This devotional looks forward to the sermon entitled “United in the Spirit.” The text comes from Ephesians 4:1-13 in which Paul pleads with the Ephesian church to give their full attention to unity in the Spirit.
Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, November 5. Read Romans 12:1-13. 1) What does Paul say that the object of our lives should be? 2) How should one view her/his relationship to the rest of the body of Christ? 3) What is the purpose of the diversity of the body of Christ?
Tuesday, November 6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-26. 1) How many members are in the body? Why? 2) What are the implications for each and every member of the body? 3) What impact does each member have on all the rest?
Wednesday, Novembere 7. Read Ephesins 4:11-16. 1) What are the gifts that Christ gave to the church, and what are their purpose? 2) How do you cooperate with Christ’s purposes for individual members of the body of Christ? 3) How might you not cooperate?
Thursday, November 8. Read Colossians 1:9-20. 1) What does Paul pray for in the lives of the Colossian church? 2) What does Paul say God’s objective is in verse 20? 3) What do you think the implications for the church are?
Friday, November 9. Read Galatians 5:16-26. 1) How does Paul say to “live” in this text? 2) How does his way of living differ from the other way described in this text? 3) How does each contribute to the life of the body of Christ?
Saturday, November 10. Read Ephesians 4:1-13. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Holy God, I adore You as my true God, Father, Son, and Spirit.
I give You my heart
and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of gifts,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace
and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear,
so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me
from falling back into my past sins and past life.
Grant me the gift of knowledge,
so that I may know the things of God and,
enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk,
without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude,
so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of
and all the dangers of this world which threaten the
salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of wisdom,
so that I may rightly direct all my actions,
referring them to God as my last end;
so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life,
I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in
Help me to put the life of your church and your people
above my own, so that we will all grow
to shared unity and maturity in Christ our Lord.
In Jesus’ name I pray this,
Hymn of the Week:
I’m pressing on the upward way
by Johnson Oatman, 1898
I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Devotional Article of the Week:
Keep in Step with the Spirit
Can you dance with the Holy Spirit
by Phil Ware
You may think I’m out of touch with it,
Other than getting to see highly-
In spite of this unfavoreable review of Dancing with the Stars, you should know that I do like ballet. Misty Copeland’s Under Armour ad “I Will What I Want” shows that ballet is one of the most physically demanding sports. In addition, the music can be glorious!
I say all this to confess, “I don’t know much about Dancing with the Stars, but I do know this: in Dancing with the Stars, the professional dancer has to take the lead!” This realization opened up a whole new level of understanding when I noticed the language of dance as Paul talked about the Holy Spirit with these words:
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
Notice especially that last phrase, “keep in step with the Spirit.” If we are going to live the life of Jesus in our context and with our personality, we are going to have to let the Holy Spirit lead us in the dance of life! So as children of God seeking to learn the dance of life, how do we do we allow the Holy Spirit to be Lord of our dance?
We offer ourselves to God to be led by the Spirit.
We are to be God’s holy temple, the place where God himself lives and a person in whom the glory, honor, and praise of God are found (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1-2). We recognize that to experience the abundant life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10), we must let the Spirit lead. This means that we willingly must offer ourselves to God and follow the Spirit’s lead!
We do the things that allow the Spirit to fill us.
Like a good dancer, we enter the world of God’s “music.” That “music” fills us, envelopes us, and moves us to dance by the Spirit’s rhythms. We enter this world through spiritual songs shared with other believers, thanksgiving focused on Jesus, and submission to those closest to us. As we do these things, the Spirit fills us (Ephesians 5:15-20). Paul emphasizes two other ways for us to enter into the “music” of the Spirit. One is through the word of God and the other is praying in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17-18). In these ways, the Holy Spirit fills us and leads us in the dance of life.
We trust the Spirit to guide us and lead us through life’s different challenges.
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as our Comforter — also translated as the Counselor, the Advocate, the Helper (John 14:15-18). The Spirit guides us into all truth and reminds us of Jesus (John 16:13). The Spirit convicts the world of sin and judgment (John 15:8-11) while helping us know truth from error (1John 2:20;1 John 2:26-27). Most of all, until we can go home to be with the Son and the Father, they will come to us, show themselves to us, and make their home in us through the Spirit (John 14:1-4; John 14:15-23).
We check our lives to see if we are keeping in step with the Spirit.
We seek to have the character of Jesus shine through our lives and we yearn for the fruit of the Spirit to come alive in us (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). We begin to display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control — the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our lives increasingly reflect the righteousness, peace, and joy of Jesus (Romans 14:17). Rather than being paralyzed by timidity and fear about our faith, we begin to see our lives filled with spiritual power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). As we see the qualities of the Spirt come alive in us, we realize that we are learning to dance through life letting the Spirit lead us! We are “keeping in step with the Spirit”!