The Holy Spirit in You

Today’s reading is Romans 8:1-17Open Link in New Window

Here is today’s reflection by Gaby.

Available from 6am Monday

How does the Holy Spirit have a role in us as individuals?

Have you ever heard of an ear worm? It’s a song that gets stuck in your head and that you can’t get rid of, examples are the Spitting Image chicken song, Agadoo, anything by Crazy Frog, more recently the Coffin Dance. Well as annoying as these songs are they usually pass although apparently chewing gum can help cure your ear worm… who knew…

However what is more damaging is the mental tapes many of us have playing in our heads all the time. Some of us may have “I’m not good enough I never have been” Others may have “God doesn’t really love me, if he did then he never would have allowed this to happen… it may be a bit more subtle where you can never quite do enough, achieve enough, earn enough, you can never sit down and stop and say “Today I did a good day’s work and I have deserved a break.” Perhaps think for a moment what your internal voice says about your relationship with God.

Do you know that God loves you? He loves you so much. He honestly does. There is nothing you can do that will make him love you more or less. He sent his Son to die for you. Jesus was condemned to die for us so that we don’t have to be. His painful death on the cross was for us and his resurrection beat the power of sin and death so we too can enjoy resurrection. Jesus’ death also bought us acceptance with God because we are no longer condemned when we are in Christ. In Christ we are accepted. That’s where this passage starts with acceptance in Christ. You are free from the law of sin and death. These voices that speak nasty things to you about God and about yourself are not true.

You see God has given us something to overpower those voices. His Holy Spirit living in us. Verse 5 tells us:

”Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

This voice in our head tells us rubbish things about ourselves and it also tells us to do things we know we’re not supposed to do. This voice is what this passage refers to as the flesh. I’ll give you a small snap shot of what my flesh wants: Coffee cake, Prosecco, Pimms, holidays all the time, sleep all the time, not to pray, to read my book when I’m meant to be working because no one will know, to check out Facebook on my phone rather than engage with my children, various sexual sins usually based on attractive men with no shirts on, wine on a daily basis, to tell everybody else what to do and expect them to do it, to go and hang the washing in the sun rather than continue with this sermon to drive rather than walk etc. And that was just a tiny percent. Most of these things aren’t wrong but need to be in the right context. The flesh desires these things out of the right context, sex out of marriage, leisure during work, using the earth’s resources when I don’t need to…

However those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires… I would love to tell you that’s me… but I have an inkling that even though I know and love and try to follow the Holy Spirit leadings I am more fleshy than I’d like… literally as well as metaphorically!

This is a problem because as our verse tells us: 6–8

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

I don’t know about you but I want to have the mind of life and peace and yet it doesn’t feel like I do. The verse goes on to say that:

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

That’s pretty serious. I want to please God. The verse goes on though to tell us

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

So as a Spirit filled Christian I have the spirit, I belong to Christ, Later in this chapter, vs. 26 it tells us the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Boy am I weak. But it’s OK because the Spirit is already in me. I need to listen for him and not the flesh and follow him.

Sometimes we have glorious moments when we get it right. The still small voice of the Spirit tells us to do something and it all turns out well. Sometimes it doesn’t quite go so well and we do something we think God wants us to do and it turns out badly. I would rather have things turn wrong because I was trying to follow God rather than just doing the wrong on my own.

So we dust ourselves off and try again.

When I was 18 I was finally taught that God could speak and he still does today and he does this through the Holy Spirit. That God could speak to me blew my mind… what would he say? How would he speak? I didn’t know but I figured I wanted to find out. It was a very simple moment, I lay on my bed and said “God if you can speak, please speak to me.” I kind of expected to fall asleep but instead I had some very clear pictures in my mind. Pictures of me receiving new life, of my sin forgiven and of people worshipping God.

From that day I realised God, the Holy Spirit was present and active and He could help me. Since then I sought his guidance regularly, his presence too. As time goes on I have become more adept at understanding what God has been trying to say, sometimes it’s through scripture, sometimes through a word in my head or a thought in my heart, we had once decided to leave a church and then I had no peace until we reversed the decision. Sean then went on to lead the church through an interregnum and the church is now growing and prospering. I’m not sure what would have happened if we hadn’t experienced the Holy discontent the Spirit gave us.

How does the Holy Spirit speak to you? Do you get a sense of alertness, does a Scripture stand out to you in a way it never has before? Do you have a nagging thought you need to say something to someone but you don’t know why? If you don’t know then it’s time you found out. God has things to say to us for us to do and ways of making our life easier.

I currently am trying to work out an impossible puzzle of when to have the Youth Discipleship group. God is going to have to sort it out as I have no idea!

Sean and I have always prayed about even the smallest things and we were buying a new car. Before I was married I walked into a showroom and saw two I could afford. I felt the Holy Spirit say the white one. I bought it, it served me well until we had to buy a bigger car for more children. Car buying part 2. We couldn’t choose between two cars and I prayed and felt the Holy Spirit saying “Buy the green one!”… that would have been really handy if we hadn’t been choosing between a blue and a black… however later in the day the dealer who was selling our car phoned us to say there had been an error on the paperwork and the black car was actually green… so we took the green one and it served us faithfully for many years until we had to buy a new car with more seats… when we prayed and my sister prayed and told she had a picture of a blue car and so we bought the blue one. It has served us like a dream for 7 years and seems to be continuing to do so. Silly story but important message that God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit to make our lives better.

Verse 12 tells us in fact in quite strong words that we now have an obligation to live by the Spirit. But that WE ARE NOT SLAVES, WE ARE FREE…

It’s like being in love… I’m not obliged to do nice things for Sean because I love him… I do it because I want to… I’m not obliged to listen or watch for the Spirit but I do it because I love God, her loves me and his ways are so much better and more fun.

I was once led by the Spirit to buy a Big Issue magazine which I decided to read on the aeroplane as I flew home to Tenerife. It had an advert for Community Service Volunteers. I wanted to go back to the UK but not rush into a job and so I cut out the advert and applied. I was accepted. I moved back to the UK to Bridgewater for the summer. I then had plenty of time to led the Spirit lead me into my next adventure to move to Wokingham where I did all sorts of things that impacted my life now including meeting Sean. The Spirit could have used another route but this is the route.

I always see the Holy Spirit’s guidance a bit like a sat. nav. When I’m driving most places I use Google Maps because I have a terrible sense of direction… when I go wrong the sat. nav. tells me how to correct what I have done or when to make a u-turn. Often the sat. nav. autocorrects the route for me making allowances for when I went wrong. The Holy Spirit is constantly on autocorrect helping us to keep on the path that we wanted to go on. He makes up for our errors, diverting us back towards the plan. We do need to remain listening to him. Sometimes he shouts loudly but mostly it’s that still small voice, persistent and kind breaking through the ear worms and negative tapes that we play inside our head. When the Holy Spirit leads the plan then even if it seems to go wrong in humanly terms we know it is right.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 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.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

The Spirit leads us into our adoption as sons and daughters of God. You are a child of God. You are an heir to both the suffering and glory of Christ. We share his sufferings we share his glory.

Lord Jesus I pray that today you will help us to hear your voice, to recognise your voice, that we would hear you over the loud voice that our own flesh makes, that you would speak to us about our lives, show us how to serve you and whom needs our attention. As we share your suffering please let us see your glory.


There will be a video version of the service.

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