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Listen to the Spirit – From Sour to Soaring

Central Church's Holy Spirit Stained Glass Window

Central Church’s Holy Spirit Stained Glass Window

Key Bible Verse: Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles.Isaiah 40:31

Bonus Reading: Romans 8:5-14

Before I learned the way of the Spirit, I was like a man running with a self-wielded goad sticking in my ribs, a self-dangled carrot bobbing before my eyes. My motivation for doing the right thing was guilt if I was falling short, pride if I was out in the lead. I experienced neither the zing of God’s pleasure nor the sting of his rebuke. I feared, rather, to incur the scorn of church-folk and hankered after their nodding approval. A few seasons of this made me weary in doing good, and sour as Jonah.

I can’t point to a single revelation that changed my mind. But gradually I realized that Jesus lived in me by his Spirit, and that I could live as he did by simply paying attention, listening to his gentle whisper, responding to his nudges. As I attended to the Spirit, I was able to trade in my motivations of guilt and fear for an invigorating hope, a vision, an invitation. More and more, it’s for the joy set before me that I run the race.

The Spirit is a wind. I’m learning to run with his gentle pummeling on my back, keeping me from growing weary. Some days, I spread my arms like wings and catch that wind beneath them and for moments I fly.

—Mark Buchanan in Hidden in Plain Sight

My Response: How could I trade in self-generated motivation for Spirit-empowered inspiration?

Thought to Apply: Living one day in the Spirit is worth more than a thousand lived in the flesh. —Richard Owen Roberts (pastor)

Adapted from Discipleship Journal (11-12/03)

Prayer for the Week: Teach me, Lord, how to tune out distractions and to pick out and respond to the voice of Your Spirit.



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