Last year before the holidays we started a blog series on becoming an overcomer. We focused on the promises of God. We talked about several of them and we left off with God’s promise of providing power through the Holy Spirit. (To refresh your memory, read The Promises of God: Becoming An Overcomer Part 1 and The Promises of God: Becoming An Overcomer Part 2.)
Today we are going to pick up where we left off:
The main way the Holy Spirit provides power is by providing guidance. What kind of guidance? Guidance to avoid sin and to live the Christian life. We are not capable of doing it consistently, so we need His guidance, i.e. His power.
This is confirmed in Galatians 5:16.
“So, I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves (that’s sin).”
Let’s also look at Galatians 5:22-25.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus (Christians) have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
The Holy Spirit will lead us – BUT WE MUST LET HIM. He doesn’t just come in and take over. He’s very gracious. Paul says when we let Him lead us —- He produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Paul says there is no law against these things. That means — nothing has the power to do what the Holy Spirit can do – not even the Law of Moses.
Paul concludes by giving us a command. He says – follow the Spirit’s leading in EVERY part of our lives.
OK, so how do we do that?
Specifically, how do we let Him produce fruit? Well, let me give you an example. Let’s say we are lacking in joy. Let’s say we are going through some serious trials, and we are overwhelmed, and we are close to depression – if not there already. We know James 1:2 says:
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
But — if we are leaning on our own understanding — which Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us NOT to do –We are listening to our reason, our emotions and our wills. Our reason says, “How can I be joyful when I am struggling? That’s no fun!” And our emotions say, “This really hurts. How can I be joyful when I have so much pain?” And our will – says — “I need relief. So, I will distract myself with something that’s pleasurable — like food, or drugs, or alcohol or whatever”.
Now, we know that Proverbs 3:5-6 also tells us to acknowledge God in all our ways. So, we decide to do that by using God’s promise of the Holy Spirit. We decide to let Him guide our lives. We know when we do that He will produce fruit in us, and one of those fruits is joy – which is what we need. So, we pray and ask Him to do that.
Here’s an example of such a prayer.
Dear Holy Spirit. I am struggling. Here’s what’s happening —-. James 1:2 says I must be joyful about this, but I am having a hard time doing that. However, You promise to produce Your joy in me — if I let You. So, I ask You to do that. Thank You that You are here in me, and thank You for giving me Your joy. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen
That’s it! That’s all we need to do. It’s a simple prayer. However, it takes faith to do it. Faith is believing what God says is true and then acting on it, and that’s exactly what we are doing here.
Let me give you another example. Let’s say there is somebody in our lives that we are having a difficult time relating to, but we know we must love them anyway. In John 15:12 Jesus said,
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”
However, if we are leaning on our own understanding we are listening to our reason, emotions and wills. Our reason says, “This person is treating me horribly. How can I love them?” Our emotions say, “I really don’t like this person. In fact, I hate them” Our wills say, “I need to treat this person just like they’re treating me”
However, we know that Proverbs 3:5-6 also tells us to acknowledge God in all our ways. So, once again, we decide to rely on the promise of the Holy Spirit and let Him guide our lives. Once again, we know He will produce fruit and one of His fruits is love. So, we pray and ask Him to do that. Here’s an example of such a prayer.
Dear Holy Spirit. I am struggling. Here’s what’s happening —-. Jesus commanded us to love each other, but I am having a hard time doing that. However, You promise to produce love in me — if I let You. So, I ask You to do that. I ask You to help me love this person like You do. Thank You for answering my prayer. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen
Once again, that’s all we need to do. And, once again, we must pray in faith – expecting God to do what He promises.
Let me close by summarizing what we have said.
We can either lean on our own understanding — or we can lean on God. We lean on God by using His promises.
The greatest of all God’s promises is the promise of the Holy Spirit. He promises to guide us by producing His fruit in our lives. When He does — we will not follow the cravings of our sinful natures. Instead we do what God wants us to do.
That’s how to become an overcomer.
Well, that’s it for now. See you next week …