Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss with an amazing thought.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The fact is: I don’t have to sin if I’m a child of God. Now, it’s not saying I won’t. But the fact is: I don’t have to. The lost person can’t do anything but sin, but the child of God does not have to sin. He’s been set free.

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, November 20.

Temptation is always pulling at you, but does that mean you have to give in? Nancy Leigh DeMoss says no, you don’t have to because of the Holy Spirit. It sounds amazing, and Nancy will help us understand more.

Nancy: We’ve been talking this week about the ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit of God, and as we said yesterday, we need to get to know the Holy Spirit. We need to thank God for giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit and for all the things He does in us, through us, for us.

He really is an incredible gift. I want to focus today on one particular aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry that I find incredibly encouraging—and I think you will as well. That is that the Holy Spirit supernaturally empowers and enables us to serve God.

I want to give you a quick trip through the Bible, catching snapshots here and there of how the Holy Spirit empowered and enabled people to serve God. After I read these, I think you’ll have realized He can empower and enable you to do whatever God has called you to do.

Do you remember back in the book of Exodus when God told Moses to build a tabernacle? God gave Moses all these incredible blueprints and details, a plan: “Build it just this way.”

But Moses didn’t have any experience building a tabernacle, and so the Lord said to Moses in Exodus 31,

See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship (verses 2-3).

God said, “I have given you a task, and in order to help you do that task, I have called out a man. His name is Bezalel, and I have filled him with My Spirit so that he will have the ability, the intelligence, the knowledge, and the craftsmanship to do all that needs to be done—not only in building the tabernacle, but in teaching others how to help.” It was the power of the Spirit that enabled Bezalel to do that.

Then we come to the era of the Judges. This is where we read, on more than one occasion, that God supernaturally empowered a specific judge to do His work in conquering enemy nations and in leading the people of God.

For example, in Judges 3 we read, “The Spirit of the Lord was upon [Othniel], and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD gave . . . [the] king of Mesopotamia into his hand” (verse 10). The battle is the Lord’s. Othniel is an ordinary man, as I think was Bezalel.

Samson is another judge. Now, he’s a mixed bag, and there’s a lot of sad parts to his story, but what makes the story especially tragic is the fact that he had access to the power of God’s Spirit. Samson’s story didn’t need to turn out the way that it did. In Judges chapter 13, the Scripture says that from early on, “The Spirit of the LORD began to stir him” (verse 25).

What’s the thing you think about Samson—his most known characteristic? The strongest man who ever lived, right? Do you know what? Samson was not strong at all, apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s when the Holy Spirit came upon him that he got that strength.

Judges chapter 14, “Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat” (verse 6). Verse 19, “And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil.”

This supernatural power—where did it come from? The Spirit of God, and again you see in that story in Judges 15, when the Philistines came out to meet Samson, “the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men” (verses 14-15).

Where did the power come from? The divine enabling—it was the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then we move into the era of the kings in the Old Testament. The first king, King Saul, was told when he was anointed by Samuel to be the king, “The Spirit of the LORD will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with [these people you will meet] and be turned into another man” (1 Samuel 10:6).

I like that phrase because I think it describes what the Holy Spirit does when He fills us. He turns us into something and someone that we could never have been apart from Him.

Same thing when David was anointed to be king. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.

And then we come to the life of Jesus. We read in the Old Testament prophetically, looking toward the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah 11, verse 2: “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him.”

Jesus knew the importance of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. You remember in Luke chapter 3, “when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove” (verses 21-22).

And right after His baptism, after the Holy Spirit had come upon Him, it says in Luke four, “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” (verse 1). Baptized by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, led by the Spirit—Jesus set for us an example of the importance of the ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit.

After He came out of the wilderness, Luke chapter 4,

He returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee . . . And he came to Nazareth . . . And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.

He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (verses 14-18).

Ladies, you can’t make blind people see. You can’t set prisoners free in your own natural strength. No one can. But God can. Now, you say, “That’s not the ministry God’s called me to. God’s called me to raise three kids.”

You know what? You can’t do that by yourself. You need the power, the ministry, the enabling of the Holy Spirit to love those children, to be patient with them, to train them, to model Christ-likeness to them. You need the Holy Spirit to do what God has called you to do—just as Jesus was dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission that God had given to Him.

That’s why, before Jesus went back to heaven, He said to His disciples in Acts chapter 1, “You will receive power.” Jesus had demonstrated that power. People in the Old Testament had demonstrated that power. Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (verse 8).

Remember what those first believers were like before the Holy Spirit came? They were scared to death, kind of like Gideon in the Old Testament. They were hiding in an upper room because of fear of the Jewish leaders.

But when the Holy Spirit came upon them, Peter—who had denied that he even knew Jesus—now stands up on the day of Pentecost and preaches a message. Then he’s thrown in prison, and he comes out of prison, and he goes back out and starts preaching Jesus again.

Where did he get the boldness? Where can you get the boldness, the power, to share Christ in the workplace? It’s the power of the Holy Spirit. In Acts chapter 4—actually, all through the book of Acts—we see the predominance of the power of the Holy Spirit in the early church.

Acts chapter 4 is one illustration: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (verse 31).

You can’t do anything of spiritual value apart from the indwelling power and filling of the Holy Spirit, and neither can I. And let me say this as well: With His supernatural empowering and enabling, there is not anything in the will of God that you can’t do.

You can love that husband. You can forgive that sister who’s wounded you so deeply. You can honor those parents who were not the parents they should have been. If it’s the will of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit living in you, you can obey God. His Holy Spirit will supernaturally enable you to do that as you depend not on your strength, not on your abilities, but on His.

The same Holy Spirit that enabled and empowered those believers in the Old Testament and the New Testament—the same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to do His ministry here on this earth—lives in you.

Is that incredible? And He will enable and empower you to serve God, to do things that you cannot possibly do, with His supernatural power.

So we serve Him not by might, not by power, not by our own strength, not by our own intelligence. We are common, ordinary, weak, frail, inadequate human vessels, but God lives in us by the power of His Spirit.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with more on the power of the Holy Spirit over sin.

It’s impossible to live a holy life apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. Nancy’s been showing us this all week, and you can order the week’s broadcast on CD. Better yet, order the entire series, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

Order the CD series at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call toll-free 1-800-569-5959. Now, let’s get back to Nancy’s teaching.

Nancy: So many Christians that I meet today—people we get letters from, people that I know personally—are striving, trying, struggling to get victory over their flesh.

And you know why I recognize it in other people? Because I’ve been there so often myself. We try to get victory over a sin habit, try to deal with an issue in our lives, and forget that it’s the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to overcome the gravitational force and pull of sin in our lives.

It’s the Holy Spirit that overcomes the pull of our flesh. Let me ask you to turn in your Bible to Romans chapter 7. I want us to look at this whole issue of the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit and why we’re so dependent on the Spirit of God to give us victory over sin and over the flesh.

I want to say that, for some of you, this may be the most life-changing thing you have heard in our whole session together. Some of you may have heard this before, but you need to be reminded of it.

You’re struggling and striving to get victory over your flesh when it’s there and available through the power of the Holy Spirit. We start in Romans 7, verse 15, where the apostle Paul says something that all of us can identify with.

He says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Verse 18, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” Can you relate to those thoughts? I sure can.

He says in verse 19, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Look at verse 21-22: “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being.”

You say, “I want to please God, I want to obey His law deep down”—that’s an evidence that you’re a child of God. “But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (verse 23).

So Paul says, “There’s this part of me that really wants to please God, and then there’s this law—like the law of gravity—that keeps pulling me down.” He calls it the law of sin and says, “It lives in me, and I find myself giving in to that law of sin and not giving in to the Spirit of God. What’s the problem?”

Verse 24: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Well, next we come to Romans chapter eight, a marvelous, incredible, full passage on the ministry of the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the pull of our flesh.

Romans 8, verses 1-2: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (NKJV).

What is he saying? The law of sin is powerful, but there is a law that is more powerful—that is, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Look at verse 5-8:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (NKJV).

A lost person cannot please God. He may be moral; he may be ethical; but he can’t please God. He’s living in the flesh.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

[And then such a powerful principle here] If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you (verses 9-11). 

How much power do you think it took to get Jesus alive from the dead? A lot. Supernatural power—but the same Spirit who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives in you and will give you power over sin, flesh, and the enemy.

Verse 12: “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” We don’t have to live according to the flesh. We don’t have to give in to the demands of our flesh. That’s one of the most liberating truths in all of God’s Word.

The fact is: I don’t have to sin if I’m a child of God. Now, it’s not saying I won’t. But the fact is: I don’t have to. The lost person can’t do anything but sin, but the child of God does not have to sin. He’s been set free from the dominion, the power, of sin.

If we sin, ladies, as children of God, it’s because we choose to sin. So he says, “We’re not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (verse 13).

But we have to understand, first, that it’s by the power of the Spirit of God that we overcome our flesh, that we overcome sin, that we overcome Satan—that we overcome the pull of those things in our lives.

These two laws that we’re reading about in Romans seven and eight have a parallel in two physical laws. One is the law of gravity, and the other is the law of aerodynamics.

Have you ever sat in one of those big jumbo jets—a Boeing 747, maybe—right before take off? And you’re thinking that there is no way that jet can overcome the law of gravity and fly you across the continent.

The law of gravity is powerful. That’s why that jumbo jet is sitting on the ground. The law of gravity is holding that jet on the ground. You’re thinking, “How’s it ever going to get off?”

So you fasten your seatbelt. You’re nervous, and you get more nervous as that plane starts to rumble down the runway. It goes faster and faster and faster, and it builds up momentum, and before you know it, that plane has lifted off the ground and up into the air and begins to soar.

Now all the while, as the plane is building momentum, the law of gravity is trying to keep that plane down on the ground, and you’re kind of wishing it would stay there. But there’s another law that is applied that lifts that aircraft off the ground, pulls it upward, and helps it to defy the law of gravity. That law is called the law of aerodynamics.

The law of aerodynamics enables the plane to be free from the law of gravity and to travel at 600 miles per hour up in the sky. The law of gravity is still present. It’s pulling on the plane, but as long as the law of aerodynamics is being applied, the force of gravity is being overcome. The plane can break free from the bonds of earth and fly 35,000 feet up above the earth.

Now, you don’t have to understand the law of aerodynamics to appreciate it, use it, and be helped by it. I can guarantee you, I’ve already told you more than I know about the law of aerodynamics. I don’t understand anything about how it works.

But I fly all the time. I trust that somehow that law of aerodynamics overcomes the law of gravity. So I get in a plane; I put on my seatbelt; I go up; I go to the next city. How does it happen? I don’t know.

How does the Spirit of God give us victory over the flesh? I don’t know. I don’t understand it. You can’t see it. You can’t explain it. But I’ll tell you one thing I have learned—and that is that we can exercise faith in the law of the Spirit to lift us up, over, and above the law of sin and death, to overcome the demands of our flesh, to overcome temptation.

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death. That’s exactly what Paul said to the Galatians in Galatians chapter 5. He said, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh” (verses 16-17).

Your flesh says, “Lose your temper.” The Spirit says, “Let me control that for you.” Your flesh says, “Eat.” The Spirit says, “Restrain yourself.” The flesh says, “Give your heart to that person who’s not your mate.” The Spirit says, “Be morally pure.”

And your flesh pulls so hard. The law of gravity is real. It’s powerful. But the Spirit opposes the flesh. These are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

And then he lists the works of the flesh—the things the flesh causes us to do: sexual immorality and impurity, sensuality, etc. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (verses 22-23).

You say, “I want those qualities in my life. That’s the kind of person I want to be, but I’ve got this law of sin, this law of my flesh, this law of gravity, pulling me down.”

What does the apostle Paul say? Walk by the Spirit. The law of aerodynamics overcomes the law of gravity; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus overcomes the pull of our flesh.

Walk by faith. Walk by the Spirit. Know and believe today that the Spirit of God can give you the power to overcome the law of your flesh—every temptation and every sin—by His power.

Leslie: If you’ve ever been discouraged about your weakness, I hope the words of Nancy Leigh DeMoss have given you meaningful perspective. Helping you live according to the power of the Holy Spirit is part our mission—helping women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

We recently heard from a listener who’s discovered a new sense of freedom. She wrote, “I was very much the epitome of the world’s woman.” This listener was overly focused on her career as a doctor, missing out on some important things God had for her.

After listening to Revive Our Hearts for three years, she wrote, “Nancy, your teaching of the whole counsel of God, with your emphasis on women and our wonderful roles for the kingdom of God and His glory, has helped transform and deliver me from the morass and mire of the United States’ cultural norms for women.”

Next October, thousands of women will gather from across the country to challenge some of those cultural norms. They want the freedom and fullness this listener described. They’ll learn how to find it as Nancy and other speakers challenge women to be all God created them to be.

There’s a place of you at this conference. So would you consider making plans to be there? Get more details on the True Woman ’08 National Women’s Conference by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com and clicking on “Conferences.”

If you’ve ever been confused by the teachings on the Holy Spirit, be with us tomorrow, when Bill Elliff helps us understand in a very straightforward way. Please join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.