allows Him to act then the will teach us (I John 2:20,27; John 16:13), put to death the deeds of the flesh, lead us based on the word of God, comfort us that we are His sons and daughters (Romans 8:13-16) and act to empower our lives through the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
It is impossible to overestimate importance of the Spirit in our lives. He has given us new life through our faith in Christ and lives in us permanently, making available the full power of God for us based on his Word to mature us providing the fruit of the Spirit and the enhanced wellbeing of our lives. Indeed it is the Spirit that fuels the engine of our growth as an obedient Christian to God’s Word.