When Adam and Eve reached out to take fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they showed their intention to decide for themselves how to live. In so doing, they turned their back on the tree of life, from which they could have freely received God’s wisdom and direction. And in that day they died, having believed Satan rather than God.
When Jesus came, He offered Life to dead mankind, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. And what does repent mean? It’s not to feel bad and give up a few sins here and there. It means men need to correct the original sin; they need to turn away from deciding for themselves what’s right and wrong, and turn back to the Life which comes from God. Jesus demonstrated this Life for all to see, and then granted it to all interested on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and filled the disciples.
During His last evening on earth, Jesus clearly taught how important the Spirit is, to the extent that it was better for Jesus to go away, so that the Spirit could come. Jesus said the Spirit would live IN us, that He would convict us of sin and righteousness, give us help to overcome sin, and lead us into all truth. These are things that no one in the Old Covenant could have, because the Spirit had not yet been given, but they are freely available to us now!
Living by the power of the Spirit is a wonderful life. The example Jesus gave is of a branch in a tree – it receives its life from the tree, and produces fruit effortlessly. When we follow what the Spirit is telling us, and allow Him to work in us, we can be free from anxiety, lust, anger, judgmental attitudes, envy, etc. We also can grow in love, patience, kindness, peace, joy, and many other good attrubutes. People who live this life of dependence on God are the ones Jesus called ‘overcomers’.
In reviewing sermons of various popular preachers, I see that teaching regarding repentance, and overcoming sin by the power of the Spirit is very rare. Maybe it’s too abrasive for the sensitive seekers? Anyhow, I’m writing this because I hear and see so much of depression, anger, complaining, lust, anxiety, and other things that can so easily be overcome when we allow the Spirit to work within us. Don’t fail to take advantage of God’s wonderful gifts!