"The Greater Life - Spirit Led Singleness" (Part 5) by David Skidmore

Can you imagine what would be on your mind if you were a few hours away from your death? It would be an incredible intense experience. I would want to share what was important to me with my friends and family. I would want people to know how much I love them. And as I think of this scene, I think of myself in a hospitable bed. Because that is where I’ve known many people go before they die. Imagine Jesus eating dinner with His friends. He has told them that death is coming to Him soon, but you know that they kind of don’t believe Him on this. There’s no way He can actually be serious. But He knows the cross is coming, and He knows they’ll remember the events leading up to it. And not just that, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God...” (John 3:3.)  Jesus knew who He was, and what His calling was. And in this moment, Jesus didn’t mention His accomplishments, tell a parable, or heal the sick. It says, “...so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with he towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:4-5.)

Out of all the things Jesus could do, He washed His disciples feet. Let that sink in. And then, Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:14-17.)

Now, there has never been anyone who walked this earth who was more Spirit-led than Jesus. His entire life was led by the Spirit. And Jesus gives us the secret about the greater life He was living. “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” The true blessing comes in doing what you know. The greater life isn’t found in accolades, power, wealth or fame. The greater life happens to us as we choose to do the things Jesus did.

Ask the Spirit to lead you to opportunities to be Jesus. Don’t just know what Jesus did. Do what Jesus did. And you will find yourself living the greater life. You will use your singleness for the glory of God. And you will find yourself led by the Spirit more and more as you do what He loves leading you to do.

David Skidmore

 

 

The Greater Life - "Spirit Led Singleness" (Part 4) by David Skidmore

What is your greatest fear? Beyond snakes, spiders, and heights, there are some fears that go with us everywhere we go. For some people, it is the fear that they are not lovable. For some, the fear is that they have no real worth. Maybe you are afraid of failing. Or you could be afraid of succeeding, because you don’t know how you would handle it if you actually did. One of my big fears that grew into my life was that I wasn’t important enough, and  I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love. Sometimes, that fear comes back seemingly out of nowhere, and drives me to prove that I am worthwhile to others. Here is the truth about fear: Until you face and acknowledge your greatest fear, it drives your behavior.

We orient our lives around our fears. We make sure we don’t have to do certain things because we are afraid of the outcome. The question that comes up is, “What happens if ______?” You get to fill in the blank. It is your fear. And your life. But fear drives us to do things we never would have dreamed of doing. The other frustrating part about fear is how it exhausts the human heart. When you orient your life around avoiding your greatest fear, you will be exhausted.

One thing the Spirit always brings is courage. This is one of the reasons I want to be Spirit-led. I really don’t want to waste my life as a shell of the man I could be. Instead, I want to face my fears. This is one of the things the Holy Spirit is helping me do, and I believe will help you do as well.

This is the way it works. Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, is completely in love with you. This is perfect love, and His love fills the universe. It is mind-boggling, and the sheer gravity of it could strike fear in us that anyone could love this much. Jesus loves us the same way He loved His disciples. He invites us to walk with Him, follow Him, and take us through many challenges to make us better. One of His disciples, John wrote, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18.)

A few years before writing this, John stood with his friend Peter in front of a crowd of angry unbelieving men who could put them to death, and backed these words from Peter. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12.) What happens next tells the story best. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13.)

The angry crowd of unbelieving men heard them say that Jesus is the only name by which people are saved, and they were astonished by their courage because they were ordinary men. It was all because Peter and John had been with Jesus. Jesus loves you in the most perfect way, and the Holy Spirit makes you very bold. In other words, Jesus loves you in a way that will drive out your greatest fear if you’ll give it to Him, and the Holy Spirit will fill you with courage so that you can reveal Jesus to other people. The beauty of this is simple, yet profound. It plays into all the areas of our lives.

Today is a great day to live courageously. You can have courageous, Spirit-led, Jesus-centered relationships. Step into it. Live fully in the Lord’s love. It is an adventure of love and courage. This is the greater life that is led by the Spirit.

David Skidmore

 

 

 

The Greater Life - "Spirit Led Singleness (Part 3)" by David Skidmore

Over the past few weeks, we have been talking about living a greater life in the Lord. The greater life comes when we are led by the Spirit, because the Spirit makes us more like Jesus. At some point though, you like many will begin to wonder, “Am I really Spirit-led? I want to be. But is the Spirit really leading me?” Here are a few signs that you are becoming more and more Spirit-led:

  1. A Craving for God’s Word. One place the Spirit will lead you is to the heart of God revealed through the Scriptures. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16.) The Spirit will lead you to hear God’s voice through the Scriptures.
  2. More compassion in your heart. Jesus was Spirit-led. And Jesus was also the most compassionate person who ever lived. This is not a coincidence. The more Spirit-led you become, the more you will be filled with compassion. The things that break God’s heart will break your heart. The brokenness of the world will compel you to love like never before.
  3. Deeper desire to rest in Jesus. When you are led by the Spirit, you won’t just serve Jesus but you will rest in Jesus. As he said, “Come to me all you who are tired and weary and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28.) We can be duped into thinking that we serve Jesus and rest on our own, but we serve Jesus and rest in Jesus because we are “in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:17.)
  4. Growing sense of the Spirit’s promptings. Jesus describes the Spirit’s movement to a man named Nicodemus. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8.) When you are born of the Spirit, the Spirit will move you to different places as He sees fit. You will become more aware of the Spirit’s promptings if you are looking for them.
  5. An inexpressible and glorious joy. Peter wrote these words to the Church scattered throughout the world, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9.) These words are full of the Spirit’s activity. Faith, love, and then an inexpressible and glorious joy. A sign that you are Spirit-led is a joy that is beyond measure. It is inexpressible. Unspeakable. Glorious.

Now, these are not the only signs of being Spirit-led. But these are a few areas to be aware of. If you don’t see these evidences in your life, then ask God for these traits to be present in your life. After all, these are all gifts given by the Spirit. The focus of a Spirit-led life is long term trust in God. As you give your past, present and future to Him, know that He will change your heart over the long haul. Give God time. More than a week or a month. Keep seeking Him. The greater life is worth it.

David Skidmore