Encounter: In his book Holy Spirit Here and Now, Trevor Hudson gives an in-depth look at the gift God gave us in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Just before Judas’s betrayal and the events of the crucifixion took place, Jesus gave his disciples a great promise about how God was sending the Holy Spirit, or Helper, to assist God’s people in recognizing the Way of Jesus. Not only would the Holy Spirit guide and direct those early Christians to the teachings of Jesus (what we now have available in the Bible), but Jesus says that the Holy Spirit would live inside the believers; that anyone who loves God would become a dwelling place for the Trinity (John 14:15-26).
This Sunday we continue our Holy Spirit Here and Now series with a specific emphasis on how the Holy Spirit guides us in our decision making.
Each and every day we make lots of decisions; decisions about when to wake up, what to eat, which way to take to get from point a to point b, how to respond to what is shared with us about others, the list goes on and on. While some of our decisions can be quite easy to choose the best way to go, other decisions can take much of our thoughts and energy captive. As followers of Christ, how much does our faith in Christ impact the decisions we make? How does the Bible address the choices I face on a daily basis?
One perspective Trevor Hudson offers us through his book Holy Spirit Here and Now is to see our everyday living and deciding as an opportunity to improvise God’s will. Improvising the will of God simply means thinking and acting as we believe God would think and act if God were in our situation. In order to do this, we must have a fairly good idea about how God thinks and acts, in other words, we must know God’s character. There are many sources we can explore to remind ourselves of God’s character. The most foundational source is the Bible. In the Bible, we see God’s love for us, God’s dream for the world, God’s character in human form through Jesus, and how early Christians sought to bring God’s dream to fruition. Other sources we can study include the movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people around us, whether family members, friends, and/or believers around the world. In each of these sources, we can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s heart to us, then, we can do our best to live out what we see as we are faced with the myriad of decisions we face day in and day out.
One prominent character of the Old Testament was King David. In 1 Samuel 13, God, through the judge Samuel, said that David was a man after God’s own heart. Knowing this about David, we can look to his example to discover aspects of God’s heart.
Spiritual Practice: Find a time to slowly read through Psalm 25. Feel free to grab a piece of paper to jot down what you see in this psalm.
What does David write about God in this psalm?
How does David approach God?
Why does David write so passionately to God?
Is there anything about what David shares, how he shares, and why he shares that encourages you to approach God differently?
Encourage: As you think about decisions (large or small) you make during any given day, how does what you've read in this Renew challenge you to consider the Way of Jesus and its impact on those decisions? Pausing to contemplate the Way of Jesus is especially helpful in relational decision making relating to your family dynamics, friendships, relationships at work, encounters with strangers throughout the day, etc. Is there any specific instance that comes to mind from the past week in which you could have let your faith in Christ better influence your interactions with someone? Take a moment to offer that situation to God and ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose His way at the next opportunity.
Gather: As you spend time with your family, friends, triad, or Sunday Study Group, share some of your responses to the questions above. Also, can you think of anyone in your life either currently or in years past who always seemed to make good decisions? What do you remember about their life that might be an indication as to how they made good decisions? Share about this person as you gather together.
Choosing the Way of Christ alongside you, Pastor Matt