I once had a student I simply could not reach. It was relatively early in my teaching career. This young man was in middle school, and he had pretty much checked out. I tried everything I could think of, but nothing worked. I didn’t understand. He had potential. He had resources at his disposal, and he had a teacher who truly cared and wanted him to succeed. He even had peers that went the extra mile to encourage him. For reasons unknown to me and others, he chose (in a nice way) to disregard any help offered to him. It was disheartening, and to this day, I still don’t understand.
As I think about this young man, I can’t help but draw a parallel to our “education” as Christians. I sometimes wonder if our Heavenly Father is grieved by what He sees. So many Christians today seem to reject help that is readily available to us. Accepting Christ into our hearts grants us access to a one-on-one teacher for the rest of our lives! This teacher has power and knowledge beyond our comprehension. This teacher loves us unconditionally. This teacher says we can have access to everything He has. This teacher calls us friend.
How hard it must be for our Almighty God to stand by and watch as we choose to forego all He has to offer. It doesn’t make sense, but it happens all the time. How many of us struggle with pride, jealously, anger, or selfishness? How many of us are consumed with worry? How many of us simply can’t forgive? God has all the resources we need to grow and learn. We just have to embrace them!
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. Romans 8:12-13
In this verse, Paul reminds us we can overcome sin, but only in direct relationship to the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. We are never going to grow in our Christian walk if we don’t access the power provided by our great teacher. Jesus has provided us with a helper. He explained this in detail to his disciples.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. John 14:16-17
But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I have told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go way, because if I don’t, the Advocate, won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. John 16:5-7
I know this may seem a bit complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, something amazing happens. Not only are we made new, but we also gain access to an advocate–-the Holy Spirit.
And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. Ephesians 1:13-14
I recently listened to a message by Ann Graham Lotz. She made a statement that I can’t get out of my mind. The Holy Spirit is Jesus without skin on. The Holy Spirit is fully present whether we have been a Christian for 60 years or 6 months. Whether or not we experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, however, depends on us. Are we giving the Holy Spirit access to every part of our lives?
If we truly accepted Jesus as our Savior by faith, the Holy Spirit is our personal one-on-one teacher. Granted, we still have to choose to learn, to grow, and to do the work. I’m not speaking of a works salvation. However, once Jesus enters our hearts, the learning and growing can begin. We just have to be faithful to embrace the help.
But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
Recommended Reading: Jesus in Me by Ann Graham Lotz.