The Ordinary Life and the Extraordinary God
It may be easy for us to conclude that our life is just regular and ordinary; daily routines, work, and life seem to pass us by sometimes without much consideration of what God may be doing around us. We question the role of the Holy Spirit in all of it, wondering if he is around, and if he is, what he may be doing.
Jared Wilson writes, Supernatural Power for Everyday People: Experiencing God's Extraordinary Spirit in Your Ordinary Life to remind followers of Christ how extraordinary our lives are, even when we feel ordinary. He walks us through different ways we experience the Spirit, the obstacles before us, and the goals of his power in us, providing practical tips to navigate the Christian life for the glory of God and the good of others.
We experience the Spirit's conviction, but many times we're caught looking for the answers within ourselves rather than in the Word of God. He writes, "when our life is lacking in power, it's typically because we are working in our own strength too much!"
We experience the Spirit's Presence. So often, we define his presence by acts of power, miracles. But "craving more and more extravagant evidences of the Spirit is an easy way to demonstrate our lack of satisfaction with the gospel of Jesus. No work of the Spirit, in fact, can be as big or as glorious as the work of converting our hearts to Jesus." Isn't it amazing that having Jesus is enough!
We experience the Spirit's guidance. By pushing the pause button on our life and placing ourselves before the Word, we are preparing ourselves to be led by him in new ways as our day unfolds. We can trust that he is always at work, however it takes time and practice to hone our spiritual eyesight to see him if we're distracted by the world around us.
We experience the Spirit's voice. Maybe hearing his voice sounds a little complicated or super spiritual. To clarify, he says, "what is the divine dialogue? Put very simply, it works like this: God speaks to us in his Word, and we respond to him in prayer."
We experience the Spirit's strength, as we engage in the discipline of prayer. Our prayers are powerful because "the one being prayed to is powerful. The one doing the praying is, by her praying, demonstrating that she has no power in and of herself. That is functionally what prayer is-an expression of helplessness." Now, I know we don't like feeling helpless, but isn't this where the beauty of his strength comes crashing like a mighty wave over us, reminding us how small we are, and how great he is.
We experience the Spirit's filling, by emptying ourselves. As our culture persistently advocates and trains us to focus on me-first, my wants, needs and success, our faith can become a form of take-out, expecting that what we order is what we will get. Just as, "we don't find our strength in the stuff of the world; we find it in the work of the Spirit" but in order to, "be filled with the Spirit and learn this supernatural contentment, we must often be emptied by the Spirit of all else that might satisfy." His filling comes as we merge self-denial with spiritual satisfaction through the practice of fasting.
We experience the Spirit's counsel, as we navigate broken relationships. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, not merely on us, but for the purpose of loving service for others. Our ministry is with people, serving, loving and caring, and we need to be deeply rooted in gospel truths about our own identity, and that of others, to help us.
We experience the Spirit's comfort. For all the times our groaning are too deep for words, the Holy Spirit does the same with us. The love of God sustains us through every valley; we don't need to feel it to know it.
We experience the Spirit's gifts, so that Christ Jesus will be glorified-not ourselves. This is a real temptation we face when we long for spiritual gifts, so we remember they are given to build up the church and to make Jesus known.
We experience the Spirit's baptism, when we've repented of our sin and placed our faith in Jesus Christ, his gospel promises at work in and through us. The Spirit is given us in our new birth and continues to work in our lives to make us more like Christ.
This was a timely read for me. Life has seemed unproductive, almost dormant this year, maybe it's just coming out of winter and all the isolation, so this encouragement to remember the ongoing movement of the Holy Spirit and what he does, gave me greater confidence to step forward with purpose in my relationships and my study.
Understanding the Holy Spirit's work in our lives as we love and follow the Lord Jesus is important, especially in our seemingly ordinary lives, because he is not ordinary, stagnant or bored. He is actively working in and through us to bring the light of Jesus into the world.
If you feel like you're just living an ordinary Christian life and need a refreshing burst of truth about how the Holy Spirit is at work, with some practical advice, this may be the book for you this summer! I recommend it!
# of pages: 216
My rating: 5 stars!