RELIGION COLUMN: 2013 and the Holy SpiritBy Staff Reports Published 5:12pm Thursday, January 3, 2013
By Jake McCall
The beginning of a new year can be an exciting time for people because it can often represent starting fresh and beginning something new.
I have made commitments to read more, exercise more, eat better, travel more, give more, save more, etc.
I hope 2013 provides the opportunity to do some of those things and I bet you do too.
Even so, I may have an idea for a 2013 New Year’s resolution that will be new for you and it will be new for me and I believe, if acted upon, will produce a year like none other.
This year I am officially making my New Year’s resolution a conscious, daily request for the Holy Spirit. There are three reasons I am doing this.
First, though I have studied, read and written papers about the Holy Spirit, I must admit that I know very little of the Holy Spirit and I know that there is much more to a life in the Spirit than I am aware of.
In 2010, 2011 and 2012, I preached through the book of Acts and I was faced with the overwhelming fact that the Holy Spirit was a powerful force in the life of the people in the first-century church.
He spoke to them, guided them, warned them, protected them, healed them, healed through them and revealed Christ to them and through them.
Essentially, all that took place in the book of Acts was by the work of the Spirit through the church, and I believe that is the primary reason why the church then looked so different than the church now.
Therefore, by asking God for his Spirit, I look forward to knowing him and experiencing him more in life and in faith.
Second, when it comes down to it, I have spent most of my Christian life operating out of the flesh.
I do not mean that I have not tried to live for God. I have made many efforts at living for God, yet I have mainly tried to do that out of my own strength.
In other words, I have spent a lot of time quenching the Spirit of God even when I have tried to serve God.
Can any of you relate to that? God has been gracious to give me glimpses of his powerful presence even when I haven’t intentionally sought him in a consistent manner and therefore I know he desires to work mightily through his Spirit.
That is a testament to his grace. The third reason that I am planning to daily ask God for the Holy Spirit is that if I genuinely do this, I believe He will be given to me.
Luke 11:13 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
If you have been saved and are in Christ, it is because of the Holy Spirit and yet I am certain that the Father wants to give us more of him and wants us to rely more on him, not for our glory, but all for the glory of Christ.
This means that our prayers will be different, our Bible-reading will be different, our worship will be different, our relationships will be different, our churches will be different, our society will be different.
Something like this could bring true revival. I’m going for it!
—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church.