Saturday, March 27, 2010

Am I Keeping in Step with the Spirit? By Kelli Zaniel

Question for the week: Am I Keeping in Step with the Spirit?

Verses of the week: “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. Give thanks to God for everything” (Ephesians 5:16-20).

Application for your week
: These verses in Ephesians overflow with suggestions on how to live a spirit filled life. Make the most of every opportunity (v. 15). I like to call this “multi-tasking.” Sometimes, I admit, I am on the phone, emailing and cooking supper all at the same time. Am I truly giving any of those things my absolute best and undivided attention? No. Multi-tasking sometimes goes against the grain of being spirit filled. There are so many “things” pulling us in different directions that we don’t have time to address someone with psalms. Verse 19 does say we are to “sing psalms and hymns among ourselves and make music in our heart.” Next time you are on a coffee date with your girlfriends, break out in song and see what happens! When was the last time you heard of someone getting kicked out of Starbucks for being too joyful?

Have you ever spent time with someone who was drunk? It only takes about 30 seconds and you know when someone is under the influence. You just can’t hide it. Verse 18 says, “don’t be drunk with wine, instead be filled with the Spirit.” When people spend time with you, can they tell you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit? Are you spending enough time in God’s Holy Word so that the Spirit has the opportunity to influence you? I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. When people look at me, I don’t want them to see me at all. I want them to see a woman so full of the Spirit that they take notice. I don’t want them to say, “look what she is doing,” but “look what God is doing in her life!”

Remember Zechariah and Elizabeth--- parents of John? One day while Zachariah was performing his duties in the Temple an angel appeared to him. The angel told him that he and his wife Elizabeth, who were very old at the time, would give birth to John. The angel warned Zachariah that John should stay away from “wine or alcoholic drinks because he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth.” I am not saying you shouldn’t drink. What I am saying is that this challenges me. The Scripture says here that for John to stay full of the Holy Spirit, he should “never touch,” wine and alcohol. God had an enormous assignment for John—“He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord” and there was no room for distraction (see Luke 1:15-17). There was no room for people to opine and say, “Well, ole John was a little tipsy and that was why he said those unbelievable things!” No, God wanted the people to know that John was full of the Holy Spirit and nothing else.

When we are full of the Holy Spirit, we have different melodies in our hearts than non-believers. A spirit filled heart is one that abounds in joy and thankfulness. We become so thankful to our Creator that we find ourselves praising and thanking Him even in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. Verse 19 says that if we are full of the Spirit, then we will be “making music to the Lord in our hearts.” Are you so dominated by the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life that your heart continually sings praises to the Lord? When we carry around songs of worship and praise, we find ourselves taking the focus off of us and putting it on Jesus. Then our day revolves around Him and His activity instead of us and our “to do” lists!

Challenge for your week: Make the choice this week to be so inhabited by the Spirit that people take notice. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed by a relentless God. Make the choice to have a heart of thankfulness and praise for all He has done and is doing in your life. Thank Him for the teeth you are brushing, the dishes you are washing, the kids you are watching and the clothes you are folding. Be intentional this week to listen to the Spirit while doing mundane activities. He loves revealing himself in the little things. When we find ourselves in the practice of praising God during the good times, it will be much easier to praise Him in the bad ones.

Looking ahead in your week
: Take time to read Mary’s song of praise to God in Luke 1:46-56. This is the kind of thankfulness and praise I want to carry in my heart day long!

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