All of these steps we are discussing are not your responsibility; it is God’s. Doesn’t that help? You don’t have to start it. He does. All you have to do is ask him for it (or someone else asks for you) — one or the other. Your prayers are nothing but a cry of helplessness: “Father, help!” That’s all it takes.
Remember what Jesus taught in Luke 11? Late at night, some friend comes pounding on this guys door asking for help. But the end of the story, Jesus asks rhetorically,
“Hey, some of you of you out there are dads. Let’s pretend your son asks you for some fish. Now, are you going to give him a snake instead?” (Luke 11:11)
That’s a reasonable question. Would you? Seriously. What kind of dad would do anything like that? Sure, we can dismiss His question as being purely rhetorical, but He answered the questions for you: “Of course not. But neither will your Heavenly Father.
“So, if you, for all your evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
Whoa! Paul wasn’t talking about how to be indwelt by the Spirit, but about how to recover after you became discouraged!
So, the first step in our recovery is to ask our Father to infuse our spirit with strength. There is no need to sit around defeated when we just reach out and take a drink from the river of the Spirit of life!
Every day can be a time of celebration! Our Lord is alive now, and He lives in us! As we often sing, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!”
Yet, for far too many believers, their lives can find more joy and excitement in a game of football or a new reality show. Folks, we complain that we are dry and thirsty while we stand in the midst of the Amazon River! We have at our disposal all of the wonders of Heaven, but we lie alone in our beds, afraid to go out into the world
That river is already flowing in you. You can restore the life in your spirit at any moment. All you have to do it reach out. That is when you will begin to operate as God intended you to. No, you won’t feel this. What occurs is in our soul, but we sense things taking place in our spirit. We then move to the second step, which immediately follows. Paul prays that God would allow you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man so:
. . . so that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith (Ephesians 3:17)
Notice the connection — it is not “and that” but “so that.” The Holy Spirit strengthens us so that Christ will “make his home” in our heart. The moment our spirit is strengthened, we will sense the presence of our Lord Jesus, and once again, our reborn faith will take hold of His promises. Oh, how sweet that will be! When you return, it will be with a fresh anointing, a renewed fascination of His Word.
The second step begins with the phrase, “through faith.” Always remember that Grace changes people, but faith changes things. Have you ever wondered why you been lying around weak and bewildered? Wondered why you have been unable to function? Well, it is because your faith is failing. You are no longer as clear and as sharp as you once were. You have become slow to believe what your Father reveals. Your faith has been dragging. However, with the infusion of the Spirit, your faith becomes awakened, and you can begin to believe again. And the first thing to discover is the most fundamental fact of Christian life: Jesus Christ has come to live in you!
But, I assure you, it is unlikely there will be much feeling involved. It is just a fact that faith again rests on Jesus’ promises. Do you remember how Jesus explained it to Judas, not Iscariot? Judas said to him, “Lord, how is it that you are going to make yourself known to us but not to the world?” (John 14:22). Jesus answered,
“When a man loves me, he follows my teaching. Then my Father will love him, and we will come to that man and make our home within him” (John 14:23)
That is what Paul is referring to. Faith has become awakened in you now. You remember that Jesus lives in you! That is the ultimate sign that you are a believer. Jesus has brought his suitcase and moved in you. He has made permanent residence in your spirit. He will never leave you. He has set up resistance in your heart, and you belong to him.
You have now reached the third step. Do you see how Paul is leading us, step by step, back to recovery?
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.