John 7:32-52

The Greatest Invitation

John 7:38-39 and Galatians 5:13-26
Jesus makes this incredible invitation to us. We can come and drink from him and rivers of living water will flow from within us. John helpfully clarifies this. He notes that this is the Holy Spirit given to those who believe in him. An amazing invitation which points to a life of satisfaction and eternal significance.

Writing this shortly after Pentecost Sunday, I am reminded that Pentecost remembers the giving of the Holy Spirit to those believers in the upper room. The legacy of that is why you are reading this today. The gospel spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. This was the beginning of the river of blessing flowing out to the world through spirit filled believers who had been equipped to bring about God’s Kingdom in their situations. Whilst this is immensely encouraging, that our lives can take on eternal significance, let’s focus on one of the ways that the Spirit works in our lives. Sanctification.

Jesus accepts us as we are but he doesn’t leave us where we are. The holy spirit works in us to change us and make us more like Jesus. Personally, I’m very grateful for this. I think of all of my shortcomings, my failings, my sinfulness and I am so glad that Jesus hasn’t left me as I was. He has worked in me and changed me. His desire is to do the same in you. My guess is you are reading this because you want to know him more and grow in your relationship with God.

I’ve been reminded that having been saved around 5 years ago that one of the first things God did in me was to totally remove my desire to continue in the way I was living and regularly partaking in the use of recreational drugs. The Holy Spirit doesn’t just change our behaviour but he works on our character. He changes our desires if we submit our lives to God.

I think of some of the things that have taken a bit more time. He has given me the ability to truly love those around me, increased my levels of compassion and empathy, helped me deal with anger issues, with issues of unforgiveness and being totally self-centred and selfish. I’m by no means the finished article. You may have similar experiences or examples. God is still working in us and transforming us.

Paul helpfully points out to us in Galatians 5 that we are called to be free but not to satisfy sinful desires but to walk in step with Spirit. Paul points to a life with the Holy Spirit. He points to a relationship in which we move at the pace of the spirit. Paul notes as we walk by the Spirit we will not live in a way that satisfies our sinful desires but live in a way that we desire to live in a way pleasing to God.

As we walk by the spirit we notice that we change, our desires change and our actions change accordingly. We see the fruit of the spirit in our lives. We should expect to see all of them and not just a few. We should expect that as we walk with God and we submit our lives to him that we will grow in Joy, Peace, Patience, Love and so on. I don’t know about you but I want all of these things in greater measure in my life and I am praying to see more of the power of God at work in and through me.

The way in which we conduct ourselves is a key part of our witness to those around us. You can imagine the impact that your character growing in these ways could have on those around you. That it is a testament to the power of God and who he is through us.

Apply

  1. Are there areas of your character or behaviours which you need to submit to God? What might the Holy Spirit be highlighting as an area he wants to work on? Take a moment to surrender this to him.

  2. Is the pace of your life conducive to walking with the spirit? Do you need to create some margin, stillness and space to slow down? If this feels impossible, spend a moment asking God what areas this could be?

  3. Are you regularly praying to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit and are you regularly asking him to increase the fruit of the Spirit in your life? If not, what is holding you back? They say that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago but the second best time is now. Could you start doing this today?

Prayer

Father God,

Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit after Jesus was glorified. Thank you that I can grow in relationship with the Holy Spirit and submit my life to your way of living. Please fill me afresh today and help me to walk in step with your Spirit. Please help me to grow in you so that the fruit of the spirit may be evident to those around me.

Amen
This Everyday Devotions was written by Cameron Johnson, who is a member of our Wimbledon Venue.

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