This morning for my daily devotional time, I was reading 1 Thessalonians 1. As I read verse 5, I felt the stop of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes when you read the Word, you need to stop instead of moving on to the next verse, so the Spirit can lead and guide you into the truth. This particular verse stood out to me, like a needle in a haystack. It was as if a light was shining down on this verse to illuminate my understanding. This is the way God often speaks to me.
The scripture reads, “because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thes. 1:5). In this letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul begins by addressing the faith and example of the people in the church. Paul commends the church for their work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in Jesus Christ (Vs. 3). Paul then affirms how both the men and women of the church had been loved and chosen by God (Vs. 4). Then, in verse 5, Paul speaks about how the gospel came to the people. It came by the Word of God, in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction.
As I think about this verse, I am reminded of the way God speaks to us in our lives. For the majority of my life, God has spoken to me through the Word. When I pray, I have never heard an audible voice from God. Most of the way I know God is through studying the Word, and by being in relationship with God. As Pentecostal leaders, we often want a “supernatural” experience where God writes on the wall, but for most of our lives the way we will encounter God is through our daily devotion and dedication to relationship. Over time the daily committed life will far surpass the writing on the wall. Serving and living for God is about a daily relationship, not a one-time event.
When I read this passage of scripture, I thought about the unsettling spirit of discontentment. I thought about how in my own life at times I have felt unsettled. Part of the reason I feel unsettled is because when I am challenged to be transformed in my life, I hear the full conviction of the Word. The gospel brings full conviction. When our ears are open to hear the Word of God, we can feel the power of the Holy Spirit and the full conviction of the scripture. This is what causes us to repent and change our ways. When we do not read the Word of God, we are missing out on the opportunity to receive the full conviction of the gospel.
As I think about ministry and calling, I also think about the feeling of discontentment. I believe the Spirit of God can use this feeling to help us identify whether or not we are in the will of God. We might be doing a “good” thing, but the Spirit may be leading us to a better way or a different path. This can be a tricky process. As a disciple and leader, we must be willing to follow the Spirit. Without the lead of the Spirit, we are lost. I believe if we feel discontent, and are challenged to change in our life, it will be confirmed first by the Word, and second by other experiences in our life. A person may give us a word of wisdom or knowledge to confirm the change. A powerful prayer session might give us the power to make a changing decision. A spiritual leader in our life might be given a word from God to speak into our lives. All of these experiences in connection and confirmation with the Word will help us know what decision must be made.
Today, if you are feeling the unsettling spirit of discontentment, it might be because you are feeling the full conviction of the gospel. God might be challenging you to follow a different way or path. Seek the Lord today for more direction, and always commit your way to God.
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