Week 27 July 1 - 7, 2018

One of the tragic mistakes that Christians often make is to characterize a Spirit-led person as someone who is always “spontaneous.”

We encourage pastors to abandon their sermon notes and be spontaneous because that is how we believe they can be Spirit-led in their preaching; We tell friends to put away their to-do lists and time management planners so they can learn to be more Spirit-led with their schedules; We even tell people to ignore balancing their checkbooks, so they can cultivate the habit of being more Spirit-led in their finances.

While people can certainly be too controlling of their time, money, and intentions that they do in fact quench the Spirit of God, the true signs of being a Spirit-led person have less to do with focusing on spontaneity, and more to do with focusing on what brings God glory.

In 2 Timothy 1:7 as the Apostle Paul was encouraging Timothy to fan the flames of his faith, he boldly reminded Timothy of three signs that ultimately point to someone being a Spirit-led person. Paul stated, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

In this one verse, we learn that someone who is truly being Spirit-led will show evidence of the Spirit’s influence through the signs of power, love, and self-control.

First, according to Paul, a person who is Spirit-led will display the sign of power.

As the prophet proclaimed in Micah 3:8, “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord.” Power is evidence that the Holy Spirit is guiding and directing a believer’s life to glorify God and expand His kingdom. Christians need power to pray for, evangelize, and serve a world of people who don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord as Savior.

In Acts 1:8, Christians were promised the arrival of the Holy Spirit would bring power to go and be witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth. This power was not centered on special gifts that would draw attention to themselves, but this power was the ability to proclaim the plan of salvation with clarity and boldness.

Secondly, Paul teaches in 2 Timothy 1:7 that a person who is Spirit-led will demonstrate the sign of love.

There is no coincidence that when the famous fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22, the very beginning of the passage teaches that “the fruit of the Spirit is love.”  This fruit is a sign that the Holy Spirit is moving in a person’s life in such a way that they are committed to sacrificially seeking the greatest good for God and others.

This sign of love is also the fulfillment of Mark 12:30-31, when Jesus states that there are no commandments greater than to love God with everything we have and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Finally, Paul reveals at the end of the passage that a person who is Spirit-led will exercise the sign of self-control.

As Galatians 5:22 began with the Spirit’s bookend fruit of love, he ends with the other bookend fruit of being a person who is self-controlled. This idea of self-control is also something that permeates throughout the letter that Paul writes to Titus towards the end of his ministry. Paul says in Titus 1:8, 2:2, 2:5, and 2:12 that people of every age and calling are to exercise self-control as the Spirit of God continues to conform them into the image of Christ.

 These three signs of a Spirit-led life are a work-in-progress for all believers. However, we are called to pursue all three signs because they encompass the full scope of our influence in the Christian life.

As famous Christian writer Watchman Nee perfectly points out, “We must have a spirit of power towards the enemy, a spirit of love towards men, and a spirit of self-control towards ourselves.” In none of these signs is a person showing spontaneity, but in all of these signs a person does show a Spirit-led life that proclaims God’s truth and reflects God’s kingdom.

Three Signs of Being Spirit-Led

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Being Still Before God

As the world continues its constant search for peace and rest from the trials of life, the Lord speaks directly to the tired hearts of His children in Psalm 46:10 with these comforting words: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” In God, all believers have a refuge and a strength because He is a very present help in our time of trouble. However, this help comes to us when we are still enough to hear Him speak and patient enough to let Him work on our behalf to bring us a final resolution.

Leaving Behind a Legacy

In 2 Chronicles 9, King Solomon’s life teaches us several things about God’s promises and our purpose. First, in verses 22-23, we learn that Solomon “excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.” This wisdom was a fulfilled promise that God made to Solomon in a dream at the beginning of his reign as king. However, just a few words later in verse 31 we learn that Solomon died and was buried with his father David. Just as quick as Scripture mentions Solomon’s unsurpassed wisdom and honor, it also mentions that he too had to face death and judgement. Therefore, his life teaches us that the true legacy we leave behind is not our riches or honor, but instead how faithfully we served others with the gifts God bestowed upon us.

The Sovereignty of the Seasons

In all his treasured wisdom, King Solomon understood that God’s sovereign control of the universe is an unchanging reality. After beginning Ecclesiastes 3 by stating that the Lord has a proper time and purpose for every season of life, Solomon concluded with this observation about God’s sovereignty in verse 14: “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.” May we pray for God’s help today to trust in His sovereign timing and purpose as we seek to serve Him in whatever season of life we are currently in.

Week 28 Readings:  July 8 – 14

-Day One:  1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 10-11; Titus 1

-Day Two:  1 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 12; Psalm 47; Titus 2

-Day Three:  1 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 13-14; Titus 3

-Day Four:  2 Chronicles 15-16, 1 Kings 16, Philemon

-Day Five:  1 Kings 17-18, Psalm 119; Jude   


Tips to Keep You on Track

          Our reading plan this week takes us to one of the most majestic passages in the entire Bible: Psalm 119. With a total of 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in all of Scripture. It is composed in a very intentional poetic format that includes 22 stanzas of eight verses each to reflect the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. But most importantly, however, the focus of Psalm 119 is to celebrate the gracious gift of God’s Word and express a strong desire to be transformed by its truth. This week as you read through Psalm 119, take time to praise God for giving you His Word, and ask Him to bury it deep within your soul so that you can join the psalmist in verse 11 by proclaiming to the Lord, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”