Our Christian walk is like a school or a training program. God has more in mind for us than just saving us and taking us to heaven. In Philippians 3:14, in the Passion Translation we read, “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover.” Just as in a natural school, there are certain subjects that we must pass in order to qualify, so it is in the School of the Holy Spirit. There are certain lessons that we need to learn in order to experience God’s blessings and power so that we can be fruitful in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the main objective that the Holy Spirit wants to achieve in our lives is Christ-likeness.
We have been called to be like Jesus, for He is our example of how we should live. We read in Romans 8:28-28, “And we know that all things work together (The School of the Spirit!) for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,..” Paul also says in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.“
Why is Christ-likeness so important?
First of all, it will make us more fruitful in our calling and ministry. Jesus said in John 15:16, “I have called you and appointed you to go and bear fruit and that your fruit shall remain.” Fruitfulness is the will of God for us. In John 15 Jesus said that He is vine and we are the branches and as we allow the Father to prune us, which He does through the School of the Spirit, we will bear more fruit.
In 2 Peter 1:3-5, we have a list of character traits that God wants us to have such as, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, brotherly kindness and love. In verse 8 we read, “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The nature of Christ in us makes us fruitful in what God wants to do through us! It says in 2 Timothy 2:21, “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, (the flesh and the old nature) he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” Therefore, instead of asking God to use us, it is better to ask Him to make us useable!
Secondly, it will affect our relationship with the Lord. We read in Matthew 5:8. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” The word, ‘see’ in the original Greek can also mean to ‘perceive’ God. In other words, God becomes real to those who have a pure heart. Unclean thoughts and actions causes hearts to be darkened we lose the desire for the things of God. We have a very important warning in Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which, no one will see the Lord:” Although this may speak about eternity, holiness will also enable us to “see the Lord.”
Thirdly, it will affect our eternal inheritance: In 2 Corinthians 4:17, we read, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul says, “A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever.” In eternity, we will have responsibilities and privileges which will depend on how much we have allowed the nature of Christ to develop in us on earth. The Bible says that we will reign with Christ in eternity. Therefore, on earth we are being trained to reign forever!
The School the Holy Spirit:
There are two ways that the Holy Spirit changes us to become like Jesus.
The first is a subconscious work in us that that changes us from within. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we read, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” When this happens, we grow spiritually without even being aware of it. This is also what is meant by “being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:16)
The second way that the Holy Spirit changes us through external circumstances: This is where He uses “The School of the Spirit to take us through various situations, experiences and tests. As we yield to the Holy Spirit in this school, and we apply the word of God to our lives, we will grow spiritually and we become more like Jesus. Just as in a natural school, a student has to pass exams to be promoted to the next level, so it is in the school of the Holy Spirit.
Paul says in Romans 5:4-5, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope….”
In Psalm 66:10-12 we read, “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.” Verses 11 and 12 lists a number of ways that we are tested.” We then read in verse 12, “But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.” This can also mean, “You brought us out into a moist place, or a place of anointing.” Another translation says a broad place, or a place of greater freedom! The troubles and frustrations we go through in life are often opportunities for spiritual growth and an increase. It will enable us to impart that what we have gained by experience!
We have another example in Jeremiah 48:11: “Moab has been at ease from his youth; He has settled on his dregs, and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into captivity. Therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent has not changed.” The method of purifying wine in Bible times was to pour the wine into various vessels. In each vessel the dregs would settle to the bottom of the vessel and the wine would be poured out into next vessel. This process would continue until the wine was pure and it would have a beautiful taste. However, if wine stayed in one vessel too long, the dregs would ferment and contaminate the wine and it would become bitter.
Therefore, Holy Spirit will often “pour” us into various situations, or take us through various experiences. As we obey God and yield to the Holy Spirit in these situations, we will become like pure fragrant wine, manifesting the fragrant life of Jesus. On the other hand, if we do not yield to the Holy Spirit, we will be like wine that is contaminated and could result in us becoming bitter with God and with others. Therefore, we have the right attitude when we go through these tests, we will grow spiritually and God will use us more and more.
These vessels or experiences that God takes us through, is also likened unto the discipline of training of the Lord. We read in Hebrews 12:11 in the Passion Translation, “Now all discipline seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield to it.” The blessings and the enjoyment we receive when we pass our tests in the School of the Spirit, will far outweigh the difficulties and the sufferings of the tests that we go through.
How do we pass the tests in the School of the Spirit?
1. Attitude is important: Attitude is defined by the way we react in a given situation or relationship. In Proverbs 16:2 we read, “Man’s ways are right in his own eyes, but God weighs the spirits.” God is interested in our motives and attitudes and not just in our actions. Therefore, it is not only important what we do, but how we do it. It is no use obeying God with a bad attitude! For example we read in 2 Corinthians 9:7 it says “God loves a cheerful giver.” God not only wants us to give, but to give with the right attitude! David wrote in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will.” Therefore, it is important to do the will of God, but to do it with a willing heart!
It is important that we also develop a positive rejoicing attitude. Paul says in Romans 5:2, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character…” As we rejoice in difficult situations, forgive those who offend us, love people even when it is not easy to do so and obey God even when it is difficult, we will grow in Christ-likeness and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Obedience is important: Trials and tests do not change us, but it is our obedience and yielding to the will of God in those trials that changes us! For example, the Children of Israel were tested for forty years in the wilderness, but they received no benefit because of their continual disobedience. We must come through our trials to a place of finality.
3: Patience is important: We read in James 5:11: “”You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord When Job passed the test, it came to an end, and Job received a double blessing. It takes time to grow spiritually and raise the level of our anointing. Spiritual riches are often the result of our many years of experience. Therefore, we must have patience and trust God when we are in the school of the Holy Spirit.
4. Humility and repentance: In Isaiah 57:15 we read that, “God revives the spirit of the humble and revives the heart of the contrite ones.” When we humble ourselves, especially through repentance, God revives us! God will release His grace to give us the victory in that area and help us to pass our tests. The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5, that “God gives grace to the humble.” In Romans 8:26, it says that the “Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.”
When the Holy Spirit has achieved His objective in a certain area in our lives, the tests often will stop. For example, when Job passed his test, it came to an end and he received a double blessing. We may go through the test of offence where people offend us. If we pass this test, people will usually stop offending us. We may go through a financial test. If we pass this test and we become free from the love of money, God will entrust us with unlimited resources. Obedience in any test is signal to the Lord that we want to go to the next level.
Jesus said in Luke 6:40, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” We are the disciples, Jesus is the perfect teacher and He trains us in the School of the Holy Spirit. As we allow Him to do so, we will not only be like Him in character, but we will also experience His power working through us to do great exploits for the Lord. Therefore, may God bless you as you go through the school of the Spirit, allow the Holy Spirit to change you and increase your level of blessing and fruitfulness. Amen