John Wesley’s pneumatological viewpoint.
Living in the Spirit means we are always trying to be ready. Tomorrow may not come, tonight may be my last night on earth so we need to be ready. How do we “be” ready?
Let’s face it, we are not ready. Nor can we be because we are people who sin. But we have a God of grace and mercy who loves us to bits. He wants us to be in his family and we have a place at the family table, we are invited.
We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and our own spirit, our conscience to help as well. We know when we are veering off course because we will be convicted by both. Our conscience is clear when we are governed by God through the Bible. Using Paul as an example, (Acts 23) Wesley points to someone who had an awful past life sending many to their deaths etc, a son of a Pharisee, a Pharisee himself who persecuted the early church and who because of the transforming power of the Spirit was able to stand and say – my conscience is clear…
To continue to change, to become more Christ like, we need to know ourselves, not in the airy-fairy new age way, but know our faults, our weaknesses and work on them. At the moment of transformation our lives become new. Staying shiny and new takes work – ask the parlour maid in charge of cleaning the silver in the big house. It takes work and effort and we cant do it on our own we need God, and we need all the tools he gives us to do it.
The fruit and gifts of the Spirit are there to help us, the Holy Spirit is there with us. We are Jesus people. We are to conduct our whole lives remembering always we are children of God assured we are to spend eternity with him. Our whole lives does not mean in the Christian “bubble” but also out in the big bad world, among the children of the devil, among non-believers. There are so many ways we can become lukewarm having a foot in both worlds.
With godly sincerity our whole lives are given over to God, not lip service bit life service to the Living God, all for his glory. This is not something that can be copied, there is no formula or script, it is what it is. This sincerity comes from God and is not in any way human wisdom.
There is someone in my life who as soon as I begin to speak they switch off, walk in and out of the conversation, stop me speaking, change the subject back to them or introduce another topic, keeping it light, not delving too deep unless they are speaking. I find this difficult but I am just learning to shut up, I know God wants me to speak to this person, to remain on good terms but each meeting I find it more difficult. It is something I work on daily. Each time this person speaks to me I am wounded but God heals my wounds, shows me the good in what they have to say which sometimes is the opposite to what they say. There will be many of these type of people in my life going forward and I will learn, glean much, from what they say and keep silent.
The knowledge of Jesus and the grace of God have transformed our lives and our conscience pricks us, the Holy Spirit convicts us to work through these difficult relationships. There are aspects in my life that are being worked on right now, my problem with authoritative women (I wonder why I have a problem with that), the ongoing saga of xxx, learning how not to be a difficult person and dealing with difficult people. Every one has a story, everyone has something to say and we all can express it in love to one another.
There is a joy in the learning, just as I have learned to enjoy study so I enjoy learning how to knock off the prickly bits. We are not made new to stay at that point, we have grow, grow in faith, grow in love, grow in knowledge and continue to do what is pleasing to the Lord.
All praise be to God for ever and ever