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The Ways Of The Spirit

"He made known His ways unto Moses" (Psalm 103.7).

It is very important that all who would serve God should know the ways of God, and the ways of God are the ways of the Spirit of God. All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are baptized in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12. 18); sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1.18); and anointed of the Spirit (1 John 2.27). How essential it is then that we should know the ways of the Spirit!

Let us consider first the greatness and the dignity of the Holy Spirit by whom we have been sealed. He is the Comforter (John 14.16); the Spirit of truth (John 14.17); the Holy Spirit (John 14.26); the Spirit of God; the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8. 9); the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3.17); the Lord the Spirit

(2 Corinthians 3.18); the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10.29).

We can see something of the dignity attached to the Spirit when we read that it is possible to speak against the Son of man, as many have done, and yet be forgiven, but he who speaks against the Holy Spirit has no forgiveness, being guilty of an eternal sin (Mark 3.29). It becomes us then to learn concerning the Spirit, and His ways with us.

In Acts 5.1-11, we see the judgement of God on two disciples who ignored the Spirit within them. The story of Ananias and Sapphira is well known. They had sold a possession of theirs, as others had done, and had given part of the price to the apostles, while pretending they were giving all. The judgement of God upon them was swift. They had lied to the Holy Spirit, as the apostle Peter said. It may be that they had no intention of lying to the Holy Spirit, but this cost them their lives. They had failed to realize the majesty and the greatness of the Spirit who was dwelling within, and who knew their every thought.

This is a salutary lesson to us all not to trifle with anything that savours of deceit, for the Spirit is dwelling within us, and He knows our thoughts.

In Hebrews 10.29 we learn that it is possible to do despite to the Spirit of grace. If after all His gracious leading and teaching we sin wilfully, then we do it to our cost, for the work of the Spirit is not something to be trifled with, or lightly esteemed. Our knowledge of the truth is not something that we have gained merely by our own reading or study, it has come to us by the gracious ministration of the Spirit. Let us not lightly esteem His work in us, or the Lord will judge us. Let us learn the ways of the Spirit with all humility.

In Ephesians 4.30 we learn that it is possible for the believer to grieve the Spirit, and this must be frequent with us, as we would confess to our shame. Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour (loud shouting), railing and malice, all these grieve Him. How can we grieve the Spirit, we who know His majesty? Yes, because we forget that He is dwelling within us. We may see the failures in our brethren and sisters, and become angry or bitter in our hearts, and the Holy Spirit who has made our body His temple is grieved. Little wonder that all the joy we have leaves us, and all the power departs from our service, when we consider only our own feelings and totally disregard the grief of the Spirit. How different it is when we pray earnestly for those who are wrong ! then we are in the mind of the Spirit. When we know the ways of the Spirit, we are able to detect the work of the flesh within us, and to overcome by His power (Romans 8.2). When we yield to His leading, and are kind, tenderhearted and forgiving, how quickly our souls are restored, and our lives are sweetened by Him ! How perfect are the ways of the Spirit When He takes away our peace and joy, it is that we may know our sin, and seek forgiveness.

Not only is it possible for us to grieve Him, we may quench His work in ourselves and in others (1 Thessalonians 5. 19). This is a word particularly to overseers. They especially need to be wise, prayerful men, who understand the ways of the Spirit. It will be to our eternal loss, if some disciples are hindered, and the work of the Spirit quenched within them, because those who were leading them failed to discern His work in them. A right understanding of the majesty and sovereignty of the Spirit, using whom He will, will keep us walking humbly with God, and with our brethren and sisters, and make us wise leaders.

When we think of the work of the Spirit within us, our hearts are moved. Be filled with the Spirit," wrote Paul to the Ephesians (5.18). Can it be that He will possess and fill us, and work in us that love and joy and peace, and all that we read of in Galatians 5.22, 23 ? Yes, of course, this is the promise, and less than this is only a stunted, impoverished life, unworthy to be linked with the name of Christ; but so often our standard is low because we do not know the ways of the Spirit. We look upon our sad spiritual weakness as the normal Christian experience, so that we even doubt if we can ever rise any higher.

Think of what is written of the church in Jerusalem "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness " (Acts 4.31). When did we experience being filled and moved by the Spirit in our prayer meetings? We say it with shame, we seldom have such prayer meetings, and all because we so little understand the ways of the Spirit. "Praying in the Holy Spirit," we read in Jude 20. If He is leading us in prayer, then we shall be deeply moved in our own prayers, and others will be deeply moved through us. The fulness of the Spirit should be our normal experience, and it will be, if we pay attention to the ways of the Spirit.

"Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you:

and ye shall be My witnesses " (Acts 1.8). So said the Lord Jesus before He left His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Power to witness power to preach, power lost souls to win. But we often preach without' power, and not a soul is moved by our preaching, and not a soul is won. It is the lack of this power that is the cause of much of our fruitlessness. Men are born of the Spirit (John 3.8). We must wait upon God for the power of the Spirit, and then go and speak the word that He gives. The work of God can only be done in the power of the Spirit of God. This was the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel many years ago (Zechariah 4.6). The work of God will be hard and laborious and disappointing and fruitless, without the power of the Spirit. But when He fills us and uses us, how different it is, then we are led in triumph in Christ! (2 Corinthians 2.14). When we pay attention to the ways of the Spirit, walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5 16) and praying in the Holy Spirit, then indeed our speech and on; preaching are in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Corinthians 2.4). This is what we need, and what we should have if our preaching is to bear fruit.

In Romans 15.30, Paul beseeches the disciples, by the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that they will strive together with him in their prayers to God for him. "The love of the Spirit" how much we owe to the patient love of the Spirit of God! and how different our lives are when we pay attention to His ways ! In Colossians 1.8, the apostle writes about the disciples and their love m the Spirit. It was the Spirit's love manifest in them, and His love is the love of the Triune Being. We can see clearly that only as we know the fulness and power and love of the Holy Spirit, can our lives be full and victorious, as they should be. Let us make way for Him to work in us as He will.