FIRST-PERSON: What good is the Holy Spirit?
EULESS, Texas (BP)--Our families don't need more money, more cars or a new anything. I don't think our kids don't need more toys or more sweets.
I've been around the world, from the shacks outside Bangkok, Thailand, to the flavellas (ghettos) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I can tell you that American families literally have it all, compared to the situations of families in other parts of the world. But sometimes we think the newest house, a better school or the hottest parenting book (whether it be Christian or "secular") will make our families more complete.
Or we believe that these "things" (and we can all fill in the blank here) will make our families more productive and happy.
But I believe that one thing is lacking in our families, one thing that we forget:
Our families lack the filling of the Holy Spirit. "What!!??" you might say. "The Holy Spirit? I need a new job. Our car just broke down. My son is being bombarded by terrible things at school. And you're telling me we need the Holy Spirit?"
Yes, my friend, the Holy Spirit. Our families desperately need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said to the Ephesian church: "Be not drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).
It's easy to focus on the first half of the verse without really understanding how it connects with the second half. Let's shed some light on this and answer the question, "What good is the Holy Spirit for our families?"
Paul writes to encourage the Ephesian church to change their ways and become more wise, discerning and obedient followers of Jesus.
If this change is to happen, then the Ephesians must not be filled with "stuff," especially not with wine in their case, but they must be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
It's no wonder that after he finishes the sentence he began in verse 18, Paul immediately goes into the famous passage about families in Ephesians 5:22-6:3. You see, being filled with the Holy Spirit is not some churchy or purely emotional charismatic phrase.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a mandate from God.
But why? What good is the Holy Spirit for our families?
The Holy Spirit has many roles, but one of the most prominent roles He fills is one of guide (John 16) and another is the role of comforter (John 14).
As a guide, the Holy Spirit touches our hearts, opens our minds so we can understand the Scripture and helps us navigate our way through life with wisdom.
New job? New car? Better school? The Bible tells us not to focus on those "things" but to look to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As a comforter, the Holy Spirit comes alongside us and provides security and help in times of decision, crisis and pressure.
Jesus actually told His disciples it was better that He went away to heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come! What's better than walking hand in hand with Jesus? Being filled with the Holy Spirit!
And that's what being filled with the Spirit means: opening our hearts and lives to Him and allowing Him to be our guide and comforter in our life and in the life of our family.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit has little to do with how much of Him we have, but how much of us He's got.
Dads, if we lead our homes without looking to the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort and change it, we are selling our families short. Moms, if we refuse to lead our children toward being filled with the Holy Spirit, we are not leading them biblically.
Let's lead our families to not be enticed and distracted by "stuff." No, let's lead our families to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. For in Him we find guidance, comfort, wisdom and insight on how to live our lives and move forward with God.
Claude Thomas is pastor of the Dallas-Fort Worth-area First Baptist Church of Euless. For more resources, visit www.LifePoints.org