PART 17 – THE SPIRIT GIVES FREEDOM (24/1/20)
David’s growing kingdom in Israel and his removing the Jebusites from Jerusalem, are metaphors for Jesus’ growing kingdom in our lives and the world. As Christians, Jesus, throughout our lives, by the power of the Spirit, is making us more holy (sanctification) - into the image of Jesus.
Although the devil is against us, and the flesh throws its tantrums, ‘nevertheless’, if we are true Christians, there will be increasing freedom from sin. We read,
Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David. On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies. ” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.” (2 Samuel 7-8)
The water shafts
Water shafts were weaknesses in the enemies defences. Likewise, we have ways of overpowering our enemies - the flesh and the devil (See yesterday’s devotional for more on these).
Paul, having spoken about how we live if we are ruled by the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), now sets out how we can win the battle against the ‘Jebusites' in our lives’, he tells us,
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other’ (Galatians 5:22-25).
The 'water shafts' are how we allow Jesus into our lives so as to overcome our sin and transform us. When we allow Him in, we bear the fruit that is mentioned in this list including 'joy' - who doesn’t want more of that! The way to this freedom is to ‘walk by the Spirit’. This means to live in relationship to God’s presence with us. It means doing what He says and not doing what offends Him.
How to walk by the Spirit
Here are a few tips on this complex subject of how to walk by the Spirit:
Firstly, we need to become a Christian so as to become a person in whom the Spirit can dwell!
To walk with the Spirit means to begin the day with prayer, and to pray throughout the day: “Holy Spirit, lead me and give me the power to obey you today please”.
To walk with the Spirit means that we ‘hide His word in our hearts’ - know and memorise His word. If we do, He can bring it to mind in the different contexts that we find ourselves.
To walk by the Spirit is simply to refuse the things that we know to be sin and to seek to do the things that we know to be righteous.
To walk by the Spirit is to seek to love God and others (this is the first 'fruit'). Love is a great emphasis in the Christian life - the Spirit empowers us and frees us to love God and others increasingly.
In every devotional this week I’d like us to memorise, meditate and pray out of the Lord’s Prayer. If we want to experience the freedom that come from walking with the Spirit, this prayer is an ideal model. The Spirit loves to fill someone who genuinely wants the Father's kingdom to come in their lives.
Matthew 6:9-13. ”This, then, is how you should pray: ‘ “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
i) Some questions to help in meditation:
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. A few questions you could use when meditating:
GOSPEL- What does this text say about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does this text say about you, the church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does this text say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
ii) Memorise Matthew 6:9-13
A few tips:
Include the reference
Read it slowly and carefully x 10
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time