Saturday, April 6, 2013

Keep in Step with the Spirit


I have been teaching the history of Christianity to my world history students this week. Therefore, more so than usual, I have had my Bible with me at all times.  Teaching at a private school, I have full control of my lesson plans and objectives, so I use the Bible to teach about the foundations of Christianity, i.e. the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I can use the source material notepad of using the usual textbook, and the students enjoy it quite a bit.  With my Bible close by, I picked it up and began reading it when I had a particular difficult time with one of my other classes.  So I opened up the Concordance and looked up "patience."  When I came across Galatians 5:16-26, I knew this was the verse I was looking for and would be the subject of my post today.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:16-26
The Holy Spirit empowers us, guides us, and enables us to grow and endure in our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. Often the most misunderstood member of the Trinity, the Spirit should be of great focus and attention today.

When we talk of being led by the Holy Spirit we need to make it clear he directs us primarily through the Scriptures he inspired. Through them he brings revelation, guidance, correction, vision, conviction, answers, encouragement, challenge and freedom to our lives as well as principles and doctrines we can build our lives on.  All of this helps us to grow in relationship with God and keep in step with his will for our lives.

The Holy Spirit never bypasses the Holy Scriptures he inspired. This means we cannot be led by the Spirit if we undermine or undervalue his book. For this reason an open heart with an open Bible reveals and expresses a persons desire to be led by the Spirit. Likewise a closed heart and a dusty Bible reveals and exposes a persons desire not to be.  The Holy Spirit and my open Bible led me to contemplate patience this week.  One of my students once made me a sign that hangs on the wall of my classroom, "God, please grant me patience, because if you grant me strength, I might hurt someone."  Thankfully, God does grant me patience.  I could not be a teacher without patience.  Thankfully, the fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control along with patience.

4 comments:

Jay M. said...

Very nice. And as usual, if only the spittle flecked idiots on the far right would take THESE words into account as they attack others around them based on their flimsy evidence of biblical damnation, the world would be a happier place!

I think I am a very patient person, and even in the past few years, I've tried to be very careful about what "sets me off", and instead, try to be patient and just let it pass - and it almost always just passes on.

Peace <3
Jay

Jason Shaw said...

What other religious and beliefs do you teach to your world history students?

JoeBlow said...

Jason, I teach my students Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam, as well as the eastern religions and philosophies of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism. I always stress that Hinduism is the oldest known religion, pre dating Christianity by thousands of years. Also, I love to teach Zoroastrianism because of its influence on Judaism and Christianity which is evident in changes in the Judaic beliefs during the Babylonian captivity. Prior to the Babylonian captivity, Jews did not appear to have a clear distinction of an afterlife, though afterward there is discussion of heaven and hell. When I can, I use parts of the holy scriptures of these religions as well as a teaching too.

I work hard to make sure my students have a broad knowledge of world religions so that they may understand the world better and what impact religion has had on the world. The students don't always appreciate learning about other Religions, but I make sure that they know about religions other than their own, which is, with the exception of only two students I have ever taught, Christianity. Christianity always come up as part of the Roman Empire because you really can't talk about the one without the other.

douloscross said...

Excellent post. May the fire of God's Spirit purge us of our dross and enflame the passions of Heaven within us.