Christmas Devotion - Day 23

23-12-2018  |  Matthew Campbell  |  YOUTH

READ Galatians 4:4-7 (Part 3)


If you know me, you'll know I like football. The problem, however, is that I'm not very good at it. I'm better at watching than playing!


There's always a big debate about who the best football player in the world is. For arguments sake, I'm going to suggest that it's Cristiano Ronaldo. You may disagree with that opinion. But one thing we probably can agree on, is that it is virtually impossible for me to ever be able to play football like Ronaldo. I could try many different things in order to become like Ronaldo. I could imitate him in every way possible - maybe wear the same boots as him, copy his training schedule, eat the same food as him etc. But even if I copy these things as flawlessly as I possibly can, will I ever get to Ronaldo's level? No! I'll improve at football a little bit, for sure. But I'll never magically be able to be like Ronaldo.


As Christians we often think of becoming like Jesus in these same terms. You may think, 'if I just look at Jesus' life and imitate him as best as I can, then I can become more like him.' Of course, there is an element of truth in this. We should, without doubt, study the life of Jesus and get to know his character better. However, if we are to ultimately become more like Jesus, simply trying to copy him isn't quite going to cut the mustard!


Thankfully, however, God hasn't just sent Jesus for us to imitate him, but he has sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to do so. We aren't simply told, look at Jesus and do what he does. Rather, we are told 'you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you..' (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit, does many things, he convicts us of sin, guides us and guarantees our salvation. But he also empowers us to live the life that God has called us to live and, as a result, it is the third blessing that Paul outlines for us in Galatians 4:4-7 which comes as a result of Jesus' incarnation.  Previously we have seen how we are redeemed and adopted. Now, however, Paul tells us,


4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”


Sometimes I find myself thinking, 'wouldn't it be great if Jesus was still walking on the earth today!' We could just speak to him face to face and ask him as many questions as we like. However, Jesus said  that when he leaves this earth, he will send someone else (referring to the Holy Spirit) and that it is 'to your advantage that I go' (John 16:7). Jesus actually says that this Holy Spirit who indwells in the life of believers is more beneficial to us in living a holy life - more beneficial than even having Jesus walk by our side in flesh. Of course, when we look at the disciples, we can see the truth in this statement. They were far more bold and obedient in their walk with God once Jesus had ascended and the Spirit came to indwell in their hearts after Pentecost.


If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, all of God's Spirit lives in you. From the moment you put your faith in Christ, all of God's Spirit was given to you. However, we are commanded in Scripture to, at all times, 'be filled by the Spirit' or 'walk by the Spirit.' In other words, even though we have got all of God's Spirit, we have to work hard to ensure we are walking in line with his leading and calling in our lives. This is, as Paul reminds in Galatians 5, a battle because of our ever present sinful nature!


One individual in the New Testament who is characterized by being filled with the Spirit is Stephen. Each time we are introduced to him, we are told this to be true in his life. Through his filling of the Spirit, Stephen stood boldly for Christ and, ultimately, became the first Christian martyr. Will you allow yourself to be filled by the Spirit today? How can you do that? Consider these four Scriptural commands which will form our reflection time this morning. Think through how you can prioritize each of these areas in your daily life:


1) Immerse yourself in God's Word. It was the Spirit who inspired the writing of Scripture.

2) Spend time in the prayer. Paul tells us that it is the Spirit who intercedes for us in times of prayer

3) Have fellowship with other believers. They too, have been given the blessing of God's Spirit indwelling in their life

4) Put to death your sinful habits. The flesh is constantly waging war against the Spirit within you


Prayer for today:

God, thank you for the sending of your Son, the Lord Jesus. Thank you that as he ascended to Heaven, you didn't leave us to fight the Christian life by our own strength, but rather you sent us the helper, your Spirit. I pray that you would help me to be filled by your Spirit today as I go about my daily tasks. May I eagerly put into practice the 4 commands from my reflection time so that I may be a more faithful follower of you.