Monday, December 28, 2015

Work with the Holy Spirit to Bring People to Christ

We read in John 16:8, “And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (NKJV).

Many times, we try to point out people’s sin and tell them they are wrong and they should stop behaving that way. We are trying to correct behavioral issues, not heart issues. When we behave in wrong ways, it's because our hearts are not connected to the vine. We are not connected to the true source of love. We are not connected to the One who guides us, the Holy Spirit. We are sinners. We are not in Him. We are outside of Him. That is the reason why people sin.

We cannot correct behavior until we correct the relationship. We can’t make somebody a better friend until he or she has a right relationship with God. When people's hearts are positioned in Him, they want to do things differently. They are not living for themselves anymore. But until then, they are just hurting, lost, and living for themselves. They think that this is all the world is about. It’s this life, here and now. You can’t expect people to live up to a certain standard of behavior or treat you in a loving way if the source of love does not live in them.

I know many people who have said, “You need to stop smoking. You need to stop drinking. You need to stop doing all these things.” Well, for what I know, Jesus already took care of sin. We read in 1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (NIV). The sins of the whole world were taken care of by Jesus. It’s not the sin itself that makes people sinners. It’s the separation from God. It’s not accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. It’s not accepting that He already paid the debt.

If you would begin working with the Holy Spirit rather than against Him, you would see that He is not sent in there to pound people into submission. The Holy Spirit convicts people of their own sin. What is the sin that John 6:8 describes? It’s the sin of not believing in Jesus. It’s not the sin of cussing, drinking, or anything else like that. People know what's wrong. They already know it internally. The Holy Spirit convicts them of their unrighteousness—that they are not in the right, that they aren’t living according to His ways.

I remember when I wasn’t going His way. I already knew in my heart that I was wrong. I knew in my heart that I was doing things outside of God. At the time, I didn’t know how to come back from it. I didn’t know how simple it was. I didn’t know that all I had to do was stop and turn. I thought I had to make it all better. I thought I had to make it all perfect and clean myself up before I could go to Him.

If you are working with the Holy Spirit, you can say to people, “I know that you know this is wrong. It’s not what you should do. But God loves you anyway. He is so in love with you, and He wants to help you through it. It’s okay, we don’t have to get rid of this before you come to Him. You already know the truth in your heart. You know there is a God, and you know that you are separate from Him. You know that He has been tugging at your heart, but you don’t know how to get to Him. It’s simple. It’s not all these things. It’s not laying down your sin first. It’s just turning around and making a friend. It’s that simple. It’s turning and believing.”

Sometimes we are so judgmental of everyone’s behavior that we can't help people get into a right relationship with God because they are too busy trying to follow regulations. Religion is the killer of relationship every time. People post on Facebook all the time about condemning this and that sin. We feel the need to convict people and tell them that their sin is wrong. Just think about that for a minute. Every sin is wrong, right? What sin do you have? What sins are in your closet? Overeating? Leaning into the comfort of food or movies or friends?

Everyone sins. We are sinners. Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God. Everyone. You are pointing the finger at somebody, but you need to take the plank out of your own eye. The Holy Spirit is already convicting each and every one of us. All we have to do is acknowledge it.

It’s weird to be convicted and feel guilty. You know, and you are wrestling with it. You try to come up with your own reasoning and defenses, but you know that there is no getting away from it. If you are ever at a point where you don’t know anymore that the Holy Spirit has drawn itself from you, that is when you are in trouble. That is when you have a cold heart and cold blood.

The Holy Spirit wants every person to come to repentance. He is drawing men. He is doing it. We are not doing it. No one else is doing it. It is God Himself doing it. You can be a vessel that works with Him, or you can be a vessel that works against Him. You can work with Him to help people get reconciled to Jesus, or you can be someone who helps people meet regulations that are in obedience to the Bible. In my opinion, that is ridiculous. That is the dumbest thing ever. We can have the right behavior but the wrong heart, and that will yield rotten fruit every time. I don’t want right behavior and a wicked heart. I would rather have right behavior from my children when it comes from a heart of love, respect, and truth.

I pray today that God would open the eyes of your heart. Seek Him. Ask Him, “How do I work with You, Father, for relationship, not regulations?” In Jesus' name.

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