Called to More

My years of undergrad are marked by a desire to do right in the eyes of God, but no capability of executing those desires. I relate to what Paul writes in Romans 7:18“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.”

Have you ever felt that way in your life? That maybe there was a sin that you couldn’t seem to shake or fully surrender to God? That you knew you were supposed to be experiencing more freedom and breakthrough than you currently were?

It’s hard to walk away from sins that easily ensnare us because often times, they are enjoyable. They fill some temporary void or distract us from the hardships of our daily lives. A little pride to help us cover up the fact that we don’t feel like we are enough. A little drinking to numb the lack of community or purpose in our lives. A dating relationship to try to fill our overwhelming longing for love.

Over time, the pride overtakes us. The drinking has led us to sins of deep regret and left us even more alone the next morning. The constant dating relationships have led us to look to our significant other as our source of life.
 
I remember feeling so ashamed to come to God asking for forgiveness for sins I just asked forgiveness for days prior. I would delay prayer or quiet times, thinking I didn’t deserve to come into the grace and presence of God just yet.

The reason I wanted to repent and turn from my sins in the first place is because I felt conviction from the Holy Spirit. I knew I was being called to more. But during that time, the devil tried to throw in words of condemnation to make me think they were from God. He has twisted the words of God since the Garden of Eden when he asked Eve "Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?”

No. God didn’t say that. God said that they may eat from any tree except for the tree in the center of the garden. And he didn’t say you deserve to sit in your shame either. God is love. If the words you are hearing over you are not words of love – they are not of God. Conviction is the restoration of a relationship. Condemnation is the severing of a relationship.
 
In Romans 8:1, Paul says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And in verse 15, “The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

God sent the Holy Spirit to bring us into his sonship. From slavery to sonship – how crazy! He loves us as his own son. As his own daughter. Nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ. And he loved us so much he gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth. I love the way The Passion Translation interprets what Jesus said in John 14:15-17:

“Loving me empowers you to obey my commands. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Savior, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me – and he will never leave you. The world won’t receive him because they can’t see him or know him. But you know him intimately because he remains with you and will live inside of you.”
 
God allows the Holy Spirit to empower us to walk in truth, if we so choose. This translation calls the Spirit a friend, and a good friend doesn’t force you to do anything. They just encourage you to make the best decisions and walk alongside you in the decisions you do make.

The concept of choice is really important in this story. God has always given his people the opportunity to choose him, from the beginning of the story with Adam and Eve to the story you are living right now.
 
Romans 8:9 (TPT) says, “But when the Spirit of Christ empowers your life, you are not dominated by the flesh but by the Spirit. And if you are not joined to the Spirit of the Anointed One, you are not of him.”
 
So, just how does the Holy Spirit empower us to leave behind our lives of sin?

I think the Holy Spirit allows us to taste the goodness of God over and over again until we want nothing else. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the truth. The Spirit literally changes our desires. However, when we try to change ourselves apart from full submission to the Holy Spirit, we are operating from our flesh.
 
Galatians 6:8 says, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Thus, as we begin to walk more in line with the Spirit, we are going to experience more of the Kingdom on earth. That is why sanctification, or being made holy, is often a process.
 
The Spirit grieves when we rebel, and we feel it deep in our souls. That guilt differs greatly from condemnation and is actually good, leading us to repentance and helping align us with the Word of God.

If your soul has been grieving lately, the Spirit is trying to lead you into something greater in God. It is time to cry out to your Abba Father for forgiveness and freedom from sin. He has so much more life for you.
 
Author | Makinizi Hoover

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