So glad you are with us today, whether you are watching online, catching up during the week, at one of our campuses in greater Austin, or here in person at our North location, it’s so good to have you.
If you’ve been around at any point in the last few weeks you’ve heard us talk about Healthy Relationships and how scripture can guide us in our daily interactions with others. Today we begin a new series called Healthy Spirituality, and it has the same look and theme, but the next few weeks will encourage and challenge us in a very different way.
Last series we wanted to support you all by laying some groundwork for our horizontal relationships on earth and with one another, and this series we’ll be addressing your vertical relationship with God. We are a come as your church, and I want to acknowledge for some of my friends at Gateway, that we know not everyone here believes in God (quite yet). We know many of us are on this journey of exploring faith, and who God and the church are. So for you, this series allows you to see from your vantage point, what does it mean to engage with God as a believer in God.
This series came from a conversation I was having with our lead pastor, John Burke, and I asked him to simply put what does it mean to be healthy spiritually. It was 2020, right in the throws of COVID’s new normal, and we were truly concerned for thousands of you, there were mailing, phone calls, and emails going out to see how people were doing. For the many of you who responded, and checked in, it was good to hear from you, but we also found hundreds of people from all of our campuses who just seemingly disappeared. People who were active and vibrant, were taking time to reassess their life and where they invested it.
Going back to my question for John, he responded simply, people are truly healthy if they are walking with God’s spirit, reading and applying scripture (the bible), actively in confessing community, and living a generous life (time, talent and treasure). So here we are in 2022, and the same principles apply to us now. So let’s dive into the first one, how can we be people who live by the spirit. To help bring us all up to speed, let’s watch this video together:
Our goal in this series is to take a few minutes each week and use some of this supplement material for us to learn for the first time, and/or refresh something we’ve learned in the past.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. – Galatians 5: 13
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. – Romans 8:22-26
So what does it mean to be in step with the Spirit?
The Spirit helps us pray
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
The Spirit guides us in righteousness
But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. – Romans 8:10
The Spirit produces fruit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
The Spirit cultivates submission to God’s will
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. – Galatians 5:16
The Spirit walks with us daily
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. – John 15:4
We had an all staff retreat a few weeks back, and as we were discussing being renewed and being transformed as leaders, I shared this quote with them.
“If you are renewed by grace, and were to meet your old self, I am sure you would be very anxious to get out of his/her company.”– Charles H. Spurgeon
Have we allowed ourselves to be pruned, our unproductive branches to be cut down, our habits that keep us back destroyed? Are we different with each passing day, week, month and year?
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
“Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. – Jeremiah 18:1-6
“Our lives should be a commercial announcement for what we are anticipating.”– Dr. Tony Evans
I know we share a lot of quotes here at Gateway, but thought provoking words can sometimes cut through the noise of life. That’s how I feel about this quote, an encouragement, a hope, a challenge to be something with God being with us and moving in us. So before we close out at our respective campuses let’s all listen to this final challenge.
“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labour is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.”—C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
What CS Lewis is basically calling us to, is to WAKE UP! To have eyes opened to see what God sees, to have ears open to hear what the gentle words are whispering, to have a heart that is open/present to receive what God has for us on a daily basis.
Can we offer ourselves up to this commitment?
To go about our days ready to see, hear and receive from God’s spirit prompting us.