This past week I spent 6 days working with Hope Reigns doing disaster flood relief in West Virginia. This is the third trip I have done with Hope Reigns. They are a division of Eight Days of Hope a non-profit organization that helps communities rebuild after a disaster.
Every morning the volunteers gather and someone shares a message or devotional and we pray together before heading out to the projects. In the evening after we eat together we have a time of worship and a message and more prayer.
On Monday July 4th I shared a devotional with the volunteers in the morning. We had been talking about the heart of God and understanding how amazing his heart is. Here is what I shared:
As I think about the heart of God I have to think about my own heart. My heart is not perfect like God’s, I have stuff in there that is not good. Things like anger, greed, envy, lust and pride just to name a few.
Of course Jesus changed everything when it comes to our spirit and our heart. He made is possible once again to be at one with God. To be reconciled to Him and a part of God’s family. God’s heart is for us and His desire is for all to be reconciled to Him.
When we make the decision to have a relationship with Jesus. When we believe Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, that he took the sins of the world on himself and died on a cross for those sins and then three days later rose from the dead overcoming sin and death, our spirit is changed. We now have a part of God in us, the Holy Spirit resided in us. That is when our hearts start to change.
We begin to see the world differently, we see people differently, we have a new perspective on life. We are no longer slaves to sin because Jesus is now our Master.
Romans 8:26-28 says: “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them”
So since we have the Holy Spirit with us and for us and in us, we have a great advantage in life. Over time as we mature in our faith and relationship with Christ. Our heart changes, those things that were in there begin to become less and less and we have more of the Spirit in us. In Galatians Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit and below is a listing of those fruits and a definition, the opposite and the counterfeit.
Be filled by the Spirit:
Definition – To serve a person for their good and intrinsic value, not for what the person brings you.
Opposite – Fear: self-protection and abusing people.
Counterfeit – Selfish affection. Rescuing someone but really rescuing self. Attracted not to a person, but to how this person’s love makes you feel about yourself.
Definition – Delight in God and his salvation
Opposite – Hopelessness, despair.
Counterfeit – Happiness that come because of the gift, not the giver. Mood swings based on circumstances.
Definition – Confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than your own.
Opposite – Anxiety and worry
Counterfeit – Indifference, apathy, not caring about something. “I don’t care.”
Definition – Ability to take trouble (from others or life) without blowing up. To suffer joyfully.
Opposite – Resentment toward God and others.
Counterfeit – Cynicism. Self-righteousness. “This is too small to be bothered about.”
Definition – Practical kindness with vulnerability out of deep inner security.
Opposite – Envy. Unable to rejoice others joy.
Counterfeit – Manipulative good deeds. “Right hand knowing what left hand is doing.” Self-congratulation and self-righteousness
– Goodness. (Integrity)
Definition – Honesty, transparency. Being the same in one situation as another.
Opposite – Phoniness; hypocrisy.
Counterfeit – Truth without love. “Getting it off the chest” for your sake.
Definition – Loyalty. Courage. To be principle-driven, committed, utterly reliable. True to one’s word.
Opposite – Opportunist. Fair-weather friend.
Counterfeit – Love without truth. Being loyal when you should be willing to confront or challenge.
– gentleness. (humility)
Definition – Self-forgetfulness.
Opposite – Superiority: self-absorbed
Counterfeit – Inferiority: self-absorbed, self-consciousness.
Definition – Ability to choose the important thing over the urgent.
Opposite – A driven, impulsive, uncontrolled person.
Counterfeit – Willpower through pride
So we have the heart of God in us and The Holy Spirit is active every day in our lives. We have everything we need to live life to the fullest and to deal with anything that comes our way.