As we take time today to remember the leadership and faith-filled life of Martin Luther King, Jr, we can reflect on his words, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” He knew even then that we have to willing to move beyond intention and into action to truly see God’s Kingdom here on Earth. What is one way that you can show the compassionate love of Christ to a family member, a neighbor, or a co-worker today? As you read over Romans 12:16-18, take time to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you boldness and lead you to act on those intentions.
We can have really good intentions when it comes to following Jesus, but unless we choose to make decisions that take us in that direction, we won’t get there. It doesn’t have to be complicated. We can do little things over time right where we are. Over the rest of this week, on your way home from school or work, pay attention to some places that you pass by frequently. As you pass by, pray for the people that work there, live near there, or shop there. Ask the Lord to give you ways to put love into action whenever possible so that you can live out the words of Jesus found in 1 John 3:18.
Following Jesus isn’t a one-time decision; it’s a lifetime of decisions. So when it comes to following Jesus, how do we know if we are headed down the right path? By looking for the fruits of the Spirit that we are producing in our lives. How are you responding when things don’t go your way? In peace and patience or anger and retribution? When you see the homeless on the corners and under bridges, do you show disgust or kindness? As you read over Galatians 5:22, highlight the fruits listed that you want the Lord to help you develop more in your life. Then, in prayer, ask Him to guide you towards growth in those.
Part of following Jesus is being willing to walk out Proverbs 15:22 with others. Is there someone in your faith community that you see bearing the fruits of the Spirit in ways you wish you were? Is there someone in your faith community that you see struggling to bear the fruits of the Spirit that you’ve been able to bear in greater ways over time? Pray and consider taking one or both of those people out to coffee, lunch, or dessert and take time to get to know them. Ask questions and consider either reaching out for their mentorship or providing mentorship as needed.
Jesus gives us great encouragement in John 15:4-5; 16. Abiding in Jesus and allowing Jesus to abide in us will help us to see the fruits of the Spirit—the same fruits that marked Jesus’ life—flowing out of our lives. In what areas of your life are you finding it difficult to abide in Him? What is truly difficult for you to let go of and fully trust Him to take care of? Take some time now to write down a list of those things. Then, in prayer, ask the Lord to help you abide in Him through each item. Reach out to a trusted friend or mentor and ask them to keep checking in on you to see how that transition of ownership is going over time.
TALK IT OVER
- What is your favorite fruit to eat?
- What is something on your to-do list this week that you are not looking forward to completing?
- Are there any New Year resolutions you’ve challenged yourself to do that you’re having a hard time pursuing?
- In what areas of your life have you seen good intentions fall to the wayside because of lack of action?
- In what ways have you seen the Fruit of the Spirit show up in your life?
- What practical action steps have you taken in your faith journey to strengthen your relationship with Jesus?