The Holy Spirit is the Power of Change

liberty

 

 

 

 

 

Scripture:

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

2 Corinthians 3:17, NASB

Observation:

The Apostle Paul in this chapter is making the declaration that a changed life is what gives credibility to ministry. In other words, one does not do ministry to produce change. Paul establishes that change is an inside work of the Spirit that is made manifest in how one lives before others. Thus, the Law is not adequate to bring change because it takes the power of the Spirit to liberate a person from themselves to live for Christ. The word for “glory” in this passage comes from the Old Testament understanding of one living under the opinion of God. When an individual attempts to live out in the Law one begins to live under the opinions of their own thinking which condemnation is. The committee in one’s head is not the Trinity nor is it capable of having a clear perspective beyond the veil of their own bondage. What the Apostle Paul is identifying is the process that modern day scholars call “spiritual formation.”  It does not find its source in a curriculum but rather it comes from Christ! Dallas Willard presented it this way, “Spiritual formation in the tradition of Jesus Christ is the process of transformation of the inmost dimension of the human being, the heart, which is the same as the spirit or will. It is being formed (really, transformed) in such a way that its natural expression comes to be the deeds of Christ done in the power of Christ.”[1] The Law placed emphasis on human effort for one to fully comply which placed the burden on self-will. The liberating power of the Spirit places emphasis on transformation being the work of the Holy Spirit and man’s response was to surrender will to God’s will. The Law emphasized ethical and moral decision-making on the basis of asking the questions: “What is right? Or “What is wrong?” A surrendered human will to the Spirit simply asks the question, “What is the will of God?” Evidences of a person’s behavior coming from the inside of person are seen throughout the gospels.

In Mark 7:15, 20-23, Jesus teaches about the true source of evil in human life: “The things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man…. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, and adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.”

In Luke 6, he points out that “there is no good tree which produces bad fruit…. Men do not gather figs from thorn bushes….” (vv. 43-44) It is the inner nature of the tree that determines its outward product. Likewise, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (v. 45)[2]

Application:

I am not good enough to create the miraculous change that is needed in me to be conformed into being like Christ. Furthermore, I do not have the capacity to self-will myself into behaving like Christ and to continue in this thinking is bondage.

There are five areas that the Holy Spirit desires to catalyze change in me[3]:

  1. The Holy Spirit catalyzes change in people, situations and organizations. A catalyst is someone that precipitates change without being altered in the process. The Spirit has a clear view of every person’s heart and mind so that He knows what changes are necessary. The application for me is to ask the Lord for help in catalyzing positive changes in the people, situation and organization I am working with which begins with my own surrender for me to be continually changed.
  2. The Holy Spirit uses a variety of gifts, abilities and personalities to affect change. God is able to harmonize a wide diversity of gifts, talents and personalities for the most effective change in people and organizations.  I must ask the Lord to help me understand and cooperate with the way the Spirit is harmonizing a wide variety of peoples’ gifts, abilities and personalities to effect His changes in me and the church.
  3. The Holy Spirit acts as a solution giver so that His changes will cause Christ’s kingdom and righteousness to grow. The Spirit does not quickly offer solutions to problems until people are really ready to obey His directives.  I must ask the Lord to connect me, by the Spirit’s empowerment, to people who are able to supply me with the wisdom, knowledge and skill to accomplish the very best of God’s purposes, plans and processes.

 

The beginning of this process is surrender and with that surrender comes the liberty that when the fog of my own nature is cleared I fully know that I am known by Him and His opinion of me (glory) is much different than my own perception.

Henri Nouwen said it best when he wrote,” Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved”. Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.” [4] To be liberated by the power of the Holy Spirit is to understand that you are beloved by God.

Prayer:

“Lord, I thank you for your kindness and patience with me and it is my hope that I can fully come to the place of understanding that there nothing in this world that can free me to live out who you created me to be which is your beloved son.”

In the Name of Jesus Christ my Lord, AMEN!

 

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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One Response to The Holy Spirit is the Power of Change

  1. Thanks Pastor Al,
    Awesome stuff!  But, where are points number 4 and 5???  Ya’ really left me hangin’ Bro!

    Have a fantastic day in Christ,
    Cliff

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