Missional Family: Receive

Welcome to the third installment in my series on becoming a missional family. If you missed part 1: What is a Missional Family? or part 2: Missional Family: Bless, go back and read them now!

Now we’re ready to jump into the second part of the BREAD model for missional Christian living: Receive.

Receiving the Holy Spirit is an essential part of being a family on mission for Christ, there’s no way around it! But inviting and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives is not always the easiest thing to do, so today we’re going to talk about what receiving the Holy Spirit means, how it helps, and I hope you’ll be inspired to put this piece of the BREAD model for missional Christian living into practice in your own family!


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TLDR: Here’s a brief video my husband and I made together about receiving the Holy Spirit

A missional family relies on the Holy Spirit.

The R in the BREAD model for missional Christian living stands for Receive.

A missional family is intentionally receptive to the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to receive the Holy Spirit?

“Receiving the Holy Spirit” may sound a little hokey, but it’s actually very simple and it’s exactly what we, as Christians, are ALL supposed to be doing!

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His followers in John 14:15-17. He said

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

That promise was given to Jesus’ disciples, but the promise is for us, as His followers today, too!

How do we receive the Holy Spirit?

So, how do we receive the Holy Spirit? It’s simple. With sincere and expectant hearts, we ask God to send the Holy Spirit to be with us.

God has already given us the promise, through Jesus, of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and Luke 11:13 promises that He will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask.

Listen to the Holy Spirit

Since we know that God will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask Him, what next? Well, we have to listen to find out what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us! This means setting aside special time to just listen. Mamas, I know you don’t have tons of extra quiet time in your lives. I don’t either. But planning for some quiet moments weekly just to spend time listening to what God might be telling you after you pour out your heart to Him.

How to recognize the Holy Spirit in your life

Back in John 14, we read that seeing and knowing the Holy Spirit are important keys for receiving the Holy Spirit. To recognize the Holy Spirit and know (be able to discern the difference between the Holy Spirit and other influences on our lives) Him, we have to be intentional about spending time with Him. The Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead, and to get to know one part helps us to see and know the others. Any time spent with God will help you to recognize the Spirit and His fruits in your life.

Not sure if what you’re hearing is the Holy Spirit? Check what you’re feeling moved to do against what the Bible tells us plainly are the “fruits” (outcomes) of the Spirit in a Spirit-driven life. The list is found in Galatians 5:22-23, but the passage from Galatians 5:13-25 is helpful for discerning the work of the Spirit in our lives.

Ultimately staying connected through prayer, Bible study, and spending time in companionship with God is the best way to learn to recognize His voice and the workings of the Holy Spirit. Just like we learn to recognize the voices and behaviors of our kids, spouses, family members and close friends, we can learn to recognize God’s voice and actions in our own lives–if we regularly spend time intentionally getting to know Him better.

A note on feeling discouraged

You may feel like when you take time to listen to the Holy Spirit that you don’t hear anything at all.

That can be discouraging, I’m not going to lie. I’ve felt it many times and I went through a big part of my life feeling like I just wasn’t one of those people that the Holy Spirit speaks to.

I still have days like that. But just in the past few months since I have really been more focused than every before on intentionally seeking the Holy Spirit, I have learned a couple of important and ultimately life-changing things:

  1. God can initiate communication just as well as (actually a whole lot better than) I can. 
  2. The way the Spirit speaks to me isn’t always the way I’m expecting to hear Him.

My husband pointed this out to me fairly recently, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since: Sometimes we think that God will only communicate with us during the time we make in our schedules to spend with Him, but in reality He can talk to us whenever He wants to. It’s pretty obvious, actually, but I’ve spent a big chunk of my life functioning as though I’m the only one with the contact info, and He’s waiting on my call before He speaks up.

The truth is that God sometimes initiates communication in ways that we aren’t expecting, and if we’re not intentionally cultivating our relationship with Him, we may not even recognize. Sometimes, yes, people hear God’s voice quite literally speak to them and tell them exactly what to do. But then there are a lot of us out there that don’t have the pleasure of that kind of direction on a regular basis.

It’s okay either way.

God speaks through angels (sometimes we recognize them as such and sometimes we don’t), opportunities, closed doors, other people, and so much more. Sometimes the Holy Spirit works through our thoughts and feelings alone to inspire and influence us, and sometimes He works through outside influences.

If you’re not sure what the Holy Spirit is saying to you, or if the Holy Spirit is even speaking to you–don’t give up. Just keep your eyes, ears, and heart open. Have faith that the Spirit dwells with you and is in you. And take action when you recognize His voice, whenever that is.

The Holy Spirit is essential for the missional family.

Without the Holy Spirit, there’s no way your family can be on mission for God. The Holy Spirit is the one who tells us whom we should be attempting to reach, how to reach them, and gives us the words or inspires the actions to make it happen. Missional people don’t make disciples–the Holy Spirit makes disciples.

If you want your family to live on mission for Christ, ask for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your family, and wait expectantly for Him to show up! Start living with the expectation that you’ll hear from God and listen for His voice. He won’t let you down.


If you enjoyed this post, check out:

Missional Family: What is a Missional Family?

Discipleship Parenting: Getting Started with the Basics

3 Reasons Why You Should be Having Family Worship

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