“For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great King over all the earth.” The Holy Spirit is given to encourage, empower, and embolden the church in its witness to Christ in the world. The Spirit is given to increase the Kingship of God over all the earth. How can we be tempted to take God’s resources to build our own kingdoms rather than His? Is our ministry under the great King? – Forgive us O Lord for building our own kingdoms that give us control; help us to surrender to the true King and Your will and ways. Amen.
“God does not enjoy the strength of a horse or man, He is pleased with those who respect him, with those who trust His love.” It is easy to get our eyes on the strength of our resources (the horse) and our own physical, mental and even spiritual abilities. What does it take to refocus our attention on honoring God and trusting in His unfailing love? Where are you tempted to take pleasure in your own strength? – In humility I rely on your strength O God; I will honor You and trust in Your loving-kindness to me. Amen.
“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” The goal of salvation in Christ is a transformed life; freedom from sin and freedom to live for God. In what areas are you still struggling with sin? Are there temptations to which Christian leaders are most vulnerable? Raise us to the righteous life that is our in Christ Jesus. Amen.
“Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable…” Sometimes it is easy to talk about godly character in some theoretical way, disconnected from what we live in our body. “Self-control” is the embodiment of bringing the body under the discipline of heart and mind. Why is it tempting to have an intellectual faith separated from the body? Why is our body and what we do with it important to our faith and ministry? Spirit of God, only through your power may I live a holy and honorable life. Empower me.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruit of the Spirit produces Godly heart, character, and behaviors. Fruit is singular; it all comes in one package.
We pick love, joy, and peace and decide self-control isn’t for me. How is
self-control necessary for all these other characteristics to be displayed in
our lives? Does self-control characterize my life? Lord Jesus, forgive me for times when I desire to lead with my choice of godly characteristics. Develop the full fruit of the Spirit in me and my ministry. Amen.
“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” Protection from the intruding enemies was the purpose of city walls. Broken walls meant easy target. In what ways are people without self-control easy targets? What enemy or enemies might be ready to intrude in the life of the one without self-control? What level of self-control do you show in your work, family and personal life? Lord Jesus, help me to build “self-control” walls around my life that I might find protection from the evil one and all temptations to live outside of your ways.
“Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control…” Aaron, as leader, attempts to side-step responsibility for the people’s idolatry, wandering from God, and wild partying. Moses sees through Aaron’s excuse and sees that Aaron’s leadership sanctions their wanderings. Perhaps Aaron wanted the people to like him. What responsibility do Christian leaders have to keep God’s people from running wild? Where have you led like Aaron? Forgive us for “going along” rather than leading people toward your ways. Strengthen us to lead with loving firmness. Amen.
|“So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Living in the light is not a theological and philosophical game. It is concrete: behave decently; abandon drunkenness, sexual immorality, dissention and jealousy…stop thinking about how to gratify your sinful nature. Clothe yourself with Jesus Christ instead. How do we practically live this “changed life”? How does this image of “clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ” help us to live in the light? Lord, I change my clothes every day, help me to change my life and be clothed with you.|
|“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” How can everything, every word and every deed become a “giving thanks” to God? What is the connection between doing everything in Jesus’ name and giving thanks? Can I live a life of thanksgiving in everything, not just during Thanksgiving feast and special times of thanksgiving? How can I foster a life of thanksgiving in everything, all the time? Thank you Heavenly Father, Thank you Christ, the son, Thank you Holy Spirit! Amen|
|“in whose spirit is no deceit…” Our temptation after sin, like Adam and Eve, is to hide, to be silent, to cover up, to blame others, to lie. Blessing comes not to the one with a sinless image, but rather to the honest, the humble, the truthful who confess their sins to the Lord and thus receive his forgiveness. Why do I keep going back to hiding? What can I do to help myself and others learn to be honest with God? I have sinned against heaven and earth O Father, but I throw myself upon your gracious love that is beyond all I know.|