Last week I ended my post with the suggestion that we cannot “own” our lives without the help of the Holy Spirit. Paul, in the book of Galatians, describes for us what a life, yielded to the Spirit, looks like.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16, ESV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22, ESV)
“If we live by the spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25, ESV)
But, what does it mean to “walk by the Spirit”? Sally suggests that, “Walking by the Spirit means yielding our thoughts, attitudes, desires, prayers, and goals to the Spirit as we go about our days.” (pg. 89) As you can see, living by the Spirit is a choice and a choice that we have to make daily.
From there, Sally goes on to discuss how we can partner with God to own our lives, live more in step with the Spirit and be transformed into people who do His will. Some of these ways include:
1. The Spiritual Disciplines-
The spiritual disciplines include the disciplines of reading your Bible, prayer and rest. Oh, how I know these are so hard to practice as we go about our busy, daily lives. The time has to be thoughtfully and intentionally carved out. It is so hard but so worth it to carve the time out to read Scripture and to pray. But, what about rest? For my thoughts on what true rest looks like, read this post- https://rebeccapeet.com/2012/08/13/true-rest/.
2. Be a Risk Taker-
This goes against every fiber of my being. I am a planner and an avid risk avoider. I attempt to plan my life in such a way that I’m always in control and always prepared for what will happen next. But, I don’t believe that’s how the Christian life was meant to be lived. I’m not saying that planning and preparing are wrong, to the contrary those practices are very prudent, but when all that planning takes the place of living by faith, we are headed down the wrong path.
“Faith, I’ve learned, is a mysterious process of following the voice of God, accompanied by hard work and wisdom. We step out in faith with engaged hearts as we pursue God’s wisdom and ideals, which He whispers to us as we seek Him.” (pg. 115-116)
3. Investing in your Emotional Health-
How do we invest in our emotional health? Reading good books that challenge us and inspire us, enjoying nature, exploring art, listening to good music and feasting on healthy, delicious foods are all ways we can invest in our souls.
Personally, I love good music, art and interesting books. I truly enjoy spending hours in an art museum and listening to people speak on new thoughts and ideas. But, these things are so hard to do with small children. Sally really challenged me in this area though. “When we are constantly emptying our hearts, minds and souls, it is essential that we take responsibility to keep filling them up. What we feed our inner beings will determine what we can give to those in our spheres of influence. What we have stored, cherished, and valued in our lives is reflective of our true selves.” (pg. 133)
This year I am making a concerted effort to improve in this area. I truly believe that I cannot pour into my children and teach them to enjoy the world God created unless I enjoy it myself. Instead of just throwing the dog in the backyard, I want to walk her more and enjoy nature as I walk her instead of texting or talking on my phone. Listening to good music can easily be incorporated into my daily life as I cook, clean and do my other tasks around the house. Instead of watching so much television and randomly searching the internet, I am reading more books that encourage and challenge me. Instead of aimlessly wandering through Target on mornings my kids are in school, maybe I can visit an art museum or attend a lecture.
My prayer for myself and for all of you is the same as Sally’s on pg. 141.
“Lord Jesus, we praise You because You came to restore life to our bodies, souls and minds. Help us to seek You today in the midst of all the good gifts You have given us, and may we be refreshed by Your Word, Your creation, and all that we take in through our senses. And then, O Lord, help us to become life givers within our homes, neighborhoods, and churches, for Your glory. Amen.” (emphasis mine)
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV)