“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25)
The Holy Spirit is like mission control—he influences every area of our lives. He gradually leads us to be more and more like Jesus. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are changed from the inside out.
As we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, our lives produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These changes on the inside result in changed attitudes and actions on the outside. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we often try to change our behavior on our own but fail because our hearts haven’t changed.
The Holy Spirit changed Peter from the inside out. Remember in Matthew 26, when Jesus was arrested? Peter didn’t handle it well. He warmed himself at the enemy’s fire. He lied and claimed he didn’t know Jesus. He cursed the crowd and swore at them. His heart was full of fear and his actions revealed the fear in his heart. The chapter ends with Peter weeping bitter tears.
Fast forward to Acts 2:1-4. All the believers were gathered together when suddenly they heard what sounded like a strong windstorm in the room. Everyone in the meeting was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” With the Holy Spirit in his life, Peter was transformed.
No longer afraid, Peter, led by the Holy Spirit, stepped in front of a large crowd and shouted out the message of Jesus. Instead of a fearful, “You’re crazy, I never knew him,” he boldly declared, “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” The Holy Spirit moved Peter from fearful to dauntless.
Peter’s words were anointed by the Holy Spirit and, as he spoke, the Holy Spirit began to convict the hearts of those listening. You know, conviction gets a bad rap sometimes. Holy Spirit conviction is not like a criminal conviction. It’s more like when you think it’s time to teach your kids to tie their shoes or quit wearing diapers. It’s a loving push that says, “It’s time to do better. And I’ll help you get there.”
The Holy Spirit convicted and changed the hearts of 3,000 of the people who heard Peter declare Jesus that day. They believed and were baptized. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, Peter had a part in changing the world.
The Holy Spirit longs to work the same way in our lives today. He wants to change us from the inside out. He wants to guide our steps and anoint our words. He wants to lovingly convict us and help us become more like Jesus. He wants to lead us, anoint us, make us brave, and use us to change the world.
Father, I welcome the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Make me more sensitive to his leading. Help me respond gratefully and faithfully to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Fill my life with the fruits of the Spirit. In the name of Jesus, amen.