Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Choosing to Trust and Promising to Praise

A couple of nights ago, I went running in the rain. Now I am normally a VERY fair weather runner – it can’t be too hot or too cold and it certainly shouldn’t be raining! But this particular night, the cool rain and the quiet glistening streets just felt right somehow. I often spend my time running talking to God. Often it is simply asking God to make sure I make it back home! But this night, it was confession…I’ve been writing about confession and I suppose I have to live what I write…


I told God just how sorry I was for not trusting Him wholeheartedly and completely. Have you ever been there? I say I trust God with my present and my future and believe He is with me in the waiting (click to read about God’s presence with us as we wait), but I don’t act like I really trust Him. Instead of enjoying the good gifts He’s given me each day, I fret and worry about whether or not He’ll come through tomorrow. I say He’s a good, good Father who gives incredible gifts, but I continue to doubt His provision for tomorrow despite experiencing His abundant blessings today.

And so with each step it wasn’t just sweat and rain that ran down my face…

But God is a good, good Father. He is patient. He is kind. And He is SO slow to anger. And for that I am even more grateful than I am for the tangible blessings He gives.

God is indeed with me in the waiting and as I wait, He longs for me to rest in the assurance of His constant and faithful provision. He has always come through in the past. He holds and knows my future. But if I continue to fret instead of demonstrate faith, I’ll miss the joys of His blessings in my present. So what’s my fear? Well, what if what I want for my future isn’t what God provides? Ugh, I hate even typing it. It just sounds so selfish, bratty even. But I know I’m not alone. Don’t we all doubt whether God’s plans really will be better or at least as good as what we have planned? And don’t we all know how silly it is to think God is somehow holding out!? And yet…

The truth is sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes the path and plans God lays before us involve more suffering or heartache than we anticipated. And so we long to believe and trust and follow God faithfully wherever He leads, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We know God’s way is ultimately the best way, but we are also very aware of Jesus’ promise that in this world we will have trouble (and disappointment and sadness and hurt).

And so what are we to do? God in His graciousness knows how much we struggle to trust Him and promises to give us strength where we lack. And so we ask Him for that very thing…strength to trust. We ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to stay in the present where we are much more able to notice the blessings God has given, praise Him for providing, and delight in the joy they bring. We promise that in good times and bad, His praise will ever be on our lips because atmospheres shift when we praise. And so my prayer did just that – it moved from confession, to gratefulness, to promise, to asking the Holy Spirit for the strength to keep my promise: a promise to praise His name whether I get my way or not and a promise to choose to trust Him, because like choosing to run in the rain, ultimately trusting God and praising Him really is a choice.


And so hold me accountable. May I stay present and grateful for the gifts of each and every day. Whether life seems to be going my way or not, may His praise ever be on my lips. And I pray that is true for you as well.

Why My Actions Make Me Angry

 “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.* I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” Romans 7:15-20

Boy can I relate to Paul lately! He penned these words as someone desperately following Jesus at great personal cost and yet feeling inadequate all along the way. Why is it that the very things that are so bad for us are often the things that are so attractive? They draw us in and seem to be so much easier to do than all that is healthy and truly good for us.


And though I’ve even written about the benefit of a disciplined life, I still struggle to live one at times. I watch TV instead of working out. I choose cookies instead of carrots. I spend time on Facebook instead of studying Scripture. I stay up late when I should rest. I sleep in when I should wake up. And everything seems to take priority over spending time with my Savior. What comfort to know that I am not alone, that even the apostle Paul struggled with his undisciplined sinful side!

The truth is that making choices is a very difficult process. There are always two sides at work in each of us. These two sides have been battling from the moment of creation and will continue to contradict one another until Jesus returns. By God’s grace, through faith, I have been justified and forgiven. My sin has been wiped away. The old has truly gone, the new is truly here. And yet, my old, sinful self desperately sticks around and stubbornly refuses to completely die.


And so I need help. And God knew we would all need help. He gave us the Holy Spirit as an advocate and more importantly, as God Himself alive in us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, my sinful nature is put to death a little more each day and my heart looks a little more like Jesus. This process, called sanctification, is a lifelong journey. There are times it feels like I’m running in the right direction, there are times I feel I’m running in the wrong direction, and there are times it feels like I’m just standing still. And regardless of the pace of the progress, God promises to complete the good work that He started in each of us. The Holy Spirit is the source of the strength to keep journeying, even when the reality of sin discourages and slows us down.

Though the battle between my saved self and my sinful self wages on, the war has already been won. Jesus ensured victory through His shed blood on the cross and in leaving the Holy Spirit as our helper.  It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to become more like Jesus. If I rely on my own will power, I will certainly fail. Like a hamster on a wheel, I all be exhausted, but I won’t get anywhere. Relying on the Holy Spirit turns selfishness into self-control, anger into kindness, irritability into joy, anxiety into peace, busyness into patience, and loathing into love. We cannot become more like Jesus on our own. No one is talented enough, smart enough, or strong enough to fight the power of sin in our lives. Only God can make us more like God. We must rely on His strength, His wisdom, and His grace. That alone can defeat sin’s grip on us.

In what ways does your sinful nature frustrate you? What can you do today to allow the Holy Spirit to work through your life and make you more like Jesus?

romans 715