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the work of the Spirit

"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8:14-17 ESV)

I'm reading the letters of Jack Miller, former professor at Westminster, pastor, and director of World Harvest Mission. In one letter he writes about "why our hearts resist the work of the Holy Spirit"...

"Why, then, is the Holy Spirit not leading more of us into a maximum Christian life? The answer is that we are letting Him have only a minimal control of our life choices, both as individuals and families. We do not want Him to lead us too far along the paths of righteousness for fear that we may get hurt or someone we love may get hurt. But the concern of the Holy Spirit is contrary to our self-protective agendas. He has a holy passion for glorifying Christ. He wishes to honor Christ for His compete self-giving in His suffering. He also wishes to bring us into partnership with the Lord's work of filling up His sufferings in His disciples.... It is supremely a call to abandon self-protective strategies and awake to the truth that Christ's ascension now defines us and defines our whole universe. Look up, dear brothers and sisters, to Jesus upon the throne. Christ has ascended and in the process taken total control over human history, the world, and our lives. Believe it! Act on it! ... The Holy Spirit has been sent to act as the executive presence of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:20). He is the primary means for Jesus' conquest of ourselves and the universe." (C. John Miller, The Heart of a Servant Leader: Letters from Jack Miller, p. 91-92)

Our unbelief does not hinder God from working in us -- nothing in actuality hinders God -- but this unbelief does in fact become a reason for God to withold the blessing of his power and presence. The Lord honors faith, and specifically a faith which is manifested in what Miller calls "the abandonment of self-protective strategies." This is the kind of faith so clearly demonstrated in Hebrews 11. It is also the ongoing struggle of all Christians, including myself.


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