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Spiritual flexibility

Dear saints, I trust that the Lord had been keeping and blessing you. Most of us have convictions that have generally been instilled in us by our parents, families, friends, employers, churches, and so on. Convictions, in themselves, aren’t harmful. However, a strict and dogmatic adherence to these could make one less attune to the Holy Spirit. Christ was always listening to the voice of our heavenly Father and did what pleased Him (John 8:29). He wasn’t controlled by His convictions and did things that were outrageous (Samaritan woman encounter – John 4:4-26; called a drunk – Matthew 11:19; called the devil – Matthew 10:25). What was outrageous to the world was God’s Divine will.

For our text I’d like for us to look into Psalm 32:8-10. One verse in this beautiful Psalm penned by King David stands out to me, i.e., vs. 9. It reads, “Do not be like the horse or mule which have no understanding, but have to be controlled by bit and bridle.” Those of you who have ridden horses know how to use the bit/bridle in its mouth to control its movements.

Most of us may have learnt to control and temper our negative impulses. Psychology, self-discipline, behavioral modification can all help that. But, it takes the Divine Power of the Holy Spirit to control our “good impulses”.  Our good impulses may be negative or bad impulses for others. Let’s look at the life of Saul as a case in point. Saul had a great religious background (Philippians 3:4-6). According to his convictions, Jesus and His followers were rebels and a disgrace to the Jewish tradition. His obsession with his convictions encouraged him into being an accessory to the murder of Stephen (Acts 8:1, Acts 9:1-2). Here’s a classic example of how good, solid, traditions may actually be unholy and ungodly. Saul was so dogmatic and entrenched in his views that the Lord had to strike him down with blindness (Acts 9:4-6). Similarly, Jonah was a holy and devout Jew who hated going to the heathen Nineveh. His convictions were good, but his rigid adherence to them made him blind to God’s grace and the Lord had to act accordingly.  When we act like horses or mules, God has no option but to strike us down to free us from ourselves.

The life of Christ is a perfect example of the freedom and flexibility in being led by the Holy Spirit. He wasn’t turned off by rejection (Luke 9:54-55) nor was He ecstatic about warm welcomes (Mark 1:36-38). He was led not by His or other’s opinions of Him (Mark 8:27-28) but by the voice of our Heavenly Father (John 11:42). He wasn’t controlled by the convictions He must have been taught as a Jewish child (Matthew 15:2) but was led by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 15:10-11). He demonstrated remarkable shunning of man’s traditions and a total surrender to the Holy Spirit.

How’re we today saints? Are we led by our “good convictions” or are we led by the Holy Spirit? Rigid dogma, even when it’s good, can make us hard and callous like the Pharisees. Being led the Spirit may make us seem inconsistent, but always benevolent and a blessing to others.

Have a good week saints🙂.

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Thanks Hal. I think I preached a similar sermon in Anderson, IN, back in 1998🙂.

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Good Message. Something you could preach one Sunday!

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