The reassurance of life in the Spirit
IF we choose to live life depending on our own resources we are doomed to failure and frustration, writes Rev Andrew Watson.
No matter how gifted we are, we are by definition limited. We don't know everything, we cannot do everything.
The world is broken, people are broken and there's only so much fixing we can do.
People may not like to admit it, but we need help.
Thanks be to Almighty God who in his grace so loves the world he gave his son to be our Saviour and his Spirit to help us trust and follow Him.
In Romans 8 - an especially rich chapter of God's Word - the Apostle Paul speaks in glowing terms of living life as a Christian, indwelt and constantly helped by the powerful third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
The clue is in the name. He is 'spirit', and therefore invisible; and he is 'holy', and therefore works in us to make us holy and pleasing to God.
On our own we are doomed to failure, frustration and, in the end, judgement.
But when we humble ourselves to trust in Jesus as Saviour and Son of God He takes up residence within us.
The Holy Spirit is described as "dwelling" in us to lead and enable us in the ways of "righteousness", all that is pleasing to God, all that invites His favour and blessing.
Our bodies are described as "temples", like "holy ground", places of reverence where the Lord makes His home.
We are said to be "reborn", alive in a fresh new spiritual way with a number of remarkable assurances.
Firstly, that our sins are forgiven; we are no longer condemned before the court of heaven.
More, the Spirit continues to guide our conscience. We finish with some things because they no longer feel comfortable or right. We practise new things with enthusiasm as He prompts us.
Secondly, we are assured that we are now children of God and can trust Him as a loving and generous Father to look after us now and always.
The Spirit gives us our new identity as the family of God, whose ultimate homeplace is heaven and resurrection glory in the age that is to come.
That is wonderful... but what about now, and our current challenges, heartaches and anxieties?
How comforting that the Spirit is given to help us in our present "weakness" to keep the faith, wait patiently and pray correctly.
Let's be careful to welcome the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit by living every day as obedient followers of Jesus.
The Rev Andrew Watson is minister of the Presbyterian congregation at Cairncastle, Co Antrim.