The Spirit’s work in you comes with certain tell-tale signs. These evidences are both a comfort to us, and an aid to us in the good works which our Father has prepared for us to do.
The proof of the Spirit, according to the NT, is primarily found in two things: mortification of sin and diligence in good works. When the Spirit is present, there’s all out war with the flesh (Gal 5:17). The Spirit graciously points out not only your sinful actions, but–as your sanctification progresses– the hideous motives behind your sinful actions are revealed to you. The envy that gnaws away at your joyful fellowship. The lust that lingers on the sultry image. The bitterness that hollows out your contentment in all things. Jesus reminds us that behind murder, adultery, and lies is a heart of hatred, lust, and falsehood.
So, have you done all you can, by the Spirit’s power, to wring the neck of your sinful desires. Have you deleted the apps that harbor temptation? Have you confessed to your spouse the bitterness you’ve been harboring? Have you sought out the person you wronged to make restitution? The Spirit isn’t given in order to make us comfortable. He was sent from our Savior to make us holy.
This Spirit-born holiness compels us to vigorously hunt down our sin, and also to discover the avenues whereby temptations will arise. You must take out enemy troops & their supply lines. But, this is all to make your inward life match your outward confession. Your works of charity & kindness shouldn’t be a sinful disguise for an rotten heart. Rather, the Spirit-filled man or woman is one who’s inner-life is more & more reflected in their outer life. Christ within, and Christ without, in other words.
There is shame in our nation. And the greatest portion of our shame is not drag-queen story hours at our local libraries, or the butcher of unborn at the abortion mills, or the unjust weights & measures at work in our financial system. No, the great shame which besets God’s people throughout history is what Isaiah denounced when he said, “This people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me (Is. 29:13).” The Spirit was sent to us to clean out and purify not only the outside of the glass, but more importantly, the inside. May God forgive us for quenching and grieving the Spirit by feigning godliness externally, while harboring sin on the inside. We may fool those around us, but we won’t ever be able to fool God. So may the Spirit come and purify us.