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 Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit

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Yes, very much! It made me think about some things that I need to change.
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Molly
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PostSubject: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:56 pm

Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit

The author of this chapter starts out by telling us about his daughter. She tells her dad that the only way she'll play soccer is if he becomes the coach of her team. He didn't know anything about soccer. He had grown up playing football, basketball, and baseball - not soccer. Because of his daughter's wishes though, he decides to coach the team.

After the first practice, a father of one of the girls on the team pulls the coach aside and says, "You've never done this before, have you?"

He responds, "You could tell?"

And the father laughed. The coach decided to make this guy his assistant coach. He guided the coach, told him what to do, and taught him a lot. In the end, it all paid off - the team had a successful year.

The author says that when he thinks of the Holy Spirit, he thinks of his assistant coach - not because he was perfect, but because he guided him. He prompted him. He influenced him to do things that he would never have done on his own.

And it's the same with the Holy Spirit. If we have a relationship with God, the Holy Spirit is there in our hearts - guiding us, leading us, prompting us, and convicting us of our sin. We're supposed to listen to His promptings and follow His lead.

So, who is the Holy Spirit? The Bible gives us a few descriptions, which I'll quote from the book:
-He is like wind blowing among us, acting powerfully, even though He is unseen [John 3:8].
-He is like fire in His power and brilliance [Acts 2:1-4].
-He gushes up from within a believer like a spring of water [John 7:37-39], giving life and refreshment.
-He is pure and sacred, making us holy temples where He dwells [1 Corinthians 3:16].

The Bible describes the Holy Spirit as being like wind, water, and fire - all of which are powerful, uncontrollable, and beautiful.

But there are two forces at work within you. As a child and follower of God, there will be a constant struggle within you: the struggle between your sinful nature and the Holy Spirit.

"So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.
"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives."
-Galatians 5:16-25 [NLT]

What a powerful portion of Scripture! There is a constant battle between your flesh [and your old sinful nature] and the Holy Spirit [and the things of God], as described here.

The Holy Spirit lives within each and every one of us who have put our faith in Jesus. He changes our character, produces fruit within our lives, and gives us new strength when we rely on him. As the book says, "He's an amazing presence that most Christians don't understand and a power that most don't rely on."

When you allow the Holy Spirit's power to influence your life, you will surrender your heart to him and his leading. Dreams will be born within your heart and goals will be made. A Spirit-filled follower of Jesus becomes an impacting, amazing part of the body of Christ.

These two forces [verse 17] - There are two different forces at work within every person who has put their faith in Jesus. It is a spiritual battle between your old, sinful nature and the Holy Spirit. And as long as we're living life for God, we are going to be constantly facing these difficult battles. In Romans 7:15, Paul admits, "I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate." Don't be discouraged by your struggles and the struggles of those around you. Instead, be encouraged because as the book says, "The conflict between our competing desires can often be displaced, and compromise becomes deeply rooted in the place of conflict. Complacent Christians no longer face conflict because they simply give in." Don't be like that. Don't become a complacent Christian. Instead, face the battle. All of us who have put our faith in Jesus will have this constant battle within our hearts between these two forces.

Passions and desires [verse 24] - Galatians 5:16-25 is a challenging passage. We can't just choose to live a perfect life. Yes, our sinful nature is at work within us, but so is the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit's strength, guidance, promptings, and lead, we can defeat our old nature's sinful passions and desires. Victory is ours when we have the power of the Holy Spirit!

MAKING A DIFFERENCE:
Think about and respond to the following questions:

-When you consider your life, do you face the kind of conflict described in Galatians 5:16-25? If so, what is your conflict like? If not, why do you think you're not experiencing the tension between the two forces?

-What's one area, positive or negative, from Galatians 5:16-25 that you can focus on during the coming week? What practical changes can you make in that area?

"Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope."
-Ephesians 3:20 [NLT]

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-Proverbs 4:25-26
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Emily

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:45 pm

-When you consider your life, do you face the kind of conflict described in Galatians 5:16-25? If so, what is your conflict like? If not, why do you think you're not experiencing the tension between the two forces? I would have to say I do face a little bit of idolatry in not always keeping God first and letting other things become first in my life. One thing is TV or doing anything to skip my devotions. Which I'm working out of those habits.

-What's one area, positive or negative, from Galatians 5:16-25 that you can focus on during the coming week? What practical changes can you make in that area? I can focus on idolatry for the negative and make changes like putting God first more often, and eventually always. I can focus on joy this week and being content.

I just want to add that I'm glad you're doing this Molly! Can't wait for the next one!
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:57 pm

I have to agree with you Emily, with your first answer. Just substituting internet in for tv, and thats me too. Sometimes I have to force myself to read devotionals and spend time with God. But mostly I just forget, or procrastinate it. Sad I've been trying to get better with that though.

As for the second question...Negative:
I'd have to say... impure thoughts. I'm constantly battling bad thoughts. If you know me, and my character and the way that I am, or at least appear to be, you might be a little surprised. But its true. I really struggle with all sorts of thoughts. I don't actually follow through with them, and no one but God would ever know ['cept for now that I told you], but its something I consider very hard to deal with. I'm not sure if I can actually do anything else, besides just pushing the thought out of my mind though...I know that the thoughts come from the enemy, because on my own, I'd never be thinking such things. And luckily, I have quite a bit of self-control. But yeahhhh...Any thoughts anyone? Or has anyone had this problem and found a solution? Or any other Bible verses?

Positive:
Well, this week is the rough week for me. So I know I'll definitely need more kindness, gentleness and peace. lol! But yeah. As for the actions I take...God told me that I should pray for these things, in the morning, when I wake up. Pray that He would grant me more of it, and then just thank Him for doing it already. It worked this morning. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:13 pm

I love growing to be like jesus Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation I I love you him so much.I I love you you guys Exclamation Exclamation
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:18 pm

I have to agree with you too Karah!! I forgot to mention internet as an idol for me! I spend a LOT of time on the internet...
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:35 pm

Karah wrote:
I have to agree with you Emily, with your first answer. Just substituting internet in for tv, and thats me too. Sometimes I have to force myself to read devotionals and spend time with God. But mostly I just forget, or procrastinate it. Sad I've been trying to get better with that though.

As for the second question...Negative:
I'd have to say... impure thoughts. I'm constantly battling bad thoughts. If you know me, and my character and the way that I am, or at least appear to be, you might be a little surprised. But its true. I really struggle with all sorts of thoughts. I don't actually follow through with them, and no one but God would ever know ['cept for now that I told you], but its something I consider very hard to deal with. I'm not sure if I can actually do anything else, besides just pushing the thought out of my mind though...I know that the thoughts come from the enemy, because on my own, I'd never be thinking such things. And luckily, I have quite a bit of self-control. But yeahhhh...Any thoughts anyone? Or has anyone had this problem and found a solution? Or any other Bible verses?

Positive:
Well, this week is the rough week for me. So I know I'll definitely need more kindness, gentleness and peace. lol! But yeah. As for the actions I take...God told me that I should pray for these things, in the morning, when I wake up. Pray that He would grant me more of it, and then just thank Him for doing it already. It worked this morning. Smile

Karah, I know what you mean! I have struggled with it too, and I still do sometimes. And like you, if people knew that about me, I'm sure they'd be surprised too. A verse that came to my mind when I was reading what you wrote is 2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." When a thought comes to our minds that we know is not of God, we need to quickly take it captive and bring it before Jesus so that He can take it away. Also the internet, TV, books, music, media, magazines, and the people you hang out with and are around a lot have a lot to do with it. If you are constantly being fed impure things, you're going to think impure thoughts and eventually, if you don't take those thoughts before Christ, they're going to show in your life and you'll end up doing impure things.

So there's my advice. Just some things that came to me when I read what you wrote and as I was writing my reply. Because like I said, I have [and still do at times] struggled with that too.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:06 pm

-When you consider your life, do you face the kind of conflict described in Galatians 5:16-25? If so, what is your conflict like? If not, why do you think you're not experiencing the tension between the two forces?

Yes, there's a constant battle within me between the forces of this world and the Holy Spirit. I feel it all the time in choices that I have to make everyday. Every morning I have to decide: am I going to live this day for God or for myself? Sometimes this battle within me is so strong that I have to stop what I am doing and just go before God and talk with Him so that I can get strength.

-What's one area, positive or negative, from Galatians 5:16-25 that you can focus on during the coming week? What practical changes can you make in that area?

Two huge ones for me are jealousy and envy... I can start to take care of those by learning to be content with who God made me to be. I need to realize that God made me unique from everyone else to carry out His purposes - and that no one else can do what God has specifically designed me to do in the same way. Also, whenever I face the battle of envy in my day, I need to take those thoughts captive [2 Corinthians 10:5] and come before God and let Him remind me that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" [Psalm 139:14].

Also, another big one for me is idolatry. I put so many other things and people before God and my relationship with Him. I've been trying to take steps to put God first in my heart and life, but it's definitely a battle when you live in a world where it's all about living for yourself and your desires. But I know that every right choice I make in this area is one step closer to victory.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:53 am

So many people struggle with Internet and TV addictions, including myself. It is a hard habit to break. Maybe we should have an Internet "fast" together for a week. Man that would be hard... but I did kinda do it all summer when I had a summer job and no time for anything else. So maybe a week would kinda get us on a good track, and we'd have the moral support, you know? Smile whatcha think?
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:34 am

Wow... that would be really, really hard for me. Especially since I have to get on the internet for a lot of things, like school and other things that I need to do. Something that I could do is fast from things like Facebook, MySpace, e-mails, etc. [things that maybe I'm on more than I should be], but still get on the internet for school and other things that I need to do [like writing devos for M&M Ministries, etc.]. What do the rest of you guys think?

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2: The Power of the Holy Spirit   Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:27 pm

Yah, I have the same problem. :/
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