Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Passionate Spirituality, Part 3

This is the third part of a short series on Passionate Spirituality. In yesterday’s post, I began looking at Galatians 5:16-25, a passage that identifies passionate spirituality as life in the Spirit of God. When we live in the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit grows in our life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).
How Do We Live in the Spirit?
This sounds great, doesn’t it? Which of us wouldn’t like to be more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, and so forth? This is spirituality we could be passionate about. So, then, how do we live and keep on living in the Spirit?
Paul gives us a couple of clues in Galatians 5. In verse 18 we read, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.” “If you are led by the Spirit . . . .” Here we see that the Spirit of God leads us, giving us directions for living, pointing us in God’s way.
gps honda civicIn this sense, the Holy Spirit is a little like those newfangled GPS devices that are becoming so popular. How many of you have a GPS device? Maybe a Garmin or a Magellan or whatever came with your new car? When we went back to California last Christmas, a friend loaned me his car, and it had a GPS device. What a wonder! I could see exactly where I was located on a little map in a screen on the dashboard. If I wanted to go somewhere, I could enter the address and, voilà, the GPS device would guide me. It would even tell me in words where to go: “In one-quarter mile, turn right. Go straight for three miles.” I could touch a button and all the gas stations would miraculously appear on the little screen, or the McDonalds, or the Starbucks. (I don’t think they had a button for the Presbyterian churches, however. They have to work on that.)
I found it quite entertaining to have that GPS device in the car . . . but also quite dangerous. I kept wanting to watch the little screen rather than the road. And, no matter how sophisticated a GPS device is, it isn’t able to say, “Watch out! You’re about to hit that man 50 feet in front of you!” I don’t have my own GPS device yet, which is probably good news for those of you who live in Boerne.
When we become a Christian, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is a little like a GPS device. As we pay attention to the Spirit, we receive divine guidance for our actions. This happens in many ways. Maybe you read the Bible and are convicted to forgive somebody against whom you’ve held a grudge. Or you’re listening to a sermon on generosity and are led to help out a friend who’s struggling financially. Or perhaps you see somebody across the room at church and sense in your spirit that God wants you to reach out to that person. Or maybe the Holy Spirit puts a burden on your heart for starving children in Africa. Or . . . you name it.
Be Guided by the Spirit
Another verse in Galatians 5 gives us further insight into how we can live in the Spirit each day. Verse 25 reads, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” The phrase “be guided by the Spirit” suggests something similar to what we’ve already seen about being led by the Spirit. The verb translated here as “be guided” is used elsewhere in Paul’s letters in the sense of “walking in the footsteps of” someone (Rom 4:12). The picture is of the Holy Spirit walking ahead of us, and our following close behind, imitating the Spirit’s steps.
father son beach walkingChildren do this sort of thing on the beach. You’ll see a dad walking across the sand, leaving large footprints as he walks. Then, several feet behind, a little boy will be following along, stretching his legs in order to put his feet in the footprints of his daddy. Similarly, we can be led by the Holy Spirit, who shows us where to step, helping us to walk in God’s ways each day.
If you want to experience this kind of genuine Spirituality, this life in the Spirit of God, you must begin by putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and His Spirit comes to dwell within you.
Then, with the very Spirit of God resident in your heart, you can learn to attend to the Spirit’s voice. The Spirit speaks to us primarily through the Spirit-inspired Scripture. That’s why we study the Bible. That’s why we use Scripture as a basis for preaching, for teaching, and for directing our life as a church. The Spirit also speaks in the community of God’s people as we all use the gifts given to us by the Spirit. The Spirit also speaks in our hearts: urging, leading, prompting, challenging. Sometimes the Spirit’s guidance comes in the form of a thought. Sometimes it’s a powerful emotion, perhaps compassion for someone in pain or concern for a friend who’s facing difficult challenges at work.
So, then, Christian spirituality is life in the Holy Spirit. But how is this passionate spirituality? In answer this question in my next post.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Mark D. Roberts. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration ...

posted 2:09:11pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Conclusions
In this series on the death of Jesus, I have presented four different perspectives on why Jesus had to die: Roman, Jewish, Jesus’, and Early Christian. I believe that each of these points of view has merit, and that we cannot fully understand ...

posted 2:47:39am Apr. 11, 2011 | read full post »

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling
Can We Find God in the City? Psalm 48:1-14 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that ...

posted 2:05:51am Apr. 10, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 3
An Act and Symbol of Love Perhaps one of the most startling of the early Christian interpretations of the cross was that it was all about love. It’s easy in our day, when crosses are religious symbols, attractive ornaments, and trendy ...

posted 2:41:47am Apr. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 2
The Means of Reconciliation In my last post, I examined one of the very earliest Christian statements of the purpose of Jesus’ death. According to the tradition encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus died “for our sins in accordance with ...

posted 2:30:03am Apr. 07, 2011 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.