September 14, 2018
Victory Through the Fruit of the Spirit
1. Center Down
Before you begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “The fruit of the Spirit…” As you exhale whisper, “is love…”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures: (Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
[The prophet Isaiah sings to the people of God,] “For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks; until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.”
(Isaiah 32:14-16, ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26, ESV)
For further reading: Isaiah 32. Isaiah 57 and 58.
3. Concepts to Consider:
The prophet Isaiah and the Apostle Paul both knew that apart from the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God, humanity was given to self-destructive tendencies. Without the sustaining grace of God, humanity would have ended itself long ago. Paul paints for those who “belong to Christ Jesus” a more hopeful portrait of life. Because after the Ascension of Jesus, the church experienced an amazing, universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Joel and Isaiah had predicted and hoped for. This state was a return to what we see in Genesis Chapter 1, where the Spirit of God hovered over primordial creation. In the church, we see a “new creation” happening since the completion of Jesus’ redemptive work. It was a time of explosive growth, hope and miraculously restored lives, in short, a time of returning to the shalom that God had always intended for humanity. The church was to be the example of this restored Kingdom of Godon earth as it was already in heaven.
If we look carefully at Galatians Chapter 5, we see that the whole chapter is about Paul reminding the Galatian church of their true identity in Christ that is secured as “they walk in the Spirit.” As they keep step with the Spirit, then the self-referenced and destructive desires will begin to fall away, and they will be replaced by the very attributes of God Himself, the chief of which is LOVE. Notice that there is one, singular “fruit” of the Spirit. That is love; agape, God-like love, not grimy, sexually perverse “love.” The other attributes listed in verses 22 and 23 are outgrowths of this love. If I am exhibiting love, then I will experience and exude joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
And how do we do this? Paul gives us a clue: by “crucifying the flesh.” This means we offer ourselves daily as a living sacrifice on the altar of God’s truth. We surrender our lies. We lay down our false, self-referenced lives. We realize our ways are not God’s ways. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can’t even say, “Jesus is Lord.” Apart from Him, we can do nothing. (Luke 9:23, John 15:5, Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:1-3) In return for this surrender, what we find is that God reveals our true selves. We are restored and in our right mind. We are free indeed!
4. Reflection Question: (You are encouraged to write, draw, or respond however the Lord leads to the following inquiries. To share your musings in a public forum where others can dialog and process with you, please go to http://tiny.cc/victoryn30 ).
1. What area(s) of my life do I need to surrender to God so that I can begin to see the fruit of God’s love and
presence begin to grow and bloom in my life?
5. Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit among us. Thank You for redeeming and reconciling us back to You, through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for working to bear within us the fruit of the Spirit. You are an awesome and loving God!
Holy Father, we declare that we shall bear the fruit of Your Spirit in our lives. Our lives will be characterized by holy love, which is demonstrated through joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We declare that we are Your servants. Father, it is the infilling of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to be witnesses for You in the earth.
Holy Spirit, saturate every corner of our lives. We desire to become transformed through the renewing of our minds. Holy Spirit, fall fresh upon us! Help us to lay aside our own agendas and motives so that we can receive a direct impartation of Your power, wisdom, direction, correction, encouragement and love. Empower us to walk fully in the fruit of the Spirit.
Merciful Father, forgive us for at times grieving Your Spirit. Forgive us for acts of sinfulness such as: pride, rebellion, disobedience, selfishness, hatred, stealing, lying, sexual immorality, and idolatry. Forgive those of us who have not worshipped You in Spirit and in Truth. Forgive those of us who speak of the Holy Spirit, but do not allow Him to operate fully within us. Forgive those of us who have a form of godliness, but deny Your power. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.Lord of Heaven’s Armies, Your home reaches up to the heavens, while its foundation is on the earth. You draw up water from the oceans and pour it down as rain on the land. The Lord is Your Name! In the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture passages you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.
© Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. ©2017 Caldwell Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved — No reproduction of the material is permitted without the expressed permission of CMI.