Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Interpersonal Boundaries: Change and the Holy Spirit


Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."

John 5:17

I consider my last two blog articles to be uncomfortable topics. It's frustrating to know that I don’t have the right or the power to change those around me. This is particularly discouraging news considering my job as a therapist. What am I doing, if I am not changing people? Is there any hope if I don't have the power to change others? I think there is.

God loves the whole world. It is his desire that not one of us is lost to sin (1 Timothy 2:3-4). He knows we need help. As Jesus was preparing to be crucified, he told his disciplines that he was sending the Comforter or Counselor to be with his people for forever (John 14:16). The word Counselor is Greek for "parakletos" which literally means "called to one's side." It is used to describe an advocate or an intercessor. Jesus further explained that it will be the work of the Counselor or Holy Spirit to convict the lost of their guilt (John 16:7-11), to encourage and exhort the believers (John 14:16), and to reveal the truth of Jesus (John 16:13).

This battle isn't ours, it's God's. We may be powerless to change others, but God is at work.

What is our job? Timothy tells us to pray. That is our task. "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. . . This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4)." Good advice. James takes it a step farther. He tells us that our prayers are powerful and effective (James 5:17). Even if we feel helpless, we really are not. Much is being done with our prayers. We are joining the work that God already is doing through his Holy Spirit. We need to remember that God's investment is much greater than our own. He loves this world so much that he did not even withhold his only son in order to save us.

My current favorite Bible verse is today's thought, John 5:17. I have seen this truth in my office. God is always at work to set every person free from all kinds of sins. My job is to release my loved ones to God's care and to pray on their behalf. I know this is difficult. It can feel discouraging, useless, and even hopeless. But when I start to feel powerless, I remember that God has much more invested in this situation than I do. It is then I find hope and encouragement.

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