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DAY ONE - The Fruit of the Spirit
This is another long section where Paul unpacks what it means to be alive in the Spirit of Jesus. The Holy Spirit changes you. You are transformed by the powerful presence of the Spirit in you.
From the very beginning, we have seen how one of the significant ministries of the Spirit is to create in us the life of Christ. You can call it the life of virtue, the character of Christ, the image of God. Here Paul uses the language the fruit of the Spirit. Paul sets this in sharp contrast with the kind of life that does not have the saving, transforming work of the Spirit taking place.
Look carefully at the acts of the flesh and contrast them with the fruit of the Spirit (vs. 19–23). Here is a rhetorical question: Which list do you want to describe who you are and who you are becoming?
Which of the “fleshy” characteristics are still too much a part of your life?
Which of the “fruit” characteristics are still too underdeveloped in your life? You may also want to look at 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 for Paul’s description of love. There is a good deal of overlap between the fruit and the qualities of love.
Are you being transformed the way you desire? And what is the new work of change you need the Spirit to do in you?Pray: Spend time in prayer asking the Spirit to change you. All day long, be alert to your fleshy tendencies. Every time you sense one beginning to emerge, ask the Spirit for strength to say no. Ask the Spirit to create in you the needed fruit.
DAY TWO - Live, Walk, Love, Grow in the Spirit
Even though you spent time on the Fruit of the Spirit, today you will explore the larger picture of this wonderful passage. Paul is describing what a healthy, good, and Spirit-empowered life is like. Make a list of the phrases and ideas Paul uses to describe such a life.
Even though you spent time on the Fruit of the Spirit, today you will explore the larger picture of this wonderful passage. Paul is describing what a healthy, good, and Spirit- empowered life is like. Make a list of the phrases and ideas Paul uses to describe such a life.
Did you notice how intensely RELATIONAL this passage is? In fact, isn’t that what the vice of the flesh and the virtue of the Spirit are all about? The interior moral qualities turn out to become the external relational dynamics of life. Who you are inside is how you relate on the outside.
Paul uses several phrases that will guide your prayer life today.
- Walk by the Spirit (vs. 16)
- Led by the Spirit (vs. 18)
- Live by the Spirit (vs. 25)
- Keep in step with the Spirit (vs. 25)
- Sow according to the Spirit (6:8)
Pray: Take each phrase and use it to form your prayer right now. Jot these phrases on a card, on your phone, or on a post-it note. Keep them prominently in front of you all day. Pray about these things all day.
Remember, this is how you will live, love, and relate with those around you. He is, after all, the Missional Spirit who is the means for the good things of God to run wild in and through you.
DAY THREE - He is the HOLY Spirit
1 Corinthians 3:16–17, 2 Corinthians 3:17–18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8
Okay, it’s time to allow the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to speak directly, clearly, powerfully, and with conviction to our hearts. May the Spirit begin to weave together the many themes you have been considering in this series: full of the Spirit, grieving the Spirit, quenching the Spirit, living in the Spirit.
The Spirit is called the HOLY Spirit —not the loving Spirit, not the forgiving Spirit, not the ______ Spirit, but the HOLY Spirit. The Spirit is all the things mentioned in this paragraph, but the dominant image through the entire Bible is that of HOLINESS.
We used to sing a song that said, “Holiness, holiness, holiness is what I long for.” I am not sure that is what many of us want to sing these days. The word sanctification means to be made holy. The Spirit of God sanctifies us, makes us holy. When we are not holy (like the deeds of the flesh), then we grieve the Spirit and we resist the transforming work, as well as blessing, of the Spirit.
If there is a single most striking departure of our lives from the holiness consistently described in Scripture, it has to do with our sexual lifestyles. Frankly, we are a sexual wreck as a culture. Our marriages suffer, our families suffer, we suffer, the people we use sexually suffer, and our entire culture deteriorates as degrading sexual practices spiral out of control.
The Spirit of God intends to create sexual holiness and purity in you and in the people of God. The Spirit of God intends to restore sexuality to the beautiful place it was meant to have.
This may be among the single most important steps of faithful obedience you will take that will launch you on a new growth pathway into the fullness of life with Christ. This may be the single most important change that will allow the good things of God to run wild through your life and the world around you.
Pray and Discern: What is the Spirit saying to you? What will you do? Will you choose holiness? Will you choose life in the Holy Spirit?
DAY FOUR - Life Together in the Spirit of God
Ephesians 1:13–14, 17; 2:14–22; 3:16
All of these passages are important. I want you to do a first skim read through each of them and look for every time the word you is used. You will find the word used about 10 times. This is crucial. Every time the word is used in the Greek, it is the plural you. We don’t have a separate plural you. Our you is used for singular and plural. In this passage, every reference about the work of the Spirit is for youse… all of youse (Pennsylvania Dutch, for those who are from outside south central PA).
We are in this Spirit life together. The Spirit is working in us together. We are a family, a community, a body, and literally, a holy, sanctified place where the Spirit dwells.
The Spirit is not simply transforming individuals—he is transforming a people. And he uses us in the work of transformation. Your life matters to me and my life matters to you.
Make a list of the work of the Spirit in all of us as you read through these passages a second time.
As you read the beautiful descriptions of the work of the Spirit in all of us, which ones grab your heart?
Pray: Pray for these realities to be yours and ours. Pray for Living Word to be this kind of Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-blessed community. Pray for the good things of God to run wild through us by the power of the Spirit.
DAY FIVE - A Reflective Pause
You have now done 5 weeks of devotional readings and reflections. We have come a long way in our conversations about the Holy Spirit.
We have seen (and hopefully experienced) the transforming work of the Spirit in us.
We realize the Spirit empowers us for life and ministry.
We know the Spirit makes us wise about the things of the Lord.
We know the Spirit is launching us out into the world as the missional friends of Jesus.
We know the Spirit is creating a way of holiness, godliness, and the virtues of Christ in us.
We know the Spirit is weaving our lives together with others in the new community called the Church.
We understand that the Spirit is the empowering Presence that brings into our lives all the salvation that Christ died and rose again to accomplish for us. The Spirit applies what the Father planned and what the Son accomplished.
What are the most powerful experiences, the most gracious gifts, and the wisest insights you have gained so far?
Note: For the final 2 weeks in our series we’ll be turning our attention to the gifts of the Spirit.
- Songs We Sing
Other Messages in Series