Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: In Step With The Spirit - Steven Souza

Why is it uncomfortable for many believers to talk about the Holy Spirit? The Bible talks about it over and over again, but it’s a subject that we all too often pass over. We need to be more in tune with the power of the Holy Spirit in us and what it means to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

In the clubhouse there are so many temptations around us. Looking around, I see people doing and saying things that are completely ok in the world’s eyes, but the Bible plainly and adamantly disagrees with them. It’s easy to give into these temptations when no one around you thinks they are wrong, but in order to glorify God, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit inside of us. We need to ask the question, “Am I feeding the Holy Spirit or am I feeding the flesh?”

Recently our chaplain, Gio Llerena, gave a great talk on the subject of identity. He explained to us that the world is a loud radio with many alarms sounding off. Our daily lives are filled with the noises of our jobs, our family and friends, the approval of other people, even our marriages—all of which can be really good things, but when they take us away from spending time with God, they become idols. The Holy Spirit may be a still, small whisper of a voice in our lives, but we need to actively listen to His truths! If we are not taking the time to pull away, read God’s Word, pray to Him, and listen to what the Spirit is teaching us, it’s easy to make these other distractions central to our identity. Then we begin to pull ourselves away from God instead of walking by the Spirit.

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” —Galatians 5:16-17

Taking time away to listen to and feed the Holy Spirit within you is not easy—you have to fight for it! It’s easy to wake up and say, “I’m a little tired today,” or “I have to do this and that…I just don’t have time.” But if you want to see what’s important to you, you only need to watch where you spend your time. Fight for time to get into God’s Word and hear what the Spirit wants to teach you.

When Jesus ascended into Heaven He said there was coming One who is even greater than He—the Holy Spirit—to walk with us.

“If you love Me, keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.” —John 14:15-16

In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul tells us, “The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” I know that when I’m walking in the Spirit, I feel a confidence and boldness that is unmatchable. When I’m trying to walk in my own strength and will, I can be easily swallowed up by the temptations around me. The Spirit never leads us to do wrong, but leads us to do many simple yet bold things for the Lord. Sometimes this means listening to the Spirit when He nudges you to walk up to someone at the grocery store and tell them about Jesus. It may be stopping on the side of the road to give a meal to someone in need. It’s the simple, yet powerful ways that God leads us to go out on a limb to show His love to others that fills us with a joy and peace that is unexplainable.

Before we are saved, we are walking in the dark. But when we are saved by Christ, the Spirit lights up the path before us. Now we have a choice to walk in the darkness or the light. There will be times when we make wrong decisions, choosing to walk in the darkness and giving into the world’s temptations, and it may be fun for a second, but eventually that thrill will end and we will be left wanting. When we’re willing to listen, the Spirit does an amazing job of leading us back into the light! Through prayer and reading God’s Word, we can feed the Spirit in our lives again.

The persistence of the Holy Spirit shows evidence of God’s relentless love for us. He is willing to continually fight for us even when we’ve rebelled against Him. If my son began to walk into the street, I wouldn’t say, “It’s ok, I don’t really care what he does.” No! I would chase after him and tell him that he needs to stay by me. It’s dangerous for him to stray out there, he could hurt himself or be hurt by others! In the same way, the Spirit doesn’t want us wandering away, He wants to show us the greater things that He has in store for us when we walk with Him.

With all the distractions around us, it’s hard for us to lay down our lives and listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. But the benefits that come from living life in the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). What could be greater than that?

You’re going to give your time and attention to something, what is that something going to be? Whatever it is will shape who you are becoming.

Steven Souza

Steven Souza is a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.

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