Swallow This…

Romans 15.13The Christian faith is a life filled with joy and peace that overflows from with hope from the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. At least, that is what it is supposed to be like. However, every follower of Jesus knows that there are ups and downs, the good days and the not so good days. How then is faith sustained throughout these rhythmic changes?

The passage cited in the picture above reminds us that as people of faith, God animates our life by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is God who acts benevolently towards his people who receive this blessing. Perhaps it might be helpful to think of this as God offering a bubbling spring of water that keeps flowing. God, in his benevolent grace and mercy, provides the necessary water for life but we must decide to drink from it. That is, God provides the joy and peace of life in Christ by the power of the Spirit but we must be willing to receive this spiritual blessing.

I want to offer three suggestions for how Christians position themselves to receive this spiritual blessing from God. I should also say that these suggestions are not a “pick one.” Rather, I see all three as equally important. So here they are:

  1. Be engaged as a regular and active participant in the weekly Sunday worship gathering. Besides singing, communion, teaching, etc…, gathering together for worship also calibrates our life. As we worship God, we learn to trust God more deeply and align ourselves with his mission. However, this doesn’t happen by merely showing up to be a spectator. It happens when we come ready to participate in worship. That begins with prayer for our time of worship, anticipating what is to come through a commitment to gather on a weekly basis.
  2. Be engaged in life with other Christians outside of the Sunday worship gathering. The Sunday gathering is important but it isn’t the extent of being church. The church is the people wherever they are and the church must gather together living as the Christ-community in other places and times too. These are times to pray together, eat together, study the Bible together, and minister in the neighborhood together as people living on mission with God. In such gatherings, the Spirit is certainly at work in and among every believer living life together.
  3. Be engaged in a regular rhythm of spiritual practices. Just as the physical body needs a regular routine, the Christian needs a regular routine of rest in God through prayer, daily reading of the Bible, fasting, etc… Spiritual disciplines are to the Christian’s life what a healthy diet and exercise routine is to the physical body. That is, the spiritual disciplines are a means of receiving the right sort of nutrition necessary to live as a healthy disciple of Jesus Christ.

One final question: Would you characterize your life as filled with the joy and peace that overflows from with hope from the power of the Holy Spirit?

As the year 2014 is on the horizon, now is the time to reflect on our life and decide what changes we may need to make in order to regularly receive what God is giving us. God is pouring out his joy and peace. It’s time to take, drink, and swallow!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

– Romans 15:13

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