In Worship: Of the Spirit
We attend the Saturday evening service at our church – it’s identical to the Sunday services. Because my husband works at our church, he’s back there on Sunday mornings. Sometimes we head back to attend worship together if my husband is leading, but most of the time, Sunday mornings are an at-home time.
This past Sunday we were at home and I saw a tweet from Andy Stanley about the service at North Point Online starting at 11am. The service title caught my eye: Does church matter?
So I tuned in.
I’m still chewing on the message – it was powerful and there are so many layers I feel I’m only beginning to unpack.
One aspect that stood out to me was about the fruit of the spirit. He taught from Galations 5, which talks about the evidence of the Spirit in the midst of a person or people.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
He posed the question, “What if we had a self-control month?” In other words, what if we focused on an aspect of the spirit for one month – how would this change us? How would this change our culture? How would this change our community?
This struck me. I began thinking about focusing on an aspect of the spirit each month and what that would look like. What does the Bible say about these fruits? How are they evidenced in other stories and illustrations in the Bible? How can I strive to live them more fully in my own daily walk?
Now, Galations talks about these qualities being evidence of the spirit – NOT that we earn the presence of the spirit (or God) in our lives by trying our best to do these things. God wants to dwell with us, we just have to ask – that part is totally free. I think it’s the journey to learning to live every day in step with the things of the spirit – which are contrary to our natural selves (Galations 5) that we continue to draw closer to God.
But what better thing can I pursue than love? Than joy? Than peace? Patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness? Couldn’t I use a little more self control?
And when I read scripture, I read of a God who wants to be with us. I read about a God who desires us to draw near to him. And I read of a God who draws near when we take a step in his direction.
What do you say? Want to walk with me on this journey in pursuing the things of the spirit?
I always say that making good choices toward health is easier when you are living and operating in a community where you find encouragement and support. Spiritual health is no different. We are all part of one body with many members (as Paul says) and we can spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
I know not all of my readers are Christians, but aren’t these pursuits – of love, joy, peace, patience, etc. – ones that we should ALL follow? I realize I am approaching this from a specifically Christian perspective, but I want this invitation to stretch to each of you – whatever your faith background.
So here’s what I’m thinking: each month we focus on one of the evidences of the Spirit, in the order in which they appear. I think there’s something to that order, by the way – because I don’t see it possible to jump all the way to self-control without first addressing love, joy, patience, kindness & goodness (and on and on). See? They kind of build on each other.
We will start with love.
But I think I’ve been long-winded enough for one post. So I want to hear from you. Let’s get this dialogue started in the comments section by leaving a comment that has something to do with the following questions:
What is love?
How is love demonstrated?