A Fruitful Life

One work of the Holy Spirit in our life is to sanctify us by continually, although often slowly, replacing in us the negative attributes of our personality with His spiritual fruit.

 

Galatians 5:22-23 describes for us the fruit of the Spirit…”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

 

Sometimes, it is confusing to put the meaning of these words in simple terms. The definitions I like are:

Love – affection for others

Joy – exuberance about life

Peace – serenity

Patience – willingness to stick with it

Gentleness – compassion from the heart

Goodness – kindness that pervades our entire being

Meekness – humility and service

Self-Control – guided by the Spirit

Faith – trust that God knows what He’s doing

 

When I compare these to their opposites, the negative characteristics cause me to shudder. I certainly want no part of them in my character:

Envy, strife, hatred, bitterness, self-centeredness, pride, criticism, worry, depression, quitters and complainers, backbiters, and people who put work and fun ahead of God. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

 

The Good News is that the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us sanctifies us moment-by-moment! He replaces:

hatred with love,

depression with true joy,

discontentment with peace,

irritation with patience,

criticism with gentleness,

backbiting with goodness,

pride with meekness,

excess with self-control,

and worry with the faith of God as we are controlled and guided by His Spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we thank You for putting Your fruit in us in place of the negative traits we learned from others, those that are ingrained in our personality with which we are born, and those that we develop through the disappointments of life.

 

We give our life to You to mold and make into the divine nature of Christ as He abides within us. We want to be lights of Your character to the world around us, and to have the mind of Christ rather than the whims of our flesh, the world or the devil. Thank You for Your sanctifying work in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

God replaces our negative character traits with the fruit of His Spirit as we willingly submit to His surgeon’s scalpel, the Word of God, which divides our flesh from our spirit.

– Hebrews 4:12

 

Improving our Quality of Life

We clutter our life by collecting more than we need and things we rarely use. This lack of order effects our soul and spirit as well. We feel confusion within and are troubled by negative emotions because of the chaos.

 

A good rule to follow to prevent this malady is to make sure everything you purchase has a place and to keep everything in its place. Material possessions do not make us any happier and often contribute to our depression when they irritate us with clutter.

 

Keep each room sparsely furnished and make sure you have enough drawers, cabinets, closets and shelves to keep everything organized. If not, give it away to a friend or a charity thrift store.

 

This makes cleaning easier and more attractive to our soul, because we do not have to push the clutter around in order to dust or clean the floors. Seeking material possessions never really makes us happy.

 

We also feel more out of control if we reap too much debt in response to our spending. We tend to feel like a victim and ignore our personal responsibility in our problems.

 

Investing our life and finances in people, ministry and furthering God’s Kingdom is much more rewarding then spending it on more possessions. Mingling with our church family keeps us aware of their circumstances and burdens that we can help to relieve.

 

Prayer:

Father God, giving is a tradition during more than the Christmas season. Your generosity and love are ours all year around; and as we share them with others, we put a smile on every face, including our own.

 

Revive our Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10) with Your wisdom, love, peace and joy all through the year. Make us an instrument of Your love and a channel for Your peace on earth and in the hearts of others throughout our lifetime.

 

Thought for the Day:

Surrendering our budget, activities, thoughts and feelings to the Lord will keep us in a positive mood, which attracts more friends and improves our influence over our own life and the ministries in which we participate with our church family and in our community.

 

 

A Good Marriage – Common Ground

Winning is not the ultimate prize of life; it is the manner in which we finish the race that counts the most. It is often the last straggler across the finish line that receives the most attention, because they persevered to the very end.

 

Winning an argument is not necessary to feel validated either. We can concede that we are wrong, if indeed we are, without any shame or recrimination.

 

We have a viewpoint that differs from our employer’s, friend’s, neighbor’s, child’s, parent’s or spouse’s perspective; but no less right or wrong than theirs.

 

There is nothing heroic about destroying a marriage, because we soon realize that we were acting as pawns on Satan’s game board, playing right into his hands and wreaking havoc for generations to come.

 

If both parties in a disagreement are willing to bear with one another and to lay our life down for each other, there is always a way to peacefully resolve all issues and to avoid fighting and drama.

 

Neither of us is the enemy, we are simply fellow sojourners in this life with equal rights and privileges in the family of God. Quickly apologizing from the heart for any hurt we cause during a disagreement goes a long way in keeping unity in our relations.

 

Repairing our relationships is so much more mature than rending them in half and going our separate ways – leaving a trail of broken hearts and lives behind us. A trained counselor can help us to negotiate our differences.

 

Seeking wisdom from God’s Word and His Spirit during times of prayer can also help us to breach any gaps in our unity. We negotiate until we find common ground on which to stand.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You remind us not to separate what You bind together. You admonish us not to break any vow that we make, but to honor our commitment to one another with charity, patience and kindness. You want us to work together to find an equitable solution to any conflicts in our marriage, as well as in our affiliations at work and in Your Body.

 

Give us Your wisdom to maintain peace and to show Your agape love to those who wound us; to turn the other cheeks and to bear with one another’s idiosyncrasies and foibles. Give us patience to love one another as Christ loves the church; so we can represent living sacrifices as a testimony to an unbelieving world.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is nothing heroic in winning at the cost of someone else’s expense; but in laying down our life and serving one another with the love of our Father toward us.

 

Freedom from this Sin-Cursed World

Satan wants us to think that we are helpless victims. He is the god of anyone who has not converted out of his kingdom as a Believer in Jesus Christ. However, he has no authority over the life of an authentic Believer.

 

The devil is given authority by God (Job) to cause trials in our life; but God already planted a seed for a miracle in every trial. We simply wait for it by faith, knowing that God is always faithful.

 

This allows us to avoid health debilitating stress and to sidestep depression, anxiety and anger. We sail through the trials when we keep our mind focused on God’s love and benevolence through every moment of our experience.

 

When our flesh produces humanistic reasoning and doubts, it is trying to live independently from God. Our humanity feels as if it needs to stay in control of every situation; yet, Jesus is the only Savior of the world.

 

Our puny attempts to take His place, in our life or in anyone else’s life, is futile. It makes no real sense to endeavor to use our influence, talents, analytical abilities and mortal efforts to keep us and our loved ones safe.

 

In our first years of sanctification, life is still a struggle. Walking by faith and living in the control of the Holy Spirit every moment of the day is a habit we learn over time.

 

This attitude gets easier as we dwell with the knowledge that we continually live in the presence of Christ. All the power of the Godhead abides within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we want life to get easier when we accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; yet we deserve nothing but hell as the punishment for our sins. We forget that we warrant no other favors, because You already saved us from the torments of hell. Thank You for showering us with daily blessings anyway. Thank You for giving us the faith of Jesus Christ and for making us a new creation (Galatians 2:20).

 

You also saved us from the emptiness, loneliness and deprivation of life in this world. You give us peace even in turmoil, rest in the place of unrest; and joy in the midst of devastation. We can never thank You enough for intervening in our life and awakening our soul to the fact that our spirit was dead in sin and we needed Jesus as our Savior.

 

Thought for the Day:

We are no longer compelled to live a life enslaved by sin, our flesh, the world and Satan, because Jesus shed His blood to give us His Spirit of life.

 

 

 

God’s Transforming and Conforming Power

God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies us throughout our lifetime, until we are perfected according to His standard of the fullness of Christ in us (Ephesians 4:13). He makes us holy, even as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

 

We are fully human, but Christ in us is fully divine. God’s Spirit faithfully transitions us from one stage of God’s glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). He conforms us with the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2).

 

God’s Spirit slowly matures us until we completely share in the divine nature of Christ in us (Ephesians 4:13). We have the same chance, which Jesus did, to live a spirit-filled life.

 

Our identity is no longer dependent on our accomplishments or our human standing in this world. We are a King’s kid (Galatians 3), a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5) and heirs with Christ of the Kingdom of God (Romans 8).

 

God is a shield for us and gives us His glory to replace our humanity. He hears our cries for help, and He lifts up our head when we are discouraged and alone. He hears us even from His holy hill (Psalm 3:3-4).

 

We are different people from what we were before we trusted Jesus for salvation; and therefore, we make a huge difference in this world. People recognize that our attitude and demeanor are unique; they sense an aura of peace and kindness that is unlike their other acquaintances.

 

We mature in Christ as we relinquish total control of our life to Him. We trust God completely to direct our life according to His will and way, even if it is contrary to our human reasoning and understanding (Revelation 3:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are constantly calling, guiding and encouraging us to trust You with more and more of our life. Thank You for opening and closing doors which would divert us from Your chosen path for our life. Help us to wait patiently on You and not to jump ahead or lag behind Your divine timing.

 

Arrange divine appointments for us to impact lives in the sphere of our influence and to help them to come to a saving knowledge of Your Son, Jesus. Remind us to put our mind on heavenly things and to reject the carnal concerns with which the devil attempts to side track and discourage us. Help us to realize that Christ in us is greater than Satan and all of his ruses, lies and demons.

 

Thought for the Day:

When our soul is discouraged, anxious and overwhelmed, we can put our trust in God, and praise Him for what He has already done in our life (Psalms 42:11), and He will change our attitude, thoughts, feelings to line up to His Word and the fruit of His Spirit.

 

Maturing in Christ

When we attempt to overcome the sin in our life that so easily ensnares us, we often fall back into temptation; then we feel shame both for the sin and for failing to overcome it.

 

We are admonished to be holy as God is holy, yet we can only do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to give us both the desire and the power to walk in increasing realms of God’s glory each day (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

The foolish Galatians had to learn to trust God to sanctify them with the same faith that allowed them to trust Him for their salvation (Galatians 3:1-3). We are to live in this same manner.

 

Paul struggled with walking in a manner worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:10). The duality of flesh and Spirit within him kept him on a roller coaster most of the time (Romans 7); however, he finally realized that the Spirit of life in Christ already set Him free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

 

He no longer needed to struggle with sin, but to walk in the Spirit who frees us from the law of sin and death. As we draw near to God in dependence, worship and praise, then we resist the devil, and he is bound to flee from us (James 4:7-11).

 

Through Calvary’s cross, Christ exchanged His righteousness for our sin; we simply need to access this free gift by confessing our sin and trusting in Jesus for salvation (John 17:11-23; 1 Corinthians 6:17). Then, the Holy Spirit brings us into ever increasing maturity in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

We learn to walk in the Spirit each moment of the day, led by the still, small voice of God (1 Kings 19:12) within our spirit (Galatians 2:20). We know we are in God’s will when we follow that perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3), regardless of what our mind is telling us to do, or what conventional wisdom or human reasoning wants us to do.

 

Jesus gave us His righteousness and we now live as Jesus did in the world. We are an expression of His divine nature, because He lives within us (1 John 4:17; 2 Peter 1:4). This allows His living water within us to fill us to overflowing and to spill out into the world around us (John 7:38).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we thank You for Your vigilant watch care over us (Psalm 121:4). You protect us from Satan’s wiles and temptations (Ephesians 2:2). Help us to realize that Christ in us enables us to live a life free from the demoralizing and destructive sin that tries to entrap us (2 Corinthians 4:10-11) and to actually, factually not just positionally, live a holy life, just as Christ in us is holy (Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Corinthians 6:17).

 

Thank You for keeping us, strengthening us, guarding us from our flesh, the world and the devil (Isaiah 42:11; Psalm 4:8). We give You all of the praise and glory for the maturity we attain over our lifetime. We strive only to stop following our human reasoning and to enter Your rest (Hebrews 4:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

We no longer struggle with life on our own, because the Trinity of God abides within us, and the Holy Spirit gradually but consistently replaces our negative attributes with Christ’s righteousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Union with Christ – More than Religion

Christianity is not a religion. It is an intimate union with the Lord of Hosts who lives His divine life in and through every authentic Believer (1 Corinthians 6:17).

 

We do not earn a divine life in Christ by our good works; it is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-20; 2 Peter 1:4). Unless we grasp the fullness of our identity in Christ, we fall short of all that God wants to do in us and through us.

 

As God Word strengthens us, we overcome this world and we also live victorious lives over the wiles of Satan (1 John 2:14). We scatter the darkness by turning on God’s Light.

 

Deceiving thoughts flee at the mention of Jesus’ name. Satan cannot initiate anything in our life without God’s permission; and if we submit to God and resist the devil, he is obligated to flee from us (James 4:7).

 

Satan may try to distract us from serving God, but as we keep our mind on Christ, we remain in perfect peace as His Spirit leads us through each moment of the day (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7).

 

We keep our focus on spiritual aspects of life and the carnal, temporal issues fade into the background. We do not stress and strain after more of this world, but allow our spirit and soul to enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1-10).

 

We live to praise His name in our heart and mind as we go about the requirements of our day. We look for divine opportunities to share God’s love and life with those we meet throughout our day.

 

We let our light shine so that others will see Christ in us and glorify our Father God (Matthew 5:16). They will desire to have the same peace and joy in their life, which they see abiding in our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave all of Your spiritual blessings and everything pertaining to life and godliness, to Your Saints in the past, to those present with us now, as well as those which will be born in the future (2 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 2: 20-21). We honor You and give You all the praise and glory that is due to Your name.

 

You work Your power in us and You are able to do more in us and through us than we can ever imagine or accomplish for You on our own (1 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 3:16, 20; Colossians 1:11; 1 Peter 4:11). You give us an abundant supply of power for everything we need in order to sufficiently accomplish Your will for our life (2 Corinthians 3:5, 4:7, 9:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

We do not pound out a meager existence for our self in this life, but we live an abundant life through Christ in us. – John 10:10