The Least Appreciated Means of Receiving Grace: The Discipline of the Holy Spirit

The Lord Is With Us

God sanctifies Christians by building us up in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God while also breaking down everything which is not Christ: our already crucified sinful/”soulish” nature. Multiple means of grace such as prayer, Bible study, worship, and fellowship develop our inner spiritual self in Christ. Only one means of grace consumes what arises of the sin nature: that is the Cross, and it is applied outwardly via the discipline of the Holy Spirit.

God disciplines His dear children through outer circumstances, opportunities to either deny self, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus, or to deny Christ, protect self, and complain/rebel against God. In His great wisdom and sovereignty, the Lord sends circumstances and people whom the sin nature calls “thorns” and “messengers of Satan;” He does this in hopes that we respond in accordance with the indwelling Spirit instead of react via…

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2 thoughts on “The Least Appreciated Means of Receiving Grace: The Discipline of the Holy Spirit

  1. I’ve never really looked at my worldly problems as “discipline” from the Lord. I’ve always relished those times of trial, knowing my faith would grow as I leaned more and more on the Lord to carry me through it. I’ve been using different translations from time to time of verses and I like how 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 comes out in the New Life Version:

    7 The things God showed me were so great. But to keep me from being too full of pride because of seeing these things, I have been given trouble in my body. It was sent from Satan to hurt me. It keeps me from being proud. 8 I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me. 10 I receive joy when I am weak. I receive joy when people talk against me and make it hard for me and try to hurt me and make trouble for me. I receive joy when all these things come to me because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    I’ve focused on James 1:2-4 ESV “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials fof various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

    My step dad, a strong believer, recently passed after an 8 month long battle against his cancer of the liver. He was more than a husband to my mom, he was her eyes. I never could help him see the many possibilities to his “why?” He didn’t question it, he just wasn’t prepared to die first….he was 10 years her junior! I have another dear friend who faced death as she battled breast cancer. She said, “Thank you Lord for the many great opportunities I will now have to draw others to YOU! Milk this Lord for all You can!” Oh how I loved walking on that journey with her, both of us praying for JOY to fall on everyone she encountered (me included!). Whereas, while with my step dad, I was downtrodden, bewildered, sharing with him my girlfriends experience, but he would have none of it. He simply said, “the Lord will do what He has to do.” I was saddened by his Pastor’s lack of ability to help him see the great possibilities ahead.

    So this opportunity you have presented caused me to look at what other Pastor’s have said and I loved this, quoting it as it mimicked my girlfriends journey in which she either led or pointed countless 100’s to the Lord (she was asked to share her testimony in countless LARGE gatherings). And so far, she has survived her 5 year mark since her treatments!

    “…in any suffering, or in any other event for that matter, God is doubtless doing many things, perhaps thousands of things, millions of things, even if we can only detect two or three or a handful. A godly woman in her middle years is diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer. What is God doing? My little brain can imagine several possibilities. At one level, he may be providentially allowing the effluents of the Fall to take their course, a constant reminder that it is appointed to all of us to die, and then face judgment (Heb 9). He may be preparing her for eternity: it is a great grace to know when you are going to die, and prepare for it. He may be shocking her 20-something son, who is living his life indifferent to the gospel, to prod him into self-examination and repentance. He may use her testimony about the joy of the Lord even in the midst of suffering to call another of her children into vocational ministry. He may be using her as a way to teach people in her church what it looks like to “die well,” anticipating several other deaths in the next two years. He may be teaching her minister-husband to slow down and care about his family, and in principle other people, instead of being endlessly busy with “the ministry.” He may be sparing her from living long enough to witness the moral destruction of her daughter. Her funeral may be the means by which several of her unconverted relatives, for whom she has been praying, will come to faith — conversions for which she would happily give her life. Perhaps one of those converts will become a Christian pastor of rare gift whose ministry of proclamation will touch thousands. Perhaps she is hiding some deep bitterness and hate in her life, and God is using this means to confront her.” by D. A. Carson, professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois

    Sorry, such a long answer, but you struck a cord! I’ll have to do more self-examination but I do know no matter what, I am counting my circumstances as pure JOY for what the Lord is doing….even when I can’t understand it!

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  2. Wow, Deb! Thanks so much for sharing your heart! Know that my heart goes out to you and I am hugging you dear sister! At first, I am sorry to have triggered something in you, yet it is the Lord’s will that we press into His glorious truth as you are doing, and so I rejoice with you in our trials: all that which uproots and tears down, destroys and overthrows, builds and plants (Jer. 1:10), for as we look to and press into the Lord, it is He who works in us to will and to act according to His purpose… I could write much about what you have written, but there is a time for everything. May God continue blessing you as you always seek Him and His heart. ❤️

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