Read: John 16
“And when he comes, the Holy Spirit will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. (John 16:8, NLT)
You and I do a horrible job at being the Holy Spirit in other people’s lives. Yet how tempting it is to do his work for him. It is easy to do when you are passionate about truth. It is easy to do when you see how someone you care about is living counter-productively. And frankly, it is easy to do when people aren’t fulfilling your vision for their lives. Yes, God loves them and you have a wonderful plan for their lives—and it is your job to make sure they live up to your high calling. Right?
Spiritual maturity demands that we know the difference between serving as the voice of truth and reason for people and allowing the Spirit to transform their thinking and behavior. We step into his territory the minute we assume the role of CCO—Chief Conviction Officer. Of course, there is a fine line between sharing the truth in love, respectful persuasion and passionate debate—all of which are good and necessary to being the influencer Jesus calls us to be—and with being argumentative, rude, nagging, arrogant and flat out irritating. We have been called to lead the horse to water, so to speak, but only the Holy Spirit can create the unquenchable thirst that makes a person want to drink deeply from Truth.
It takes real discernment and sensitivity to figure out what to say, how much to say, and when to say it—and when just to shut up and let God go to work. Oswald Chambers said, “One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others.”
The truth is that God, indeed, has a wonderful plan for people’s lives, but we must allow him to convince them of how that plan needs to play out. By all means, we ought to take the role of encourager, exhorter, and at times, admonisher, but only the Holy Spirit can bring the change of heart, the right thinking, and the right steps that will lead them to the incredible life God has envisioned.
Chances are there is someone in your life right now whom you have the opportunity to influence, but the temptation is tell them what to think, how to feel and which way to go. Perhaps it is your child, maybe it is your spouse, or it could be a friend or a co-worker—it is just part of the human equation. So let me suggest in that particular situation you simply take your foot off the gas pedal, pray a lot more, and let the Holy Spirit work. If you will, the transformation in that person’s life will happen a lot more quickly, deeply and enduringly.
So try to remember at all times: You are not the Holy Spirit! Observing that one piece of advice will save you and the people in your life from a great deal of frustration.
“There is no better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit.” ~D.L. Moody
What If God Took Over?
Ask God to reveal where you have been doing the Holy Spirit’s work for him. When he shows you, first, repent, then second, ask for greater discernment and sensitivity to fulfill the role of influencer God has called you to play.