Jesus Christ: Follower of the Spirit

Mark 1:12-13 says, “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.”

Now, in the verse before this it says that Jesus heard a voice from heaven saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Yet immediately after this, he was sent into the desert to be tested. Why? Perhaps simply to glorify God through his pervasive obedience. Jesus was obedient during each temptation, and this obedience started with him following the Spirit. It says ‘at once the Spirit sent him.” At once, Jesus obeyed. Without question. He went. He endured the tests. He followed the Spirit.

This summer I did a workshop on learning to perceive the Holy Spirit and I’d like to share a little piece of wisdom from it: “You cannot please the Father living your life as a believer in the flesh. Only when you invite and allow the Holy Spirit to lead your mind, will you ever leave the carnal lifestyle behind. The truth is, you are an expert in leading your life in your own flesh. Your carnal self is a professional in getting what you want when you want it almost all the time. Your perfect regenerated spirit wants to be led by the Holy Spirit; your flesh, your mind, will and emotions do not. Can you feel this supernatural battle going on inside you?”

Yeah, it’s difficult sometimes to even distinguish the voice of the Spirit when our flesh is trying to distract us. And it’s even harder to carry through with what and where the Spirit calls us. But imagine a life in which we responded immediately to the Spirit’s direction. Wow, I want that kind of life. For all y’all who are living without a real sense of purpose, perhaps you are living according to your own fleshly desires rather than by the Spirit’s direction. This week I challenge you to be on the lookout for the Spirit, and more than that, when you feel that gentle prodding upon your heart, I challenge you to act on it.

Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

If you know that God has a plan to use you, if you have heard Jesus say, ‘Come follow me,’ if you feel the Spirit’s prodding, what will you do? Will you follow?

Friends, God has chosen you, Jesus has called you, and everyday the Spirit is trying to move you. Be on the lookout and be in the word. The Spirit speaks to us in scripture, it makes it come alive. Jesus was a follower of the Spirit, and seeing how Jesus Christ was the Word come to life, it would be wise of us to constantly be in the word, so that through it we might hear the Holy Spirit’s gentle whisper. A whisper of direction, a whisper of wisdom. A whisper wondering if you in fact will follow it’s subtle imploration.

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Focus

So you’re going to tackle the world, huh? Make a difference and make an impact? 

But how often do we enter into the realm of possibility and opportunity with the mentality that we can do anything and everything, without really focusing on one specific task? It’s been said that if you try to do everything you will end up accomplishing nothing. 

While reading the book Talent is Never Enough by John Maxwell I came across a story where Maxwell went to Argentina on a business trip and found out the city he was going to be in was renown for hunting. Being one that was willing to try new things, he decided to try hunting, even though he was beyond amateur status. He got to the site and was overwhelmed with the fact that there was a massive amount of doves in the sky, around 50,000! Yet after awhile he had not even shot a single dove. The guide, embarrassed,  came over finally and told him, “You know what your problem is? You are trying to hit every single dove. Just focus on one. Don’t even worry about the ones you miss.” After that Maxwell hit 3 doves, still not a lot, but better than none.

It’s so important to focus on something specific. As Maxwell pointed out, it’s so important that one knows the difference between motion and direction. Tony Robbins,  an American self-help author and motivational speaker, said, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

Romans 12:6-8 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” 

So perhaps the first step to success is figuring out who you are and where your talents lie. Combine those with where you want to make a difference, and then focus on doing what you can to fix that situation. 

Sometimes it’s easy to look at others and say “Hey, I think I’d like to be like them” and forget how unique God has made you. I’m in charge of an 8th grade leadership group at Youth for Christ where I volunteer, and I had them do this activity where I gave each kid a dirty penny and told them they have two minutes to clean it up the best they can and the winner gets some candy. So they all ran out into the kitchen to begin polishing them up. Except for one girl, who came back and sat back down saying, “We’re never going to be able to clean these pennies.” Most of the other kids came back with little luck in shinning the pennies up.  Two girls, though, had found some sort of polishing cleaner that they used to brighten the penny up just a bit. 

The point of this activity was to show that it’s so easy to take something like copper and try to shine it into gold. Which of course, is not possible. So if you’re going to change the world, pick out the gold and work with that instead of spreading yourself thin with an abundance of copper pennies. Now I’m not saying that you cannot take something bad and transform it, but merely that God has created you so wonderfully specifically that he wants you to develop the traits that He has installed in you. He wants you to focus on who He’s made you and called you to be. 

What if you thought about your potential like a piece of gold? Gold is the most malleable of all metals, meaning it can be deformed under stress. So perhaps God gives us each our own unique piece of gold, and it is then up to us to focus on unfolding the vision of where it’s potential is, and then begin molding. Little by little it is transformed into something unique, something only you can create. 

So if your life is like a crazy hunting adventure, with thousands of doves in the sky, and find that you aren’t hitting any at all, perhaps the problem is that you are simply trying to hit them all. Friends, narrow your focus and clarify your vision! Like the guide in the story earlier, God will bring us to the site, but we must choose how to exert our energy in the right place, at the right target. 

John 16:13 says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” If the Spirit is speaking, are you listening? Without knowing where you are going, you will surely never reach the destination.