Tag Archive: led by the Spirit


Happy Halloween?

Happy Halloween?

Divided over Halloween

Despite our great unity that we have in our faith, it seems that Christians are always divided over particular issues. And, certainly, one of those is whether participating in Halloween is right or not.

In fact, I’m sure that posts holding to various views on Christian involvement in Halloween are written annually around this time of the year, and probably even as we speak, to try and influence people one way or another. But, is there a right Christian response? Is there a clear Biblical answer to this issue? Does asking, “What would Jesus do?” resolve this issue once and for all?

Once in a while, you know that you are writing something that is probably going to open up a hornets’ nest. And, because of the topic, I don’t think that I have to be a prophet to expect that this post will garner more page views than many others that I have written. Nevertheless, my intention is certainly not to make waves for the sake of it, nor simply to gain page views. Rather, I hope that more openness to one another is kindled through this post and in a way that it effects not only Halloween, but also other areas of our lives where we find ourselves divided over issues of conscience. (I hear the hornets buzzing!)

Doesn’t Your Conscience Tell You?

Some don’t participate in Halloween because their healthy consciences won’t let them, while others participate out of a healthy conscience without entertaining evil. (I would say that my wife and I are split into these two categories). And, like a pendulum with its extremes, some even participate out of a brazen spirit with seared consciences, while others participate in an attempt to reach their neighbors with the love of God and the message of the gospel.

Some choose to pray for their neighborhoods at a time when evil can increase, while others watch horror movies, claiming a strong faith and a clear conscience. Some simply see the opportunity to have fun with their kids, while others choose to let the day be of no consequence in their lives.

We are in the World, but not of the World

Some give themselves license to be involved by claiming that they are in the world, but not of it. Some of them do this by the Spirit’s leading while others do it regardless of the Spirit’s leading. Conversely, others use the same verse as a reason not to participate. Again, some don’t participate regardless of the Spirits leading, while others don’t participate by the Spirit’s leading.

Some recognize an opportunity to witness through healthy participation, while others recognize an opportunity to witness through non-participation. Each can argue forever over the merits of the way that they have taken, but let the Spirit guide you individually in the works that God has for you, for God will judge His servants.

Maybe some of our consciences are seared toward the evil around Halloween and we fail to see how much we are dancing with the devil. Maybe some consciences are unable to see room for participation that can contribute to healthy engagement in the fun and festivities.

Let God be Your Guide

This Halloween, let neither legalism nor license be your guide, but let the Spirit of God apply the word of God in your particular life situation. Also, let’s give each other the freedom to discover for ourselves what is best in our particular life situation and let’s not presume to know what is best for one another.

While different opinions over various issues of conscience may always be amongst us, it is in the way that we handle one another rather than our particular position that is a testimony to Christ.

Rob

(Go here for part 1)

You know those times when your kids press your buttons and you react really badly? Well guess what, your chief problem is not that you reacted badly, but that you are living from the wrong source. If you are a Christian, then you have either moved away from walking with the Spirit of God as your source of life, or you have never learned that He was your resource for all of life. You see, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control and the only alternative is our natural self, which, although can act civilized, needs only the right provocation to show its true colors.

Now, you know all those nice people out there who behave better than most of us Christians do (especially me)? They are doing a pretty good job of living from their natural ability, but trust me, or rather trust God’s word, they have all the sinful characteristics within their nature to behave badly under the right, or should I say “wrong”, conditions.  Worse for them is that they are at a disadvantage, only able to live from their natural selves. Although they can be lovely people, nevertheless, they are in essence just the same as the worst criminal, having themselves rather than God as their resource for right living. It’s kind of like having that pet snake that you feel is safe to have around children, only to come home one day and have to wrestle your child from its clutches.

Christians are not people who don’t sin. The Bible speaks honestly of “sin that so easily entangles us.” This happens because we all too easily reject God as the Living Water and instead choose ourselves as the source in a situation. The cycle of self-effort to accomplish or achieve is followed by our eventual and inevitable defeat. This in turn is followed by despair and our crying out to God, only to rediscover God’s mercy and grace, and that all along His gentleness was at work bringing us to repentance. The cycle will repeat whenever we exchange His strength for our own. It is in repenting of this, our chief sin, and turning toward Jesus as our life (and by his grace staying turned) that we enjoy life.

Nevertheless, we have the resources to live free of sin. Yet, it’s not in being conscious of whether you are sinning or not. “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6). It’s in enjoying a healthy relationship with God where His Spirit is our life’s supply and not us. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).

Rob Morley

Who is in Control?

Letting go, letting God

All success and failure in life is related to who is in control. We are blessed in the New Covenant to be able to enjoy God’s very presence in our lives and a Spirit-led lifestyle. The Word says, “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Php. 2:13) and also, “…your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’…” (Isaiah 30:21).

His Word also says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25) and “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). So, while God is continually at work in us, clearly our free will remains intact and we still get to make the choices in our lives. However, you’ll notice that God doesn’t firstly call us to choose right from wrong, but rather to walk in His Presence. Doing what’s right is not our goal, but it is the result of walking in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit comes from a rested lifestyle that God gives us when our lives are turned toward Him. It’s a quiet confidence in our loving God that His Spirit permeates in us. In the Spirit we have access to Jesus’ faith, His strength, His leading, His wisdom, His presence and His perfect will amongst many other things. We know this because God’s word says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).

Yet, we are easily and often outside of God’s best. In particular areas of our lives we might be prone to either walk in the Spirit or not, despite God being at work in us. Yet, it’s this choice that determines the source of our subsequent choices and their outcomes. We are easily drawn away by our own flesh and the world’s temptations. Like Demas was, “in love with this present world”, I and perhaps even you and many others are examples of this. John speaks of “the sin that so easily entangles us.” Circumstances, distractions, fears or whatever can come our way and we are faced with whether to take control, or call on Jesus and be led and strengthened by the Spirit.

Jesus, our perfect example, said, “I only do what My Father does and I only speak the words that My Father is speaking.” He lived in perfect connectivity to God and has restored this possibility for us. Notice, however, that He always had His own will. Yet, unlike us, He always subjected it to the will of His Father, because He always drew on the Spirit to continually do so. Apart from God’s Spirit, Jesus could have done nothing of what we read about in the Gospels. Equally, Jesus says to his disciples, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Also, consider these conditional promises to us:

  • “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Notice the two conditions.
  • “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Pro. 3:6).
  • “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Eph 5:18). A lifestyle choice.
  • “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jas 4:8). Everybody else, but me!?
  • Jesus, talking to a church, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Rev 2:5).
  • Whatever the works are that Jesus mentioned in the verse above, no doubt they exist in the light of John 6:28-29. “Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’”

Jesus judges His church by their works, because the fruit in our lives, both in attitude and activity, show the extent to which we are relying on Him. Now, what do I do when I find that I’m outside of God’s best? I rest in His finished work at the cross and repent of having taken over control. I repent of not living in and from His presence and from doing my own thing. I give control back to Him and begin to rely on His still small voice again and His grace (God’s enabling power) at work in me. Correcting wrong behavior is firstly about choosing the right source.

The Christian life is about Jesus living His life in and through us. To the church and specifically to the individuals in it He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20).

Rob Morley

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