“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life (John 6:63*).”
Thank You, Lord, that Your Spirit gives us life. You are the Vine. We are the branches. We draw our nourishment from You. (John 15:4-5) Depending on my own thinking and doing what looks good to me has never benefited anyone. I see that more as I trust You more.
Jesus, You said Your words are spirit and life. I want to fill up on Your words. But I see that if I want to partake of the life they give, I must also put those words into practice, doing what You say and persevering in that. [“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”–Matthew 7:24-27* (Emphasis mine.)]
So if I find out what You said, write it down, and even memorize it, I can still miss out on the life You want me to have. To enjoy Your abundant life, I need to do what You say—obey You. I need the power of the Holy Spirit working in me to do that. And that is just what You promised!
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13*).
Oh thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit helps me today to feed on Your Word and do what it says. Amen.
(*Scripture quotes are New Living Translation.)
Luke 8:11, 15, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. …15 [T]he ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
I want to be “good ground,” so when Jesus plants seeds from God’s Word in my heart., I will humbly receive them (James 1:21). Jesus gives me living water—His Word and His Spirit—for watering the plants. As they start to grow. I can nurture them with the plant food of faith that results in obedience. (James 2:17, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”) I will diligently practice applying God’s Word to my life. I need to pull out weeds like anger, bitterness, jealousy, regret, strife, pride, haughtiness, and anything else that interferes with nourishing my soul.
Then these plants in my heart can mature and produce Holy Spirit fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
(Scripture quotes are New King James.)
Yes, I can obey God’s Word! I’m through telling myself the “I can’t” lie. Sometimes, when I would read a Scripture portion or verse, I would say internally, “God says to do _________, but I really can’t. So I’ll just skip that part and look for something I can do. For example, I would read Philippians 4:8 (“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”). Then I’d think, Well, yes, but you know I’ve tried to think on these good things, and I really can’t. Other thoughts always take over. Then my mind runs wild, and I fall back into a negative outlook.
I repent. No more “I can’t.” No more excuses. I will choose to listen to the truth that by the power of the Holy Spirit I can obey God. I will choose life, not death. (Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”)
(Scripture quotes are New King James.)
Philippians 2:14a Amplified says, “Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining….” My default mode seems to be faultfinding. No matter how good something is, I can usually find something wrong with it.
But one Tuesday as I did my work in the school library, I chose a different path. I remembered this scripture, so when I’d start to think I wish these kids would write more legibly, I’d remind myself to do my work without faultfinding or complaining. And whatever my grumbly thought (like, Why don’t they write down the numbers?!), I’d remind myself of the same thing.
As I continued this during the day, I thought about how we parents are pleased when our children do what we’ve told them to do. I believed that by obeying His Word, I was pleasing our heavenly Father. I noticed that as I tried to do things that pleased Him, I reduced my own tendency toward depression.
Even though I’ve retired from working in a school library, I want to continue to try to please God in all I do.
James 1:21—“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls.” New Living Translation
Holy Spirit, please change my heart and work in it so I become “good soil” as in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-8). The seed sown in good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s Word and do what it says so it produces fruit. (See Matthew 13:23 and James 1:22.)
Then, Spirit of the living God, please plant Jesus’ words (which are spirit and life) in my heart so they can grow and produce much fruit. Yes, develop in me fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Do it to bring glory and honor to our Lord. As this fruit is manifested, it will result in the transformation of my mind, will, and emotions so I’m more and more like Jesus. (See John 6:63 and Galatians 5:23)
So Spirit of the triune God who is God alone, I yield myself to You. Amen.