This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff Mazzariello.
Pastor Jeff Mazzariello
ENCOUNTER: Read Galatians 5:16-25
“The acts of the flesh are obvious... But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." - Gal:5:9 and 22
It is freeing to realize that this passage isn't exhorting us to be MORE loving, or MORE joyful, etc. It is actually describing something. It is describing what the spirit is producing in the life of a believer in Christ. So the point isn't, "Be more this way!" The point is, "Be more submitted to God's work in your life through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit so that more of His fruit is manifested through you!"
"How am I doing in my submission to God?" This is the crucial question. I know that this is a bit esoteric at first blush. I mean, how does one measure something like "submission?" Good question... Let me offer one way of measuring it, and one way of practicing it.
Gal. 5:19 says that when we are living in the flesh (as the master of our own life, in control, and self-governed, apart from God's leading) then it will be obvious to us. How? Because what is being produced is full of "human" dysfunction and failing. The list of the kinds of things of which we are capable is not pretty! The point is, when we see evidences of these in our lives, things like fits of rage, impurity, etc., etc., it is a measure of how much (little?) we are submitted to the filling and leading of the Holy Spirit. It is a grace, really, that we have this barometer to indicate to us that we've been living UN-submitted to God's presence and power.
As a response to this data, and as an ongoing practice, we simply return to submitting ourselves to God's authority in our lives. We confess our self-rule, and we invite the Holy Spirit to fill us, transform us, and lead us. There really isn't an exact science to this, but the practice of inviting him "in" all day, everyday, can become a habit in a very short time.
How might that look for you this week?
BE A BLESSING:
A few weeks ago, my weekly devotional encouraged you in your walk with God to invite the Holy Spirit to lead you in being a blessing to someone. I think this is once again an appropriate reminder. Here was my suggestion: "Let’s move forward in applying the practice above by asking the Holy Spirit, right now, to lead you to an act of love and service that he has ordained for you in these next few days. Write yourself a post-it or electronic notification to remind you a few times a day to invite the Holy Spirit’s guidance on how you might be able to be a blessing to someone around you. It will be an exciting adventure, I’m sure, as God loves to answer that prayer!"
I don't know anyone who wouldn't benefit from having an authentic conversation around the concept of how their walk with God is going. With whom can you connect this week and debrief how you are doing, and what you are learning about your "flesh" and your journey with the Holy Spirit? You may want to talk about how you are practicing being more and more submitted to the Holy Spirit in your life. Why not seek a prayer partner this week?