How does the Holy Spirit fit into our lives? John Wesley describes grace as having 3 components:
1. Prevenient grace
From birth God's grace prepares us for new life in Christ. The Holy Spirit goes before us (prevenient) preparing us in order to bring us to faith. Consider the image of a path that leads to our spiritual house. It is on the path where God pursues us. The Holy Spirit goes before us, pursuing us in gentle and love ways. How might that look and feel?
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32
2. Justifying grace
We accept this grace offered to us and come into new life in Christ. Justifying or Accepting Grace describes the way we receive forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life when we repent and ask forgiveness. Consider the image of a porch at the end of the path where God has been pursuing us. At the porch of our spiriutal house we receive God’s forgiveness of sin and accept Christ as Lord. This is the grace that brings us to faith and salvation. This comes to people at various times – some are young, some are not.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not form ourselves, it is the gift of God --not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
3. Sanctifying grace
After accepting God's grace, we move into God's sanctyifying or sustaining grace. This is the beginning of our new life in Christ. Day to day we are being made perfect in love and motives. In our image we've moved from the path and from the porch to the inside the house where we open every room of our lives to the Holy Spirit. This grace accepts us for who we are but wants to make us better. Our goal is to open all the rooms of our spiritual house so that God can heal the broken places and motivate us to leave the places where we are stuck.
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)
When we are willing to open all of our rooms for Christ, we will have transformed lives. The key to real peace and happiness is inviting the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and walk with us every day.