Choosing to Live in the Spirit - The Crosswalk Devotional - August 3
Choosing to Live in the Spirit
By Laura Bailey
“For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” - Ephesians 3:14-18 NIV
As Christians, we belong to the family of believers; our faith in Christ unites us as the church body, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit. While the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all Christians, we can choose to harness its power by submitting to its authority in our lives, or we can quench the Spirit and rebel against its leading.
Think about the choices you make when dieting. While your diet isn’t entirely ruined by one wrong meal choice, a collection of bad decisions will derail and often lead to complete abandonment. But, if you choose each day, meal by meal, to make the right choice, even when you have not seen the results, you will see the fruit of your labor over time.
The first month is always the hardest when working to make a change because I don’t see immediate results. But once I start seeing a change, it gives me the power to keep going, sticking with it. I started because it was something that I should do; now, it is something that I want to do because I am experiencing a positive impact on my life.
Paul understood the body of believers would struggle to persevere when they couldn't always see the results of their devotion to God. This is why he prayed fervently for God to strengthen His church and for us to understand the depth of His love. Paul knew that to live lives that glorified God, we would need to understand God's love by knowing His word. The scriptures energize, encourage, and empower us to love others, extend grace, and grant forgiveness.
Paul reminds us that our power to live Christ-like lives increases when we understand and experience the love of God. But we must decide if we will apply these truths and this power to our lives. We have a choice. Our lives consist of many small, seemingly insignificant choices. We often make them without thinking. However, those small choices compile and transform into habits and routines and eventually the framework by which we live our lives.
Our Christian walk is similar to choices we make, like eating healthier, in that .in that we have to regularly make the right choice to see spiritual fruitfulness in our lives. The choice may be to pick up your phone and check social media or pick up your Bible first thing in the morning. Or maybe your choose between calling a friend to vent about frustration or saying a prayer. Maybe you're choosing between a weekend at the lake or volunteering in the church nursery.
At the end of Paul’s prayer, he reminds us that God can do more than we can ask or imagine, it is His power that is at work in us, and the church, the body of believers, is His vessel yesterday, today, tomorrow, all for the glory of God ( Ephesians 3:19-20). Ask God to help you to make choices that glorify Him. Pray you would be strengthened by the Spirit to make choices that honor God even when you can’t see the results. Because you know that He is faithful. He works all things for our good and His glory to those who love Him and have been called for a purpose. He has a specific plan for your life; will you choose to follow Him?
Intersecting Faith and Life:
We quickly acknowledge with our words that God is in control, that He alone is worthy of our worship, and that God’s Word is the ultimate authority for our lives. Yet, often, our decisions and actions are in direct opposition to the words we speak. Take a minute and examine your Christian walk. Do your actions reflect a life that is surrendered to Christ?
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Kieferpix
Laura Bailey is a Bible teacher who challenges and encourages women to dive deep in the Scriptures, shift from an earthly to an eternal mindset, and filter life through the lens of God’s Word. She is the author of Beyond the Noise, and loves any opportunity to speak and teach women of all ages. She is a wife and momma to three young girls. Connect with her on her website, www.LauraRBailey.com