Friday, February 18, 2011

Week 4 - The Work of the Spirit

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
John 17:21

How can oneness ever be possible in the Body of Christ or in the world when we are all so different? How can we ever achieve this?
We can’t. Only the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus Himself – can accomplish making us one.

God has given us some compass points, however, so that we can tell if our lives are directionally correct in terms of being formed more in the image of Jesus. Some of these points, we often refer to as the “fruits of the Spirit.” Galatians 5 lists them simply for us:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” [Galatians 5:22, 25]

These things – love, joy, peace, patience, and so on – are not a to-do list for the spiritual. They are precisely the things we cannot do; they are the results of the Spirit’s work in us. What God is telling us all along, over and over, throughout Scripture is, “You cannot do it yourself – and, you do not have to. I am here.”

So, the work of becoming one with God and one another is the work of opening ourselves up to God’s transforming presence and power in our lives. It is allowing the Spirit to work with freedom and creativity in us so that the world, and we as a part of it, comes to experience the fullness of life in God.

The Real Question: Where do I try to perform my way into holiness rather than simply allowing God to do His work in me? How can I let go today to give the Spirit more freedom to work in me?

Family Talk: Ask your kids to take in a deep breath, hold it and then slowly let it out. Remind them that God’s Spirit is much like the air we breathe. It is God living in us that makes it possible for us to be one with God and one another.

ONE in Prayer: God, You see me and know me. I invite your Spirit to come into my heart and life in a new way and I ask You to work freely in me to accomplish what only You can do. And I know that this will be very good. Amen.

There was a time when life turned upside down and some my Lakeland family came to my home to pray for me. I remember being overwhelmed seeing them come into my home one at a time there to just “be” with me. The moment we started praying I couldn’t stop weeping the pain of everything came rushing forward and through the barriers I was trying to hide it behind. Suddenly a calm came about me and the weeping stopped and I just felt like it wasn’t a bunch a friends there praying for me but the arms, hands and face of God in that room living that moment with me. Feeling God isn’t something we often get a chance to tangibly do. I did that day. Each and every one of those women represented God’s love for me.  
- Tracie

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