Life by the Spirit (Galatians 5:13-26)
I recently read a devotion titled Praying with others for others. This sentence has stuck in my mind as together with the taskforce we have been preparing for the Engagement Prayer Sessions as part of the Vision 2025 envisioning process.
As I shared in my 30 June devotion, to pray is the one thing that God has put on my heart and on that of the other taskforce members. As we’ve discussed how to equip the GWAC community to gather for prayer and discernment, we have continuously prayed over the whole community and over the process so as to be led by the Spirit of God.
Praying with fellow believers has served to preserve my faith on countless occasions.
However, when I pray with others for others, my perspective shifts away from me: first towards Christ and then outwards towards God’s world. This practice has reminded me to look beyond my own needs. It lifts my gaze out of my own circumstances and increases my capacity to love others, love my neighbours. God has used it in my life to fight such sins as self-centredness and pride. Things I didn’t consider wrong before I became a Christian.
This transformation has been possible through the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It is God working in me, changing me to be more Christ-like. The passage that has helped me a lot in understanding the change I have been going through and that has helped me to refocus why I love Jesus is Galatians 5:22-23.
Prior to this, verses 13-21 talk about our freedom gained through Christ, how we must walk by the Spirit, not give in to the desires of the flesh but serve one another humbly in love. ‘For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself” Gal 5:14. I have always been challenged by that command, probably because our society promotes self-love above all else.
But we are to be different. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Gal 5:26, which brings me back to Gal 5:22-23:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
That last sentence is what makes it all clear to me. Against such things there is no law, because they are all good traits. It helps me explain my Christian faith to myself and to others. Imagine a world where we all strive to be full of this fruit. I imagine and it calms me, always.
I am excited to get together with fellow Christians in the coming weeks as we pray with each other and for each other to be empowered by the Spirit (Acts 1:8) and share Christ inspired dreams and hopes (Joel 2:28) that reflect God’s vision for GWAC.