Are We Allowing God’s Spirit to Operate Freely?
1 To Christians in Rome, Paul wrote: “Do not loiter at your business. Be aglow with the spirit. Slave for Jehovah. Rejoice in the hope.” (Rom. 12:11, 12) How does one become “aglow with the spirit”? Is it just a matter of asking God? It is true that God must give the spirit before one can “be aglow” with it, and Luke 11:13 speaks of God as giving “holy spirit to those asking him.” But it is not automatic, is it? It is somewhat like getting electric power from the power company or water from the water company. The supply is there, usually in abundance, but they will provide it only for those who meet certain qualifications. So it is with God’s holy spirit. There is no shortage, but we must qualify for it by cultivating a right heart condition and by learning and conforming to God’s requirements. (Acts 15:8; 5:32) Diligence in meeting these qualifications is needed if we are truly going to be “aglow with the spirit.”
HOW GOD’S SPIRIT OPERATES FREELY
2 As a person can draw on electric power by putting a plug into an outlet and he can get water by turning on a faucet, so we open the way for God’s spirit to operate in our lives when we take some action. For example, we benefit from the operation of holy spirit (1) when we personally study God’s inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16; Josh. 1:8), (2) when we attend meetings where that Word is discussed (Heb. 10:24, 25; 1 Cor. 14:24, 25), (3) when we give a witness to others about the good things contained in the Bible (Acts 1:8; John 14:26), (4) when our actions toward our Christian brothers and sisters demonstrate love, which is a fruit of God’s spirit (1 John 3:14, 16-18; Gal. 5:22), (5) when we respond appreciatively to the oversight of elders who have been appointed by holy spirit (Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:8, 11-16), and (6) when we turn to God in prayer and ask for his help (Luke 11:13). On the other hand, at Ephesians 4:30 we are told: “Do not be grieving God’s holy spirit.” So we need to avoid conduct that is out of harmony with God’s spirit, which is a holy, or clean, force.
3 Have you sometimes felt you were ‘loitering at your business’ instead of being “aglow with the spirit” when it comes to field service? Jehovah’s approval is on those who serve out of a willing heart, and he blesses them with joy, which is a fruit of his spirit. (Gal. 5:22) When we put forth the effort, the holy spirit has opportunity to direct our efforts.
SPIRIT MOTIVATION TODAY
4 Are we to think that the holy spirit is any less active today in directing the preaching and disciple-making work than in the first century? Jesus said he would be with his people until the conclusion of the system of things. He is with us by means of holy spirit. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Note how that spirit directed matters in the early days of the Kingdom preaching. Acts 16:6-9 reports: “They went through Phrygia and the country of Galatia, because they were forbidden by the holy spirit to speak the word in the district of Asia. . . . And during the night a vision appeared to Paul: A certain Macedonian man was standing and entreating him and saying: ‘Step over into Macedonia and help us.’” Was God’s spirit directing matters? It was while they were there in Macedonia that they met “a certain woman named Lydia.” The record says that “Jehovah opened her heart wide to pay attention to the things being spoken by Paul.” (Acts 16:14) Her whole household got baptized.—See also Acts 8:26-31, 39, 40.
5 Today God has widened out the territory to include all the earth. “Macedonia” could be our town, our rurals, our block, our apartment house! Are there “Lydias” waiting there? Are we giving God’s spirit an opportunity to direct us to them by putting forth the effort? Or are we waiting for the spirit to move us? It actually works the other way around. When we move, the spirit will bless and lead us.
6 The spirit is still saying “Come!” to anyone thirsting for life’s water. The “bride,” the anointed ones, are still saying “Come!” Have you heard their thrilling invitation to take life’s water free? Then you, too, are urged to extend this invitation to others. (Read Revelation 22:17.) We do not know how much longer the spirit and the “bride” will keep on saying “Come!” But while they are doing so, let each of us “keep getting filled with spirit,” allowing it to operate freely in our lives.—Eph. 5:18.