#556 (14/3/22) HAVE THE RIGHT MOTIVES
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)
Clearly, this is an invitation, not principally to salvation, but to God’s children to receive more of the gracious influences of the Spirit in their lives.
ASK WITH THE RIGHT MOTIVES
There are many reasons why one might want to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Clearly motives matter as James says,
‘You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.’ (James 4:2-3)
Maybe our asking for the Spirit is for ungodly motives (See Acts 8:18-19). One can never be completely clear of impure motives but let’s at least endeavour to want the Spirit’s presence and power for the right reasons.
GREAT MOTIVE #1 – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
The Spirit loves it when we desire to join Him in loving God and bringing Him glory. Let’s endeavour to join the Spirit in his intention to glorify Jesus,
‘He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.’ (John 14:6)
…Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms (A song in praise of God), hymns (Songs to or about God), and songs from the Spirit (Singing inspired by the Spirit -not limited to tongues). Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20, See also Colossians 3:16)
The singing of these kinds of songs is a choice that we make. It comes out of a motive to glorify God. Such a motive pleases and promotes the Spirit’s work. Gordon Fee wrote,
‘Where the Spirit of God is, there is also singing. The early church was characterised by its singing; so also in every generation where there is renewal by the Spirit a new hymnody breaks forth.’ (Gordon Fee)
So, if you desire to have more of the grace of the Spirit, aim to glorify God, sing songs to and about Him.
GREAT MOTIVE #2 – FOR THE LOVE OF OTHERS
A second motive that attracts the work of the Spirit is to desire His empowering so as to love and build His church. In speaking of the purpose of His gifts Paul wrote,
“So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12)
Francis Chan has written on this,
‘The purpose of these manifestations is for the good and edification of the church. The Spirit desires to use us when our hearts are aligned with this vision, when we are filled with genuine love for the church, and when we desire to see the church grow in love for God and others.’
This is not a trivial matter! Paul warns us,
‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.’ (1 Corinthians 13: 1-2)
I trust that you don’t want to be ‘nothing’! And that’s a real possibility!
Jesus beautifully summarised these two motives. Read, meditate and pray out of the following.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.(Matthew 22:38)
It would be really helpful to pray for the Spirit’s empowering on yourself and your church so that we can do these things more effectively.