“God made your body to do this.” As I prepared for the natural birth of my daughter last year, midwives encouraged me to repeat this truth during labor. I pulled those words over me like a warm blanket every day before my daughter arrived. But when the contractions intensified, I felt like a fool for ever believing them.
“What made me think I could do this on my own?” I cried. As I doubted my ability, my muscles tightened up and labor became unbearable. I had not only forgotten the truth; I had forgotten the One who empowers me to live the truth.
The mental battles of labor remind me of the fight of faith we engage in every day. As believers, we often forget we are new creations, born again by his Spirit, created for good works he prepared for us to do long before we ever thought of them (Eph. 2:10). We were made to obey our heavenly Father even through the hardest times. But how can we do this when faithfulness feels out of reach?
The answer lies in the third person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit. When we remember him and all that he provides for us, we can persevere through the difficulties of the Christian life.
Jesus Called the Holy Spirit the Helper
Before his death, Jesus assured his disciples that it was good for him to leave because after he was gone, the Father would send the Holy Spirit. He would be a Helper to them, the Spirit of truth. And he wouldn’t just be with them; he would be in them (John 14:16–17).
If we’ve ever felt foolish for thinking we could lead godly lives, we were onto something. We cannot obey God without our Helper. The apostle Paul confirms this with his challenge to the Galatian believers: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).
When we try to follow God in our own strength, it will always be too hard. When we remember the gift we received upon believing, he recharges our souls with hope. Suddenly the impossible becomes possible. The heavy burden becomes light. We realize God's not asking us to follow him on our own; he gave us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us for the journey.
Believe in the Power of God at Work in You
If we were to read the New Testament and highlight every mention of the Holy Spirit, we’d be amazed by how vital his work is to the kingdom of God. He empowers the whole operation. Consider Luke 4:1: “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.” Even Jesus relied on him to complete his fast in the wilderness. No one walked a harder road than Jesus. This teaches us how to follow in the footsteps of Christ—we must rely on the Holy Spirit.
To the woman struggling to share her faith, remember the Holy Spirit empowers faithful witnessing. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
To the despondent woman, remember the Holy Spirit originates Christian hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom. 15:13).
To the woman stuck in a pattern of sin, remember the Holy Spirit is your way of escape. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
To the woman burdened by the cost of discipleship, remember the Holy Spirit facilitates your worship. “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22–23a), which means we cannot embody his nature without his help.
Let’s Give Him More of Ourselves
Often we think we need more of God in order to live well for him. Yet if we are in Christ, we already have complete access to God through the Holy Spirit. So instead, let’s consider how we can offer more of ourselves to him. The more we surrender ourselves to God, the more we experience his power at work.
Instead of mustering up strength to do the hard thing before us, let’s pray. Let’s acknowledge our inability to obey and trust the Holy Spirit to be right here in us, providing all the power needed to be faithful. Let’s confess our need for his promised help and then yield to his gentle leadership.
As we pray, we’re asking him to keep his word and remembering that in Christ, we already have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). We’re praying for something God’s already eager to give. We can expect to receive it. As we remember this, praise springs up from our hearts and our lips—and this is the sweet spot of prayer. This is the point in which the Holy Spirit causes us to hope again.
And with fresh faith, we’re ready to offer him our bodies. We give him our lips to speak a kind word and we offer our feet to move closer to the person we offended. We’re capable of wrapping our arms around the belligerent child. We yield our pride, our comfort, or our own self-centered desires to the way the Lord wants to love through us.
As John the Baptist put it, Jesus must increase and we must decrease (John 3:30). We only move forward in Christlike obedience when we get out of the way.
Relax and Remember We’re Born Again Through the Spirit
In order to labor well, I had to relax and breathe through one more contraction. I had to let my body do what it was made to do. As I clung to the truth that God was with me and that I could be strong in him, my body relaxed and I was able to take one more, deep, long breath.
Today God calls us to relax and remember the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. We were reborn by his power to live righteously before God. Because of him, we can live out our faith. Repeating truths like the following can help us persevere when this feels impossible:
I am a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
I have the Holy Spirit in me (Rom. 8:11).
He gives me strength to obey, even when it’s difficult (Ez. 36:27).
I can be loving through the Holy Spirit who’s already poured his love into my heart (Rom. 5:5).
I can be patient (or kind, or generous, or faithful, etc.) because he is patient (Gal. 5:22–23).
There’s nothing too hard for my God (Jer. 32:17).
Let’s trust him to empower us to do the next good work he’s already prepared us to do and take his lead as we go about our days in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).
Meet the Author
Laura Hardin is host of The Ponder Podcast and creator of Nourish(ed), a monthly newsletter dishing out soul-nourishing content to women hungry for God. She resides in Maryland with her husband and four children. Connect with her on Instagram.