Wednesday, 12 May, 2021

Striving with the Holy Spirit

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Genesis 6:3, KJV: “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.”

In the above-quoted Scripture, God was saying that His patience with the people on earth before the flood, has come to an end. This is much the same situation in the last days when God expresses His impatience with the children of the disobedient. (Because of these, the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. Col.3:6). This is why eternal salvation can only be attained through the sanctification of the soul by the Spirit.

Whatever appears as an opposition to the working of the Spirit in the life of man is seen as striving with the Spirit. The flesh and the carnal lifestyle are in opposition to the Spirit and thus strives with the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:17).

There are cases when a converted soul could be seen as striving with Siprit:.

When indulged in vain conversation: Christ says, “Let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil.” “And, for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the judgment.” In the chapter of which the text is a part, the Apostle warns Christians not to be guilty of “vain conversation and foolish jesting.” Would you spend your time in vain and idle conversation, if you knew you had but one hour to live? And perhaps you have not.

Do you not know that God is listening to every word you say? He is pouring the blaze of his eye through your innermost soul as if he would speak out and rebuke you. Why are you not using your conversational powers in instructing those around you in the way of life? Perhaps those of your own household and your nearest friends need to be reproved and warned, exhorted, and instructed in regard to their salvation.

Now if your conversation has hitherto been vain and trifling or useless, and in any way unbecoming in a Christian, will you immediately repent and confess to those before whom you have laid a stumbling block and confess to the Holy Ghost whom you have grieved, and beseech him to forgive you, and return and take up his dwelling in your heart?

If you are in the habit of indulging in vain conversation, don’t you know that you are striving with the Holy Spirit which waits upon you day after day, month after month, and year after year, while you keep up your incessant and senseless babble, regardless of his solemn presence, his awful holiness, and of his great and infinite love and desire to get your serious attention that he may save you?

Too much mental application to the things of this world: An heavenly-minded fellow who gives much attention to the things of the world, that have no direct reference to the sanctification of souls, strives with the Holy Spirit. This is particularly something that happened to the career-minded individuals who are sometimes betrayed by ambition, and at other times, are almost crowded by their peers. Their whole mind is swallowed up from day to day in literary and scientific pursuits to the neglect of the solemn calls, and warnings, and strivings of the Holy Spirit. The determination of the spiritually minded is the first and principal thing to obey the calls of the Holy Spirit.

Too much engagement with the pride of the world: Though there is the necessity of diligence in business yet they who seek to be rich always fall into divers temptations. There is the danger of engaging in too much business. Hence the Scripture forwarned in the Book of 1 Timothy 6:9 Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. Would it not be entirely inexcusable, for anyone to be too busy to converse with God? However, Idleness also grieves the Holy Spirit.

Intemperance of every kind: In its largest sense, intemperance is any violation of the laws of life and health, in eating, and drinking, or dress, or exercise, in anything and everything that is injurious to the body. Every man is bound to understand, so far as he is able, the structure and laws of his whole being, body, and mind, and to conform most rigidly and conscientiously to those laws upon which his health and highest usefulness depend.

Modesty is a virtue of the Holy Spirit and anyone neglecting this, and perhaps refusing to give attention to the examination of the structure and laws of his own being, and in the indulgence of the filthy lusts that are injuring his health strives with the Holy Spirit. Those are who the Scripture described as being beclouded and stupifying in minds. This lifestyle follows in the footsteps of those “whose god is their belly, whose end is destruction, and who glory in” that which ought to be “their shame.” Those that are worldly-minded.

Self-justification: Many persons seem to be as anxious to justify their conduct, as if they expected to be saved by their own works, and knew that to be found guilty in anything were to insure their damnation. They are therefore continually resorting to apologies, and shifts, and self-justifying pleas, either in the way of entirely exculpating themselves from blame in anything, or at least to bring their blame-worthiness into doubt; so as to be able to say, “if they have done wrong they are sorry.”

The spirit of self-justification is an insult upon injury to the Holy Spirit. It is an act of abusing God and then justifying oneself in it. The inability to empty oneself in total humility renders sanctification impossible. Only the poor in the spirit can inherit the kingdom of God. Dear reader, why not, at once, break down, confess and forsake your sin? Why do you go about to fritter away your guilt?

No one ever has or can accuse you of half as much as you are guilty of before God. Probably you never were accused of any form of sin, of which in heart and in the sight of God you are not fully guilty. But however this may be, it is certain, and you ought deeply to consider it, that the thousandth part of your real guilt, as it appears in the sight of God has never been named nor told nor conceived of by mortal man.

Your iniquities are infinite. They are broader than the earth, they are high as heaven, they are deep as hell and black as the midnight of the second death. And why do you justify yourself, or spend your time or breath in making apologies for your sins? But if the Son of God makes you free, you will be free indeed.

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