Keep in Step with the Spirit

Keep in Step with the Spirit

Pastor Robert Zemke

This past Sunday, we looked at Stephen’s speech and martyrdom in Acts 7:1-60. The scripture says that he was filled with the Spirit and wisdom. It also says He was full of God's grace and power and performed wonders and signs among the people.  He then tells the religious leaders that they are in line with those in Israel who rejected Moses and killed the prophets. He tells them they always resist the Holy Spirit. Why does he not just say you always resist God? The Holy Spirit is God, but his role is to dwell in us. Our closeness to the Lord is seen when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and not resisting the Spirit. 

They refused to know the Lord and have intimate knowledge of Him. Stephen called them stiff-necked. Amazingly, the Lord desires to be close to us in this way. He is perfect and holy, yet he desires to have his presence dwell within us. Fred Sanders, the author of "The Holy Spirit: An Introduction," states:

“There is a closeness and an intimacy of the Spirit to our beings and to our spirits, which means that he is, in some spiritual sense, right here with us and close to us. On the positive side, when we suffer, he’s right there with us. On the dangerous side, when we sin, he’s right there with us. And so, to grieve the Holy Spirit is to do the things that offend the Holy Spirit within us.”

Sanders' description is not of someone who may believe the correct doctrine and be regarded as a good person, but does not have intimate knowledge of God by the Holy Spirit. Someone with the Holy Spirit is growing in the fruit of the Spirit. This person is grieved if they have grieved the Holy Spirit. They regularly confess their sins before the Lord. More than anything else, they want to honor the Lord and not do anything that would diminish their closeness with the Lord. 

We can be easily deceived, as religious leaders were, and sometimes resist the Holy Spirit. It is possible to resist the Holy Spirit when it urges us to seek him with all of our hearts in the morning. We resist the Spirit  when we try to prove we were right rather than listening and being open to admitting that we were wrong. We resist him when we cling to things in this life, feeling that they are the things that give us life when only Jesus can. 

Let's experience the joy of having God's Spirit close to us and allow him to transform us. God is not a hard taskmaster expecting immediate change, but as a good and loving Father calls us to take the next step. 

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).