Saturday, July 5, 2014

Choosing the Backseat

                I am not one who likes to sit in the backseat of a vehicle. If I have a choice I will be the one driving and I will let someone else sit back there. I like to see where I am going at all times, and it is hard to do that when you have someone sitting in front of you. Like most things in my life, taking the backseat is not
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something I am willing to do. I am usually the one who jumps in head first and just gets it done. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like to step aside and let someone else do something when I know I could get it done quicker and more efficiently. Unfortunately, this fault of mine has also translated into my spiritual walk. How many times do I take the driver’s seat when the Holy Spirit is the one that needs to be the driver? How many times have I taken the initiative when the Holy Spirit is the one who is to be leading me? How many times have I taken the wheel and let Him sit in the backseat?
                One of our questions the Lord put to us in our study through the book of Acts was, “What does it mean to you, personally, to be filled with the Holy Spirit?” As I read through the scripture references the Lord gave us, I saw a power and an equipping that is to be seen and evident in our lives if we are truly filled with the Spirit. If we are filled with the Spirit, then His presence, His fruit, and His power will be seen in us and through us. What do I mean by this? Take for instance a time in your Christian walk when someone asked you a question about Jesus, the Bible or God. The next thing you know you are saying things that you didn’t even know you understood! It seemed like someone else was talking through you, and you were just standing there, listening in amazement at the words that were coming out of your mouth. Being filled with the Holy Spirit will do that to you.
                “And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” Exodus 31:3
                The words “to be filled” mean to be made complete. It refers to the idea of abundance and overflowing. One definition stated that it means to fill a vacant spot with its bulk. Without the Holy Spirit in my life, let’s be honest, I am a vacant, worthless being who has no purpose and no hope. The Holy Spirit has been given to me by God the Father so that I can walk a complete, fulfilled, and hope-filled Christian life. He has given me His Holy Spirit so that I can be the woman He has called me to be. Even in my writing I am vacant unless He is writing through me. Without Him, without the third person of the Trinity, I am vacant, useless and have no purpose.
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                The scripture in Exodus shows us what it looks like to be filled with the Holy Spirit. One who is filled with the Holy Spirit will be equipped to do the work the Lord has fitted them for. They will know the
Word of God, they will live the Word of God, and they will share the Word of God with others. Many times, I have come across Christians who, like me, try to drive the Holy Spirit, instead of taking the backseat where we belong. I think we can all relate to this truth.  I know what the Lord has for me, I know what He is asking me to do, and I step out into my own strength and try to fulfill it. What usually happens is that I become frustrated and discouraged, upset or angry, and end up giving up entirely. I get down on myself, fall into disobedience and start to fall away from His Word. This is my indicator light, my “check engine” light to warn me that I have taken the driver’s seat, instead of the backseat where I belong.
                It is only through the filling of the Holy Spirit that we are made complete. There will be no power, no joy, no peace and no hope in what we do if we do not allow Him to do it through us. We need to become vacant vehicles for the Holy Spirit. We need to take the backseat and wait for Him to get into the car before we try to drive off. He alone is able to work in us the fulfillment of God’s will for our individual lives. He alone is the only one who can give us the wisdom, understanding, strength and knowledge to be obedient to His calling on our lives. It is through the Holy Spirit that the promises of God are fulfilled in us and through us.
                “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18
                Paul tells us to be filled with the Spirit. The tenses of these words refer to a constant filling; a need for us to be continually filled and filled over and over again with the Holy Spirit. It is not a onetime thing- we need Him daily to fill us so that we can be equipped to do what He has for us today. He alone gives us the power we need to walk out this Christian life. We can jump into the driver’s seat all we want, but when we do this, we put the Holy Spirit in the backseat, and we end up trying to drive in our own strength. I don’t know about you, but whenever I drive, I end up getting us into a wreck.
                For those of us who desire to be filled daily with the Holy Spirit, we have to make a choice. We have to choose to take the backseat. We may not always be able to see where He is driving us, but He will never lead us down the wrong roads and we won’t crash. We will come out of the other side, complete, filled and ready to do what He has called us to do.
             
   When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, His fruit will also be evident in what we do, say and think. His love, His joy, His peace, His longsuffering, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and His restraint will rule all that encompasses our daily lives.(Galatians 5:22-25)  When someone needs love, He will provide it through us. When someone needs patience, He will give us what we need for them. When someone needs a gentle touch, He will do the reaching out. Through His filling, through the daily choice we make to get into the backseat, He is able to take the wheel and drive us through this Christian life according to His will, and His wisdom.
                The only way we can have this daily filling of the Holy Spirit is through His Word.  Every day that we choose not to read His Word, not to study His Word, and choose to not spend time with Him we choose to take the driver’s seat, and make the Holy Spirit sit in the backseat.  I don’t know about you, but I think I will choose the backseat from now on.  

                I pray these words bless you and draw you closer to the Holy Spirit who wants to fill you up to overflowing abundance in the wisdom, knowledge, and goodness of our God. In Jesus Name, to Him be glory alone, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.