Experiencing the Spirit today
July 31, 2017 at 6:00 AM
Luke Society intern Bethany Muyskens poses for a photo with Vida en Abundancia director Jose Luis Guerrero and his wife, Laura.
(Editor's note: Bethany Muyskens of Sheldon, Iowa, recently completed her junior year at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, where she is a biology-health professions major. She is interning at Vida en Abundancia de Mexico in Jalapa this summer and periodically will be submitting blogs about her experience.)
Experiencing the Spirit today
By Bethany Muyskens
I have been home for a few days now, and much of that time has been spent explaining how I spent my summer. People want to know what I did and hear all my stories.
The one question that I dread is, “What did you learn?”
As I try to process the last six weeks, many things I’ve learned come to mind — Spanish, what real Mexican food tastes like, how to navigate an airport — but I think the biggest take away from my time in Mexico was how to depend on the Holy Spirit.
In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus explains that the most important thing in a Christian’s life is to love God. The thing that struck me in Mexico was that to love God is to listen to Him. Although I have always known this truth, being in alone in a new culture where you don’t speak the language or know the customs forces you to be alone with God in a new way.
As I examined the culture, I saw people listening to God and seeking His will in new ways. I wondered how they seemed to be so certain of God’s call and so filled with the fruits of the Spirit. Then I realized that it was exactly this — the Spirit — guiding and providing for these Christians in their daily lives.
As I read and studied more about the Holy Spirit in the Bible and a book by Francis Chan, I noticed that my life, and American faith in general, lacks this yearning for the Spirit in the moment. We focus on God’s will for us in the future, but what about His will for us right now?
Chan puts it this way: “I think a lot of us need to forget about God’s will for my life. God cares more about our response to His Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today’s decisions. It is easy to use the phrase ‘God’s will for my life’ as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next 10 minutes. It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day.”
In Mexico, I witnessed people longing to follow the Spirit’s guiding each day. In return, the Holy Spirit provided them with abounding love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control which they allowed to overflow to every person they met. The ministry of Vida en Abundancía is so successful because of this overwhelming dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Looking back, I know it was God’s Spirit calling me to go to Jalapa. He equipped me with the skills I would need. He gave me peace through the uncertain circumstances. He spoke to me through scripture and through interactions with people. He provided me with love for the people of Mexico, joy for daily mundane tasks, and peace in every changing circumstance.
Most of all, He taught me to depend on Him for my daily needs, and He continues to shape me into the person I was made to be. I just have to keep listening.