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The Work of the Holy Spirit unto Obedience

I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)

When we placed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we were born again. We were made new in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We received a new spiritual heart, as promised of old. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Now, how does a new creature in Christ grow in a life of obedience? Our natural thinking might assume that a Christian could grow in obedience by simply doing his best to walk in the will of God. The next verse in Ezekiel’s prophecy reveals that God has a better plan in mind. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes.” The born again follower of Jesus is not designed to operate on his own best efforts. The Holy Spirit is to be the heavenly dynamic developing a life of obedience.

A disobedient life would include attitudes and actions that our fallen physical bodies naturally crave. These are to be taken to the cross, to be rendered as crucified with Christ. “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5-6). The Holy Spirit wants to enable us to respond properly concerning such carnal desires. “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). These fallen, natural cravings are described as the “lusts of the flesh” in Galatians. They are overcome as we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Again, this work of the Holy Spirit is not automatic or “robotic.” Rather, it is a relational matter. It is realized in our lives through humble dependence. It is possible to resist the work of the Holy Spirit in us. “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51). It is when we depend upon the Holy Spirit to lead us in the path of obedience that we will truly live as obedient children of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).

Lord God of my salvation, I desire to walk in obedience to You. I confess that I often rely upon my own resources, attempting to produce obedience. Lord, please work deep in my heart by the power of Your Holy Spirit and lead me in paths of righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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