Remember the moment that you said yes to Jesus? That single moment that you gave your heart to Him, changing the trajectory of every moment of the rest of your life.
You likely remember how it felt, where you were, who you were with. But now think back to why. Why did you decide to give your heart to Jesus that day?
-Did you make the decision at youth camp, where you swayed to loud music and heard speakers call you to come down front?
-Did you make your decision at home with parents who took you to church even as a tiny newborn?
-Did you make your decision as an adult, in college, or a first job, and you met some other women your age who seemed to have something you didn’t?
No matter the circumstances, everyone who comes to Jesus for the first time comes in response to an invitation. No one can come to Jesus on her own. The Holy Spirit is alive and active, opening hearts to the awareness of our need for surrender. Then the new believer acts on behalf of the recognition of Christ’s supremacy, His perfection, His offer to us of new forgiven life.
The first moment of salvation is truly miraculous and transformational. But for the majority of new believers, the road to enjoying new life and the relationship Jesus offers us is marked with doubts, discouragements, questions. New Christians are left with minimal guidance from those ahead in the race. What once seemed so real, so alive, has now become more about doing the right thing. Excited new believers seem bogged down with a religious checklist of sorts.
Have you been there too?
The daily drudgery of doing the right thing quickly gets way too hard. Maybe because 80% of Americans, including millennials, believe enjoying yourself is the highest goal of life.* Not one goal, but the highest goal.
We change jobs, addresses, relationships, and churches trying to achieve this goal. The message we have heard loud and clear from the culture, our families, even maybe the church: Take care of yourself. You deserve a better boss. You do you.
These and other phrases we regularly hear generate shock waves of internal conflict with the words of Jesus: “Your life is not your own, you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The Westminster catechism, a timeless statement of our historical faith, echoes those words, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Since this faith fact is true, we must reconsider: Is your goal for 80 some earthly years to enjoy yourself and your life, or is it to enjoy Him? Is your relationship with God for your happiness or for His glory?
Can it be for both?
To help you answer that, let me introduce you to the Holy Spirit. If you recalled your moment of saying yes and accepting the forgiveness available through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives within you. The Holy Spirit is vastly misunderstood and unappreciated. Yet, He is fully God as the third person of the Trinity. He is a permanent resident in your body, eager to give you all you need to experience the reality of Christ in you. Every day, every hour, every moment.
Because let’s be honest. You can’t exactly pull this Christian thing off. That will to do right and check off even a best- intentioned “do good list” wanes. It’s impossible to keep up in the midst of daily stressors, dirty floors, sibling squabbles, spouse spats, and general womanhood exhaustion.
For so many years I felt that only those who did great exploits for God were men filled with the Holy Spirit. All I did was change diapers, fix meals and do laundry!
The male disciples in the book of Acts certainly weren’t confined like I was. And their power in witnessing, though a wonder to read about, looked to me from my place in history like they’d been invaded by an alien force. And surely they had been. But for me there was no such take over of my life. I wished God would sometimes overrule in me. I wished He would “possess” me to do or say amazing things for Him. As the popular song says today, I wanted “to be overwhelmed by your presence, Lord.”
What I have learned instead is that though God is fully capable of overruling me and though He does in some people work in supernatural ways that seem to be purely divine, in my life God wants me to intentionally seek Him and open my heart to His Spirit to work as God wills. And yes He has given me the words to say in countless situations, but no one will read about them because they’ve happened in my private world of ministry: my home.
Even if you work full time, your primary place of ministry, of serving God, is at home. So in this season of summer with less structure and hopefully more time, we want to help you grow in your relationship with the Holy Spirit of God.
That’s why understanding who the Holy Spirit is and what role He plays in your life as a believer and specifically as a woman is fundamental to walking out your Christian faith.
That’s our hope and prayer for you over the course of the summer blog club. As you talk through these six weekly posts with friends, here are some questions to answer.
- Why does it matter to be filled with the Spirit as a woman, wife, mother, or friend? Since you likely aren’t a mega-evangelist or a ministry leader, does it really matter for your life?
- How do I please God with my life?
- What does it mean to be real to myself and listen to the voice of the Spirit?
- How can I ever have pure motives?
- I feel like I fail more than I succeed. Is there hope for me?
Gather some friends who want to wrestle with these truths as women. Commit to individually reading through the post each week, during the six-week study, and then set a time to discuss the ideas together. We’ll include questions at the end of each post. You can chat about these around the pool while your kids swim, over a workday lunch, or even during your morning jog together. The place doesn’t matter. But the honest conversation and the pursuit of the better knowing and understanding the Holy Spirit does.
Watch Barbara’s video invite for more.
To sign up for the blog club, you’ll simply need to subscribe to our blog. If you already received our posts, you are good to go! If not, go here to subscribe.