“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:25-27
Shortly after I graduated from high school I surrendered my life to Jesus. I knew of Him long before that and I understood and believed the basic tenets of the Nicene Creed. The difference that came with the decision to surrender is similar to, but even more than, the difference between knowing about Steve and actually committing to a married life with him. My life is in Jesus – in Him I live and move and have my being.
As I’ve ‘grown up’ in Jesus over the years, He has moved me from a very individualistic faith to a faith that hungers for and delights in community. I was blessed to be taught and encouraged early on by another woman who was farther along in her faith than I was. That time of foundation-laying was important in my life and was the first step toward understanding the power of relationship with other believers. In recent years the Lord has shown me how studying the Bible together with a group of women seems to further elucidate what the Bible says and what God wants to do in my life through the teaching. And God has blessed me beyond measure as I’ve met with the other two leaders of our study groups to pray, prepare and share prior to our group meetings.
This season of grieving has taken me full circle back to the power of individual faith in the Lord. For a season I’ve pulled back from the group opportunities, in large part because I’m so often physically removed from this group through travels. I’ve spent more individual time in the Bible, in meditation, in prayer and less time in group interactions around my studies. I’ve experienced the conviction of the Holy Spirit when my life has slipped into sin. And I’ve known the sweet blessing of forgiveness as I’ve repented of that sin and moved forward in Jesus. I’ve learned so much through this grief experience lived out in the One in whom I live and move and have my being.
I think what has been powerfully affirmed to me through this season is that Jesus is my teacher – my personal trainer, if you will. No matter where I find myself – whether in a time rich with community or in a time of solitude, Jesus through the Holy Spirit sent to me when I surrendered to Him, is directing my course to maturity – to looking and being more like Him. What a treasure it is to be the disciple of such a One!
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18