Sundays always seem easy to call Spiritual. They are church days. Hallelujah days. We sing songs and raise hands. We bow our heads and close our eyes. We call on God. They are holy moments that sometimes pass without awakening.
But this morning something was different. As I sat in church on Pentecost Sunday I went through all the right motions. I sang Holy Spirit You are Welcome Here. Followed by Holy Spirit, Come. I looked earnest and I sang. But as the pastor spoke about what it means to have the Holy Spirit I started thinking nervously about what I knew of the Spirit.
Oh, I know His names:
Counselor. Comforter. Teacher. Intercessor. Guide.
And I believe that the Spirit has been present in my life when I have called, and when I have needed.
But I also know that my life has often seemed dry. A Spiritual wasteland. My journey seems to often turn to a stumble through darkness. I have had too many prayerless days. Too many faithless nights.
Our pastor talked about how many believers have access the Spirit, as promised by Jesus, but live like they don’t. I realize that I have always thought about how the Spirit can make me feel: comforted, led, healed. But I started to think about why I don’t feel like I live more in-tune with the Spirit. Maybe, I thought, the point should not be about how the Spirit makes me feel. Perhaps it should be about how the Spirit makes me different. How he changes and shapes me into something else. Instead of feeling moved or affected, perhaps I should think and act differently. Maybe I need to seek a more communal relationship with the Spirit.
I know these aren’t groundbreaking thoughts. Like King Solomon tells us there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). But today as I listened and my mind began to connect with the concept it felt earth shattering. It felt like an awakening.
My thoughts went to the famous verse from Galatians. The “fruit of the Spirit”.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
– Galatians 5:22-23
And I decided that if that was a life that reflected a relationship with the Spirit, then I needed to seek those attributes and trust that the Spirit would bear fruit in my life. I needed to passionately pursue those characteristics of the Holy Spirit with intention, discipline and hope.
So, for the coming year I’m going to focus on each of the Spiritual fruits.
Let’s start with Love. After all, the Bible calls it an attribute above all others (1 Corinthians 13:13).
There are 9 of these Fruits and I will concentrate on each one for a 40 day period. During that time, because I am willfully stubborn, I will probably research terms and study root words. I will read and seek guidance from wise people. But mostly I will pray, and fast, and wait. And I will sing Holy Spirit, You are Welcome Here.
I have faith that the next year will change me. I hope that if this strikes a chord with you and you feel the same need, that maybe you would consider taking this journey with me.
So. This is DAY 1
Let’s start with a 40 day focus on LOVE.
I think that there is no better way to begin than with God’s word. In the book of Matthew when Jesus was asked about the most important commandment, He made clear that LOVE was the very center of our purpose…
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
-Matthew 22 :36-4
Teach me the meaning of LOVE. Fill my heart with LOVE for Father, Spirit, Son. Fill me with LOVE for brother, neighbor, stranger, enemy. May I begin to grasp the LOVE that God has for me, and may I live from the overflow of that LOVE. May I see the signs of His LOVE everywhere I look. And be reminded that LOVE is sacrifice. That LOVE is giving and forgiving. May my life reflect that I have received deep and unfaltering LOVE by the deep and unfaltering LOVE that I give. Make me unashamed to look foolish in the lavishing of LOVE. Prepare my heart for the journey of a Spirit filled year, and life. Help me to be dedicated to the discovering of you. To the LOVING of you.
Holy Spirit, Come.