Setting your mind on God’s interest

“…You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”(Matthew 16:23 NIV)

Peter and the disciples were at the peak of their earthly internship with Jesus. They had witnessed the blind see, the lame walk and the dead raised to life. Twice they had seen thousands miraculously fed from a few loaves and fishes. They heard Jesus’ riveting teaching and they watched Him as He dismantled the religious ruler’s arguments and reveal their wicked and conniving schemes.

What a three years it had been. Ordinary blue collar workers thrust into a three year ride with the Creator of the universe. They were changed forever. How could they ever go back to their secular occupations? You can only imagine the boldness and confidence the disciples were feeling. They thought with Jesus as their leader they were going to change the world.

Then everything changed. Jesus began to clearly and distinctly tell them that He must go to Jerusalem where He will be falsely accused by the religious leaders and be killed. Then Peter in all his passion and boldness declared, “God forbid, this will never happen to you.” But Jesus immediately rebuked him and said, “Get behind me Satan; you are a stumbling block to me.” Then Jesus revealed the real problem with Peter and the disciples when He said, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (NIV)

What a revealing and riveting statement. It defined the real condition of not only Peter’s heart but also the disciple’s spiritual condition. They were thinking from a “flesh” perspective and missing the point of why Jesus came. They were loyal servants, committed followers and had a “in this to the end” mentality, but they were not being led by the Holy Spirit.

They were missing the very heart of God. How is it that you can live with Jesus 24/7 for three years, and participate in the ministry as a co-worker and miss the heart of God? How did they miss that Jesus came to redeem a fallen race?

It’s really not hard to understand how they missed the point when we observe our own lives. I believe the statement; “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” is an accurate picture of the typical Christian life. We may be loyal followers, regular givers, Bible readers and even have a large collection of Christian music, but we are missing the heart of God.

The heart of God can only be discerned by living in daily and deliberate submission to the Holy Spirit. The moment we became a follower and believer of Jesus the Holy Spirit took up residence in our life. He is our teacher, our guide, and our revealer of the heart of God. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is being acutely aware of His presence and being keenly sensitive to those areas of our life that offend Him.

Dr. R.T. Kendal, writing about the Holy Spirit, suggested that we often forget that the Holy Spirit is a sensitive person and that we could even say, in a reverent way, that He is even hypersensitive.

The Word of God is to take supreme precedent in our life. We are to read it, memorize and heed its instruction and warnings. But the power to understand, to heed and apply the Word is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is indeed a supernatural book, but it becomes just another book without the Holy Spirit’s personal and direct revelation to us. In other words, without the daily, conscious leadership of the Holy Spirit, practically speaking, we become just another religious person, living out of our own strength.

What’s my point? We must stop and examine our life and determine that we are not going to live our life like those pre-resurrection disciples and miss “God’s interest.” We must put every activity, interest and conversation under the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit.

Are you grieving the Spirit by your sharp tongue and your unkind words? Does your impatience quench the Spirit of God when waiting in line at the grocery store? Are we grieving the Spirit by sulking and pouting when we don’t get our way? Do we grieve and quench the Holy Spirit by having an argumentative spirit? Are we too proud to say “I am sorry, forgive me?” Are you grieving the Holy Spirit by holding a grudge?

God desires for us to be a conduit of His love and power but that can only occur if we become sensitive to offending and grieving the Holy Spirit that is within us. Is the Holy Spirit within you grieved or ungrieved? God’s intention for us is to be about “God’s interest” by living a life controlled and filled with the Holy Spirit.

May I challenge you to arise every morning and ask Holy Spirit to make you hypersensitive to those things that offend and grieve Him? And would you ask Him to fill you with His presence and power that you might have “His interest” in you today? You never can tell who is watching you and who God might bring across you path. Be ready for a spiritual encounter by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice.

“Show me your ways Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. “(Psalm 25:4-5)

The Power of the Holy Spirit and Christ

The primary difference between a committed follower of Jesus and a well-informed religious church member is one key element, and that is the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to indwell every true believer. He refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth because there is a spirit of error in the world (John 14:17). Being led by the Spirit is a key link in living and functioning as a committed follower of Jesus.

Bible knowledge, education, great people skills, gifted speaking ability and a charismatic personality does not change lives. Only the power of God changes lives.

Every teacher and preacher desires to increase their ability to communicate effectively, but we know in the end, it’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that brings change and transformation. Most committed believers have experienced giving counsel to someone, and as we walked away from the conversation we said, “Where did that come from?” We know that the wisdom of our words was generated from and by the Holy Spirit of God.

Dependence upon the Holy Spirit is to be the norm for us, not just an occasional experience. We are commanded in Scripture to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father to teach and guide us into all truth. It is important for us to memorize Scripture but it is the Holy Spirit that makes the Scripture alive and enables us to use it appropriately when speaking with others.

I believe that being filled and led by the Holy Spirit is one of the most important elements in the Christian’s daily walk. Dr. R.A. Torrey, one of the great evangelist and scholars of the past, makes an important point when it comes to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He writes, “The Holy Spirit is a real Person, infinitely holy, infinitely wise, infinitely mighty and infinitely tender, who is to get hold of and use us. When we think of Him in the Biblical way, as a Divine Person, our thought will be how can He have more of me?”

One of the key functions of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and manifest the life of Christ that is within us. How does the world see Christ at work in all His power and glory? They see Christ in us. That’s God’s plan to indwell man with the very life of Christ. Colossians 1 and 2 tell us that the “Mystery of Godliness is Christ in us”. God’s design is that the world experience what God is like through us, in and through our daily walk with God. It is the Holy Spirit that makes Christ within us known.

It is one thing to read about Jesus in the scripture and another thing to see His life lived out in the life of a human being. It is the filling of the Holy Spirit that allows Christ’s life to be shown and manifested through our life.

I want to encourage you to add a simple but profound prayer to your daily routine. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a fresh filling of His Spirit every morning. As you are asking for His divine filling, also ask Him to examine your life and to show you anything that would hinder the flow of His Spirit through your life.

My prayer for you today is that the Lord will bring someone across your path that needs an encounter with the living Christ, and you will be that encounter as the Holy Spirit reveals Christ through you to a needy soul.

“(Speaking of the Holy Spirit) I can think of no thought more humbling or more overwhelming than the thought that a person of Divine majesty and glory dwells in my heart and is ready to use even me.” (Dr. R.A. Torrey 1910, Chicago)


Note: If you would like to have a PDF copy of Dr. R.A. Torrey’s book, “The Work and Power of the Holy Spirit” , email me and I will send you a copy.  This is a classic book, published at the turn of the century, and is no longer in print but is available in a eBook format. Email:

A Christian Distinctive

I love to read some of the great Christian Apologist. The way they weave the historical, scientific and empirical evidence to prove the validity of the Scriptures amazes me. I could never emulate their writings or their reasoning skills. Compared to them, my mind is in slow gear.

Even though I know God has given them the power to persuade and inform, I believe most of them would conclude that without the power of God, their arguments would just be theological babble. That’s the reason that the power of God is a key distinctive of a committed follower of Christ. Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 2: 3-5:

“I was moved to utter despair during my time with you. I would find myself trembling in dread and fear. The sermons I preached were not delivered with kind of persuasive elegance some have come to expect, but they were effective because I relied on God’s Spirit to demonstrate God’s power. If this were not so, your faith would be based on human wisdom and not the power of God.” (The Voice)

The Christian life is not merely a set of ideas passed down from our ancestors, nor is the Bible just a set of religious rules and regulations which we follow. One can have a great knowledge of Scripture and be able to quote long passages and still miss the power of God. The power of God cannot be grasped by head knowledge. Yes, the Scripture is absolute truth but without the power of God behind the truth it’s just another historical book.

One of the last things that Jesus told his disciples before He ascended to heaven is that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment. It is not about our ability and knowledge, but about the Holy Spirit’s power within us, working through us to accomplish the Father’s will.

The power of the Holy Spirit is that supernatural element that distinguishes us from every other religion. The Spirit’s power manifests the life of Jesus in us when we speak to others about what God has done and is doing in our life. When we quote a Scripture it’s the Spirit’s power in us that gives the Scripture life and causes it to penetrate the heart. It’s the Spirit of God that leads us to speak to someone, and then He gives us the right words to say, just at the right time.

I think you get the point. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we are powerless to accomplish God’s will. God planned it that way. God wants us utterly dependent upon Him. That’s the reason that the Word of God emphasizes the importance of not “quenching” or “grieving” the Holy Spirit.

“Quenching” the Holy Spirit is when we don’t obey His voice or when we do something to deliberately hinder the Spirit’s moving. We “quench” the Holy Spirit when we operate in our own strength by not waiting on Him to lead and guide us. Or when we feel we have to interject our two cents into a conversation so that we will be recognized.

We “grieve” the Holy Spirit when we have deliberate, unconfessed sin in our life. There is an old saying that the “water of life cannot flow through a dirty vessel”. That’s a true statement because the Holy Spirit indwells every true disciple of Jesus, and He longs to flow through us and manifest the life of Jesus through us.

One of the things I learned through many years of vocational counseling is that most domestic problems are not caused by one event or one disagreement. It began months or years before by little self-centered acts of selfishness. Little barbed comments that began to accumulate and over time became a mountain of hurt. If these couples had been aware of the importance of guarding the power of God within them by not “quenching and grieving” the Holy Spirit they could have avoided most of the major problems in their marriage.

God’s intention for us is to live in a daily awareness of Christ within us. God placed Christ within us in order that we might be light and salt to the World. The power of the Holy Spirit makes Christ known to the world through us. Therefore, take care to guard this treasure within you by learning to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and then be dependent upon His leadership before you speak and act. To make Christ known to your world through the power of the Holy Spirit is one of your distinctives.

I encourage you to cultivate a daily awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence within you. Ask for His guidance, His filling, and ask Him to guard you tongue, to guide your speech as you acknowledge your dependence upon Him.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath, and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32- NASB)