Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Day 334

Friday, November 30, 2012

Welcome to Day 334 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Romans 1; Romans 2; Romans 3 Romans 4 2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

romans_phixr

S cripture

Romans 1:20, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…

…so that people are without excuse.”

Verses 18-32 are some of the clearest and strongest verses about sin in all the Bible. Especially the New Testament.

Romans 2:29, “Circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.”

Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

30 “Since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.”

Romans 4:9, “We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.”

O bservation

Paul, in great detail compares Jews and Gentiles, the Law and faith… Uses Abraham is the model for justification by faith, not works (circumcision.)

A pplication

Paul also penned the verse “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no man can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Of course Paul is addressing Jews vs. Gentiles, circumcision and the Law vs faith.

As Gentiles (most of us reading this are…) we do not struggle with “circumcision” and it’s effect on our faith. For Jews however, this would be a huge struggle. Especially the early believers in Christ who were raised in the strictest Jewish traditions.

In Romans, Paul is making his case, not so much against circumcision, but for faith. That righteousness has little to do with circumcision… That if an uncircumcised Gentile keeps the law, they are more of a Jew than a Jew who is circumcised and ignores the Law.

But we have our own struggles today… The same struggle of trying to keep the Law. Not necessarily Jewish Law as they did… but even the Ten Commandments. It’s not possible to keep them. The problem is (as Paul will get to eventually) if you break one law, you have broken them all. One is a law-breaker and no longer worthy of salvation. That “there is none righteous, no not one.”

That righteousness is imparted by faith in what Christ has done. He paid the price for us. He took our place. He is “the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.”

Yet the Jews largely rejected Jesus as the Messiah… so then the Gospel was taken to the Gentiles. Throughout the Epistles, the topic of whether or not the Gentiles needed to be circumcised was addressed. Generally speaking, it was agreed and taught that they did NOT need to be circumcised. On occasion, however, it was seen as advantageous. (Like Timothy, whose father was Greek, but his mother was a Jew. He was not circumcised until Paul was about to take him on a missionary trip and Paul thought it important enough that he circumcised him.

checklist

All that aside… my point is that we all still struggle at some level with keeping the Law or attempting to earn our righteousness, even our salvation.

It may be more subconscious than conscious… Yet if you ask the average person on the street, “How do you get to heaven?” More often than not they will say, “Be a good person” or “Keep the Ten Commandments.”

It is only through faith in Christ.

Period.

I can’t earn it.

Having said that, James addressed faith without works as being “dead.” Our works are a bi-product of our faith. They may prove our faith…

…but they don’t earn our salvation.

P rayer

Thank you Lord for the work you did on the cross… of purchasing my salvation, of paying the price for my sins.

man-praying1

Day 333

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Welcome to Day 333 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Thessalonians 4; 1 Thessalonians 5; 2 Thessalonians 1; 2 Thessalonians 2; Thessalonians 3 2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for

this is God’s will for you

in Christ Jesus.”

28 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

2 Thessalonians 1:2, “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

12 “We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 2:16, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

2 Thessalonians 3:11, “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”

O bservation

Grace is a recurring theme in Paul’s letters… He often opens and closes with “grace and peace to you.” He also referred to grace throughout…

A pplication

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”

Where would I be without the grace of God?

I can’t imagine.

Grace is simply defined as “God’s unmerited favor.”

Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve. Mercy.

Mercy is God NOT giving us what we do deserve. Punishment.

It’s because of his grace that I stand. It’s because of his grace that I am still alive, married, not in jail… able to help others, leading others in worship.

It’s only because of his grace.

It’s only because of your grace Lord…

P rayer

I am so thankful. Your grace is amazing…

 

“He who has the Son, has life.” 1 John 5:12

Day 332

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Welcome to Day 332 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Matthew 28; 1 Thessalonians 1; 1 Thessalonians 2; 1 Thessalonians 3 2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Matthew 28: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

1 Thessalonians 1:8, “The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.”

1 Thessalonians 2:11, “You know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

1 Thessalonians 3:6, “Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love.”

O bservation

Our lives send a message…

A pplication

I wonder what my life-message is?

I know what I want it to be… I know what I think it should be, but is that I message I send?

If Timothy visited with me and reported back to Paul, what would he tell him? Would he bring Paul good news about my faith and love?

Jesus was pretty clear with the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the Law… Their life-message was different from what they taught. How they lived and what they taught didn’t match.

Jesus called them hypocrites… whitewashed tombs. That they looked good but were “full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” Matthew 23:27.

That’s quite an indictment, isn’t it…

Has my faith in God been made known everywhere? Not just because I put it on Facebook… but when people read my life. What they see… what others say about me. What is my reputation. Is it a reputation of faith and love?

What Jesus had against the religious leaders was that they loved to pray for a show. Jesus said they would “tithe of their mint, dill and cumin.” They looked the part. They even did some good things… But they neglected “the weightier matters of the Law. Mercy, justice and faithfulness.” Note to self.

Remember when Jesus was teaching about the Good Samaritan? The priest and the Levite walked right past the man in need. It was the Samaritan who stopped to help. (Keep in mind, the Jews loathed the Samaritans. They were kind of Jewish “wannabes.” But the Jews wouldn’t even speak to them.)

In John 4, when Jesus was speaking to the woman at the well, she was, you guessed it, a Samaritan. In John 4:27 the disciples were surprised that Jesus was talking with her.

When I am doing my SOAP exercise, especially the Application portion, I am always asking myself the question, “What does this mean to me today? How does this apply to my life?” When I am teaching, I try to answer the most basic question I think people ask…

“So what?”

What does David killing Goliath have to do with me?

What does Peter walking on water have to do with me?

What does Jesus’ death have to do with me?

Why does any of this matter to us today?

That’s what application is all about. Finding the timeless principle within any passage and applying that to my life.

I often see the glaring what NOT-to-dos… I often make a “Note to self.”

Note to self… Don’t do that. Do this instead.

Learn from the mistakes of the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the Law.

Learn from what people were commended… like when Timothy reported back about the faith and love of the Macedonians. How they “became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”

You get the point.

That’s a pretty good goal… to “become a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”

P rayer

Lord help me to become a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia… and Dayton.


Day 331

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Welcome to Day 331 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Psalms 125; Matthew 26; Matthew 27 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Psalm 125:1, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”

Matthew 26:10, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”

33 “Peter replied, ‘Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.'”

41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

67 “Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said,

‘Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?'”

Matthew 27:22, “‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ Pilate asked. They all answered,

‘Crucify him!'”

O bservation

It’s hard to imagine how Jesus was treated…

A pplication

I was fully prepared to talk about the poor… about the woman’s expensive offering. How the people responded to her act of worship and generosity. (I came across an interesting harmony study of all four accounts of Jesus being anointed… Worth looking at. CLICK HERE to check it out.)

But I can’t ignore the power of the images within the text of Jesus being mocked…

“Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?'”

… thereby fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy, “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. (50:6.)

I don’t recall every having someone spit in my face. You see it a lot in movies… I did get slapped once (or twice…) when I was younger, but not in a mocking manner.

As I read that verse, I had an overwhelming feeling… a sense of what it must have been like for Jesus. The humiliation… the torment… culminating with a crown of thorns and a purple robe being placed upon him as they mockingly hailed him as “King of the Jews.”

I know Christmas is just around the corner… this is the Easter story… But these stories are not separate. Jesus’ birth and death are both critical pieces of the puzzle.

Virgin birth.

Crucifixion.

Raised from the dead.

Let’s keep in mind through this holiday season why Jesus was born. Why he came. His purpose was to show us the Father. (John 14:8-11.)

And to die for our sins…

So that we could live.

“The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” Luke 2:10-11

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.” Isaiah 9:6-7

P rayer

Thank you Father that you sent your son to die for me…

Day 330

Monday, November 26, 2012

Welcome to Day 330 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Matthew 23; Matthew 24; Matthew 25 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Matthew 23:3, “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

“Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees,

you hypocrites!”

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and

you were not willing.”

Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Matthew 25:12, “He replied, ‘Truly I tell you,

I don’t know you.'”

O bservation

Hypocrites. You were not willing. I don’t know you.

A pplication

Blind guides, brood of snakes and vipers, greedy, self-indulgent, wicked… wow…  (That’s the short list.) I could go on, but I think I’ll stop there. Point has been made…

Jesus had very few kind words for the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the Law.

Included in his series of “woes” are these two statements.

1. “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” and, 2. “You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

Well, I’m encouraged this morning…

I always try to blog on what jumps out at me… that’s the idea, right? But today feels very heavy to me. This really saddens my heart…

How does this apply to me? Well, I just wonder what Jesus would say about me… how I treat people. How I teach… do I live it or just teach it. Am I a hypocrite? Would I be numbered with them, or am I different.

I sure hope so.

And I’m not looking for validation… I am pretty self-aware… I know my strengths and weaknesses better than anyone.

What I don’t know is what Jesus would say to me

I guess I’ll find that out at some point, when I stand before him. (I am not in fear over this… just wondering.)

P rayer

Lord, help me to not be one who shuts the door of the kingdom in people’s faces. I want to be a door opener!

 

Day 329

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Welcome to Day 329 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Matthew 20; Matthew 21; Matthew 22 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Matthew 20:30, “Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”

Matthew 21:10, “When Jesus entered Jerusalem,

the whole city was stirred

and asked, ‘Who is this?'”

Matthew 22:36, “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

O bservation

I wonder what it must have been like for Jesus riding into Jerusalem on that donkey?

A pplication

Have been thinking about Jerusalem… The city itself.

Reading today how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, a city rich with history, centuries old…

And it’s still there today.

Can you believe it was founded 5,000 years ago? If you ask most people what is our oldest city in the U.S., most people would say Roanoke Colony in Virginia, founded in 1585. (Even though a couple of other cities were founded earlier, including Saint Augistine, FL and Childersburg, AL, visited by de Soto in 1540).

Cahokia, IL was occupied in 650 AD by a now-extinct Native American Tribe. There are also a couple of cities in New Mexico and Arizona that date back to 1000 AD.)

What’s my point?

Our oldest (European-founded) city only goes back less than 500 years, and mostly just to 1585. Jerusalem dates back to 3000 BC!

And you can still walk the streets there…

During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times!

And it’s still there.

A testimony to God’s faithfulness to His promises, and to His people.

I think want to visit Jerusalem sometime. (I never had the desire to go, until just now.)

Something clicked inside me as I read about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey… (Not like I’ve never read that story before!)

… and the whole city was stirred…

I shall have to commit this to prayer…

P rayer

Lord I believe you will make a way for me to visit Jerusalem… If it is your will.

Day 328

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 328 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Matthew 17; Matthew 18; Matthew 19 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Matthew 17:26, “Jesus said to him. 27 ‘…go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.'”

Matthew 18:15, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault,

just between the two of you.

If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

Matthew 19:27, “Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?'”

O bservation

God can provide for my needs any way he chooses…

A pplication

Seriously? Catch a fish with a coin in its mouth?

Ok, I get it… Peter was a fisherman and Jesus is trying to make a point.

Notice he didn’t use the “let down your nets for a miraculous catch” technique, that could be sold to pay the tax. No, catch ONE fish and it will have a coin in its mouth.

I’ve heard fish tales, but this one is a whopper!

Imagine being Peter… a man’s man. A fisherman by trade.

I bet he had never caught a fish with a coin in its mouth before…

Imagine Peter recounting this story to his buddies over dinner….

“No, seriously, he told me to go catch a fish and there would be a four drachma coin in its mouth. And there was!”

Riiiiight…

No, seriously! I’m not kidding you…

What a great story of provision.

He still used Peter’s skill, but taught him a very valuable lesson, too.

P rayer

Thank you Lord that you can and will provide for me in creative and unusual ways!

 

Day 327

Friday, November 23, 2012

Welcome to Day 327 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Matthew 14; Matthew 15; Matthew 16 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Matthew 14:13, “When Jesus heard what had happened [John the Baptist beheaded], he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

Matthew 15:15, ”

Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 ‘Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20

These are what defile a person;

but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.'”

Matthew 16:9, “Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

O bservation

It’s so easy to simply “miss the point.”

A pplication

I feel for the disciples at times.

How cool would it have been to hang with Jesus for three years, seeing all the miracles, hearing his teaching firsthand.

And not getting it…

“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Oh, no! (“He’s upset because we didn’t bring any bread.”)

Seriously? Jesus had just five thousand people with five loaves, and four thousand with seven loaves…

I’m sure he was stressed about bread.

The Pharisees and Sadducees’ teaching was amiss, being more concerned about human traditions like hand-washing, than keeping God’s word. And Jesus called them out on it.

But it’s so easy to miss it… The Pharisees and Sadducees knew the Law, but had a knack for misapplying it. The disciples are easy targets because their ignorant statements are forever recorded in scripture.

I’m glad mine aren’t!

Aren’t you?

P rayer

Lord help me to get it…

 

Day 326

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Welcome to Day 326 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Matthew 11; Matthew 12; Matthew 13 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Matthew 11:18, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”

27 “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son

and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Matthew 12:11, “He said to them, ‘If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.'”

Matthew 13, the parable of the sower and the seed.

O bservation

“No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son

and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

A pplication

Jesus reveals the Father to us.

His disciple, Philip, said, “Show us the father and that will be enough.” Jesus responded with, “I have been with you so long!” Then Jesus made a bold statement…

“If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

That’s bold.

And that was Jesus’ mission… to reveal the Father.

P rayer

Jesus, reveal the Father to me…

Day 325

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Welcome to Day 325 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Matthew 8; Matthew 9; Matthew 10 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Matthew 8:34, “Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but

they begged him to go away and leave them alone.”

Matthew 9:18, “As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt before him. ‘My daughter has just died,’ he said, ‘but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.'”

Matthew 10:19, “When they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

O bservation

It’s easy when reading Matthew to read it as though this is one long series of events happening moment by moment rather than events happening over time. Matthew records events over a three-year period.

A pplication

Matthew 10:2 states, “When they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

I wonder how that works… the Spirit of my Father speaking through me…

Is it specific to that circumstance? Do I have to be arrested in order for the Spirit of my Father to speak through me? Is that ongoing at all times? Or only certain circumstances that it turns on and off?

What does it look like to “walk in the Spirit?” Galatians 5.

Am I simply filled with the Spirit and it/he thereby just simply speaks through me? Do I have to consciously make the decision to walk in the Spirit or does it happen automatically?

These are the things I wonder about…

I do think there is a conscious decision that needs to be made. I know I choose my words. I choose how/where I walk, day in and day out.

I have a propensity to over-think things. Sometimes my ponderings get the best of me…

But I happen to think these are concepts worthy of pondering.

How am I going to teach others or model to others what it means or looks like to walk in the Spirit if I don’t know myself.

I certainly know what the “works of the flesh” look like (also Galatians 5). There is a long list that is quite the opposite of what it looks like to live according to the spirit.

Walking in the Spirit yields what is called the “fruit” of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The byproduct of living according to the Spirit or living a Spirit-filled life.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious…” (Galatians 5:19-21). “Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”

OK, that’s pretty clear. I know if I don’t do those things, I am more likely to be walking in the Spirit…

But what about my words as Jesus talked about?

Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Notice that sandwiched between the exhortation to build one another up and getting rid of anger, etc, there is a simple phrase, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”

When we tear others down, or walk in anger we grieve God’s heart.

So, by not tearing others down or allowing unwholesome talk come out of my mouth, I am increasing my odds that it actually is the Spirit speaking through me.

I certainly know when it’s not the Spirit speaking through me.

And so do you.

P rayer

Lord give me words that would build others up! Help me to walk in the Spirit…

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