YES, there are difficulties to be faced and dangers to be on your guard against, but when once you have pressed through, THE DELIGHTS ARE TREMENDOUS!
Living in the Spirit has been likened to energizing a huge heavy flywheel. Initially it hardly seems to move, but as you persist the momentum increases, generating power and ongoing movement requiring only a minimal amount of effort to sustain its motion. So beware of initial difficulties and don’t get discouraged, and don’t be fooled into thinking it works for everyone else but you!
As you are increasingly filled with the Holy Spirit, your life, your world, your work, your sport, your marriage all lose their stress, because you are right with God. Your every moment becomes spontaneous living for God; this is what the Bible calls ‘rest’, and is what Jesus offers to all who are “weary and heavy laden” with the pressures of life (Matt. 11:28).
As you DAILY, by faith, appropriate your death with Christ, every negative thought, reaction and emotion will be overcome (Rom. 6:1-10). As you continually open up the whole of your being and surrender your faculties to Jesus, so every positive thought emotion and reaction of His dynamic personality will be released in you (Rom 6:11-23). But a word of warning!
If you are an objective person less affected by emotion, it is most likely that the release of Christ’s life into yours will be almost immediate, so overwhelming, that there is a distinct danger of you becoming excited – even euphoric!
If you are a subjective person prone to “thinking with your feelings,” bearing the scars of rejection from childhood and past painful circumstances, the possibility will be that of becoming discouraged. The introspective monitoring of your slow progress will only hinder the release of Christ’s life and if you are not careful, you will become depressed!
Remember too, that Satan is reluctant to lose such a foothold in your life. Those who walk in the flesh can easily be made to fall, so he will put in overtime, distracting, discouraging and doing all the mischief he can to, unsettle your faith!
So much for difficulties in getting started, but now let us look at THE DANGERS of walking in the Spirit. Here are several dangers.
As your life is progressively liberated from the old self [the flesh], and there is a growing consciousness of his life releasing your new self, you must now be alert, for mistakes that will upset your spiritual equilibrium!
BEWARE of using your newfound power and poise to score an advantage over others who do not yet know or enjoy the secret you possess.
To gain such an unfair advantage over another will only resurrect the old nature [the flesh] – in spite of all your faith reckoning.
BEWARE of any up-rising of the old self. DON’T PANIC! look the situation squarely in the face and declare your faith, “That is part of my old self, I refuse to allow it to rise again – Jesus, right now replace my failure with your Life.” Your death with Christ is FACT (Col 3:1-4), do not allow failure or feelings to undermine your faith, even if you do fail, it remains an unalterable fact!
BEWARE of dropping your guard, for you are now surrounded by subtle foes who will seek to gain a foothold. A Spirit-filled believer can never be possessed, but powerful spirits can harass! They will quickly exploit a careless or foolish action, “Do not allow the sun to go down on your wrath, do not give the devil that sort of a foothold” (Eph 4:26 J.B.Phillips). If you RECOGNIZE your mistake, REPENT, and quickly RETAKE the ground in Jesus name!
BEWARE of touching the glory or taking credit for any out flow of His life through your yielded members (Rom 6:13) the only reason to rejoice is in the triumph of his cross (1 Cor. 2:2). Your only glory is in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31).
BEWARE of seeking to impress or impose your experience on others. Before the full glory and revelation of walking in the Spirit is enjoyed (Rom. 8:1-4) the wretchedness of the flesh must be exposed (Rom 7:23-24). Always be alert to help, but do not abort God’s dealings with that person.
BEWARE of getting involved with any form of spiritual warfare unless you are “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” (Eph. 6:10). The best armour in the world is useless if the morale of the man inside the armour is suspect! The only one capable of conquering Satan and his hosts is not you – but the Christ who is in you!
BEWARE of abusing the assurance and authority of His life within you to enhance your position or reputation. Now you can suffer without squealing and squirming, so that the lamb like disposition of Jesus will be manifested (Isa. 53:7).
From Eric Maddison’s book, You Can Choose God’s Best. ch. 6. Continued in next week’s article.