Sometimes in life we have recurring sins, you know ones that just don’t ever seem to go away. Maybe we just can’t reach the point where we can declare that “God took this away from me!” with any true finality. We may really want the sin to go away and maybe it will for a while, but it pops back up, sometimes when we least expect it, sometimes in a moment of weakness.
That is when Billy Graham* says we really need to walk in faith. After understanding how to be filled with the Holy Spirit and submitting and yielding ourselves to God, the third thing we must do is walk in faith.
Walking in faith is acting on the truth that God is at work in us, even in those moments when we feel lost or far away from God, even when we have taken backward steps…steps back to our old sinful ways. Even when it feels that God is not at work in us. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:11, “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Graham makes a big deal of the words “reckon ye.”
First of all, reckon is a good old “southern United States” expression, meaning to think as in “I reckon the mechanic was right about my car.” Translated, I “think” the mechanic was right about my car. Graham also says reckon can refer to accounting or mathematics, as in computing the money for a business transaction. After a business transaction the money exchanged would be “reckoned.”
I would like to call your attention to the “ed” in reckoned. The transaction has already taken place and payment has been made…past tense.
What is the significance for our lives and the life of the Holy Spirit within us? When we yield ourselves to Christ and follow Him as Lord of our lives, we know that something has happened. The Holy Spirit has taken over our lives and guides us and empowers us.
Something has happened.
In an ideal world, all sins would be shrugged off immediately and we can declare “God took this away from me!” Wouldn’t that be nice! But let’s get real folks, we all know that most of the time it does not work like that. Sin removal is a long, slow process with many stumbles along the way. One of my favorite Christian writers, John Stott says, “We are to pretend that our old nature has died when we know perfectly well that it has not…We are simply called to ‘reckon’ this.” He goes on to say we have to have faith that the work of the Holy Spirit will one day be realized.
Graham also says that it is all about faith. “If you have fulfilled the Scriptural requirements for being filled with the Holy Spirit, especially the repentance and submission steps that we have considered—then you and I can privately say to ourselves, ‘By faith I know I am filled with the Holy Spirit’”.
We can truly say “I have begun the process.” Graham says the filling of the Holy Spirit should not be a once-in-a-lifetime event; it should be a continuous reality every day of our lives.
Yes, even in those days when things are not going well. God wants to fill us but He can only fill those who wish to be emptied of self and yielded to Him. Active surrender is a day-to-day activity. If we sin, we need to repent so He can fill us again. When we sin, we have to have faith that our sinning may be part of the journey we have to have with The Father.
I certainly am not where I want to be spiritually. I have my burdens which I should lay at the Alter of my Lord, but maybe I struggle to let them go. Graham has some good advice about what to do when the day starts and those burdens are fresh on our minds. It is so good that I want to repeat it here: “I begin each day by silently committing that day into God’s hands. I thank Him that I belong to Him, and I thank Him that He knows what the day holds for me. I ask Him to take my life that day and use it for His glory. I ask Him to cleanse me from anything which would hinder His work in my life. And then I step out in faith, knowing that His Holy Spirit is filling me continually as I trust in Him and obey His Word.”
It is so good that I want to start my day like that.
Come Holy Spirit; fill me this day…
Because of You, my sins will one day be a thing of the past.
The transaction has already taken place and payment has been made.
his book The Holy Spirit