One day Jesus and His disciples were traveling and after a long day of travel and ministry they began to look for a place to rest. It was getting close to the time where He was going to be betrayed and crucified and He was on His way to Jerusalem. So He sent some people on ahead to the next town to find a place to stay. The town was in Samaria and when the Samaritans heard He was traveling to Jerusalem they refused to let Him stay. James and John, two of Jesus disciples were outraged at being treated this way and responded by asking Jesus “James and John, His followers, saw this. They said, “Lord, do You want us to speak so fire will come down from heaven and burn them up as Elijah did?” Jesus turned and spoke sharp words to them. (*He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you have. The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives. He came to save them from the punishment of sin.” They went on their way to another town.)” Luke 9:54-56 NLV
You do not know what kind of spirit you have. It is something that we as Christians need to ask ourselves. There are three kinds of spirit at work on us. We have the will to choose to do things our own way and follow ourselves. God is constantly calling to us and we have the choice to follow Him. And there is the devil who as long as we are not following God doesn’t have to do much with us. We need to choose which one we follow.
Most of us as Christians follow ourselves and we don’t see transformation in our lives. It is up to us whom we follow. Paul wrote a lot on this topic, but specifically in Galatians 5. He wrote similar to Jesus and said we have to decide which spirit we will have or follow. And the one we chose to follow would be evidenced by our lives. And this isn’t a choice we can make passively, because both sides are battling each other. “I say this to you: Let the Holy Spirit lead you in each step. Then you will not please your sinful old selves. The things our old selves want to do are against what the Holy Spirit wants. The Holy Spirit does not agree with what our sinful old selves want. These two are against each other. So you cannot do what you want to do. ” Galatians 5:16-17 NLV By default we follow ourselves and do what we want to do. If we don’t choose to follow God we choose to follow ourselves. We need to decide and act on that decision.
Paul wrote that the evidence of following ourselves is “The things your sinful old self wants to do are: sex sins, sinful desires, wild living, worshiping false gods, witchcraft, hating, fighting, being jealous, being angry, arguing, dividing into little groups and thinking the other groups are wrong, false teaching, wanting something someone else has, killing other people, using strong drink, wild parties, and all things like these.” and the result of them is “I told you before and I am telling you again that those who do these things will have no place in the holy nation of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 NLV This sounds just like the world we all live in, and unfortunately most of the churches we attend.
But transformed lives can be ours to live. We don’t have to live life like everyone else. And a transformed life is the best message we can offer the world around us. One of the best times for evangelism is in the first few months after someone chooses to follow Christ and their friends can actually see the transformations happening. And life with God isn’t supposed to be simply about talking to people, it was meant to be about flowing with God and in His power. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” 1 Corinthians 4:20 NLT
When we choose to let God lead our lives can be transformed because the evidence of our choice is transformation. Paul continued to tell us “But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires.” Galatians 5:22-23 NLV This is a great contrast to living life our way. Jesus demonstrated this life for us and invites us to do the same. We need to evaluate the fruit in our lives and decide which spirit we will be of. The choice is up to us, but the rewards can be huge.