Life in The Spirt
Recently one of our daily devotional readings was entitled TRUE SUCCESS. The writer had been interviewing a guest and made the comment “You’re inspiring thousands of people”. The guest promptly replied, “Not thousands…..MILLIONS” and then proceeded to remind the interviewer of all his credentials, titles he held, his qualifications, the myriad of things he had achieved and so much more about himself. The interview obviously became embarrassing and awkward. While success and achievements are good and titles have their place, what really matters is the kind of character we have. That is… Who we really are.
As people made in God’s image, we are called to follow His example. Its not about basing our success and significance on our achievements, or what is written on our business cards and resumes but how we are becoming like Him.
In Exodus 34 it tells how the Lord appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai. God did not announce Himself as the Great I Am, Almighty God, Majesty, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and list all the other amazing things He had done and created. He just announced Himself as the ‘compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness’. (Verse 6) It was not His credentials He spoke of but the kind of character He has and it’s our character that He is ultimately interested in.
God revealed to Moses his love, mercy, grace, compassion, faithfulness, forgiveness and justice. Things that we can all benefit from. We also give glory to God when our character resembles His.
Galatians 5: 19-26 shows us what is and what isn’t living life filled with His Holy Spirit to be like.
Its NOT living a life that involves the character traits listed in the above mentioned scriptures and it clearly states that those who continue to live this way will not inherit the kingdom of God (Verse 21).
We can all read these scriptures for ourselves and do a warrant of fitness check on our own character.
When we come to know Christ we recognize that some of our behaviour is unacceptable to God and we can ask for His forgiveness and help to overcome these. Others might be deep seated traits caused by loss of trust, violence, unfaithfulness etc and we can put up walls of ‘self protection’ to isolate or try to prevent these things from happening again. However, the person usually being hurt the most is ourselves and we also need to bring these things to the cross and ask the Holy Spirit for help to overcome these issues.
But Life in the Spirit produces character traits that are found in the nature of Christ. Traits that we need to develop in our own lives so that we are a reflection of Christs nature to those around us. We are called to be His ambassadors, a reflection of who Christ is to others
If we identify with any of the negative traits in Galatians 5 previously mentioned we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us. If we want the fruits of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our lives to His (See John 15:4-5) We must know Him, love Him, remember Him and Imitate Him.
The fruit of Gods nature ( Galatians 5:22-23) is one filled with LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS and SELF CONTROL.
Let us all desire to be filled afresh with God’s Spirit and to live our lives God’s way.
Life is not always easy and I don’t think through the century’s it ever has been. Today there are so many ‘options’ to sway us away from the ways God has ordained for us and I feel burdened for the younger generation, especially what they are being taught in our educational system and on social media. When I was a LOT younger! Probably in the late 1940’s to early 1960’s I believe about 80% of children in NZ had some sort of Sunday School or Church experience. Some years back I believe it was more like 15% and now probably less. Not so many years ago, one school teacher in a high decile school we had while doing ‘Bible” in Schools told us he was opposed to religious education in public schools and was an atheist, but was so glad we were there as in his experience the children had “no values or morals. There hearts and minds were seared.” This new generation desperately needs Jesus and living His way is one example to can be to them today. In John 18 :15-20 Jesus speaks of us being in this world but not of it. Probably in these last years before Jesus returns, and today more than ever before, ‘darkness’ tries to entice people. However, as children of light also more than ever we need to take a stand for what is Godly, Holy and Pure. Not to water down or compromise Gods word to placate others or to avoid upsetting people. Let us not be afraid to take a stand for righteousness. It may not make us friends and we could lose some but its God we need to please. We don’t have to be obnoxious or all defensive in sharing our faith with others but we do need to be firm in what we believe. We can be lovingly firm and uncompromising in sharing Gods truth.
Ephesians 6:13 "Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."
One song for you is on YouTube etc, and is 615 Come and Fill Me Up (Vineyard) . Another is Jesus is Living in Me by the Easters and if you are feeling down and discouraged then Jesus Loves You also by the Easters will help lift you up and encourage you
May we all be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit and be His blessing to those around us as we walk in His ways, His character and His amazing love and continue to stand uncompromisingly firm in His Word.
Be Blessed and be a blessing in all you do Malcolm