Q. My question is concerning the Holy Spirit. My Sunday school teacher asked this question last Sunday and we are still talking about it. Why do Christians who are sealed with the Holy Spirit struggle through life? One of my classmates said its because most Christians don’t know they are sealed when they first believed, or don’t know how to access the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve struggled with this in my own mind. I’m just not sure I understand everything I should about the Holy Spirit. Can you help?
A. There are two issues here and many people fall victim to both. The first one is understanding that the Lord never promised that Christians wouldn’t struggle. In John 16:33 He said, “In this world you have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” This world is a dark and evil place where trouble is the norm, not the exception. It’s not that Christians won’t have trouble from time to time, it’s that we shouldn’t let our troubles discourage us. We should know that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18) and that God is working everything together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). That means even the troubles we experience will bring blessings, in this life as well as in the next one.
The second and more important issue is one of control. If we insist upon retaining control of our lives, then we’ll be limited to living in our own strength. Only by yielding to the Holy Spirit’s guidance can we expect to benefit from His power (Romans 12:1-2). Knowing how to access the power of the Holy Spirit is as simple as listening to His counsel. Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing of value for the Kingdom, but if we remain in Him we can bear much fruit (John 15:5).
This is not something we can be taught, nor is it a matter of technique. It comes automatically when we decide to wait until we hear from the Holy Spirit before acting on anything and then doing our best to follow His direction. It takes a little practice and a lot of faith but it brings rewards all out of proportion to the effort.