Editor's note:

The Reser­voir is a fif­teen-month week­day devo­tion­al that moves through the six major Chris­t­ian tra­di­tions out­lined by Richard Fos­ter in Streams of Liv­ing Water. The excerpt below is from Month Sev­en: The Spir­it-Empow­ered Life.

—Renovaré Team

Excerpt from The Reservoir

Mon­day

A VITAL AND EXCIT­ING LIFE 

The truth of the mat­ter is this: God wants to be active in our lives; to endow us with super­nat­ur­al abil­i­ties; to see us live with love, joy, peace, and so on. — Richard Foster

Often Chris­tians earn a rep­u­ta­tion as killjoys, peo­ple afraid of hap­pi­ness and excite­ment. But read­ing the book of Acts demol­ish­es that stereo­type. There we see Jesus’ dis­ci­ples filled with the Holy Spir­it, doing the very things Jesus did — heal­ing the sick, cast­ing out demons, and bold­ly and joy­ful­ly pro­claim­ing the good news of the king­dom of God. 

Far from being sad and dull, the Spir­it-empow­ered life is joy­ful, vital, and excit­ing. We turn our atten­tion to that life this week. 

Read: Acts 3:1 – 10 

Reflect:

  1. Some­times we may try to be faith­ful dis­ci­ples on our own, with­out the pow­er of the Holy Spir­it. Describe what that looks like. What is the result of striv­ing to fol­low Jesus in our own strength?
  2. Do you believe that the Holy Spir­it can empow­er you to live the same kind of life and do the same kinds of things that the apos­tles did in the first cen­tu­ry? Why or why not? 

Tues­day

A LIFE THAT BEARS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT 

The fruit of the Spir­it is a gift of God, and only He can pro­duce it. They who bear it know as lit­tle about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the pow­er of Him on whom their life depends. — Diet­rich Bonhoeffer

Con­sid­er a tree. It doesn’t bear fruit of its own will. Rather, it sim­ply func­tions as it was made to func­tion. If its fruit is miss­ing or poor­ly formed, the fruit-grow­er knows that some­thing is wrong.

You may remem­ber from the Ser­mon on the Mount a sec­tion about false prophets. How do we dis­cern them? Jesus says sim­ply, You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). Like­wise, fol­low­ers of Jesus are known by their fruit. Psalm 1 says that those who delight in the law of the Lord are like trees plant­ed by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its sea­son.”

Read: Gala­tians 5:22 – 25 

Reflect:

  1. What words would you use to describe the process of a tree going from seed to sapling to bear­ing fruit? How do these apply to our spir­i­tu­al life? 
  2. Take note of which word Paul places first in his list of the fruit of the Spir­it. Why do you think he does this? What impli­ca­tions might we draw from this?
  3. Read through the fruit of the Spir­it again. Is there one aspect in par­tic­u­lar that stands out to you, per­haps one you wish to grow in? Write out a prayer to ask for the pow­er of the Spir­it in that area. 

Wednes­day

A LIFE OPEN TO THE RENEW­ING WORK OF THE SPIRIT 

To renew your mind is to involve your­self in the process of allow­ing God to bring to the sur­face the lies you have mis­tak­en­ly accept­ed and replace them with truth. To the degree that you do this, your behav­ior will be trans­formed. — Charles Stanley

Have you ever seen a snake shed its skin? As the snake grows, the old skin stretch­es until it can no longer con­tain the snake. The snake then glides across a rough sur­face to leave its old skin behind. The shed skin is often full of par­a­sites and sur­face wounds that get left behind as the snake emerges renewed. 

A Spir­it-empow­ered life con­stant­ly stretch­es us. Our old skins” — bad habits of think­ing and relat­ing to one anoth­er — are get­ting sloughed off. Some­times the process is uncom­fort­able, even painful. But take heart. What God wants to make us into is well worth the process. 

Read: Titus 3:1 – 7 

Reflect:

  1. Scrip­ture speaks often of the pow­er of the Holy Spir­it. In today’s pas­sage, Paul gives exam­ples of a Spir­it-renewed life that may not sound pow­er­ful: be sub­ject to author­i­ties, avoid quar­rel­ing, be gen­tle, show cour­tesy. How is the pow­er of the Holy Spir­it evi­dent in these qualities? 
  2. Have you ever expe­ri­enced a time where you were aware of the Spirit’s work in your life and it sur­prised you — for exam­ple, a time when you may have nor­mal­ly been angry but respond­ed in love, or a time when you said some­thing you hadn’t planned to say and it blessed some­one else? Thank God that the Holy Spir­it is at work in your life. 

Thurs­day

A LIFE OF WORSHIP 

Wor­ship must be Christ cen­tered, Holy Spir­it led, a response to the Father … and always lead to trans­for­ma­tion. — Tim Hughes

For the Samar­i­tan woman whose sto­ry is told in today’s pas­sage, wor­ship was loca­tion depen­dent. Her main ques­tion was one of place: Where should we wor­ship? But Jesus, as he so often does, inter­acts with a bet­ter ques­tion: How should we wor­ship?

Places and forms of wor­ship can be help­ful. But ulti­mate­ly wor­ship — ascrib­ing worth and hon­or to God in what­ev­er we do, say, or sing — is about the heart. The Holy Spir­it, as our teacher, wants to reveal to us God’s good­ness, beau­ty, truth — and most of all his love. We need only ask. And when God’s love and beau­ty and truth are seen, it is only nat­ur­al to respond in thank­ful­ness and worship. 

Read: John 4:19 – 24 

Reflect:

  1. What does it mean to wor­ship God in spir­it and truth”? 
  2. Jesus said, The hour is com­ing, and is now here.” What hap­pened in the com­ing of Jesus that allows us to wor­ship in spir­it and truth? 
  3. Do you desire to grow in the area of wor­ship? Ask the Holy Spir­it to show you today God’s good­ness, beau­ty, truth, and love in spe­cif­ic ways. When that prayer is answered, when your heart leaps at behold­ing some­thing good, offer a sim­ple prayer of wor­ship — like Thank you, Lord,” or You are amaz­ing, God.” 

Fri­day

A LIFE THAT USES SPIR­I­TU­AL GIFTS IN LOVE 

Signs, won­ders, mir­a­cles and heal­ings, rev­e­la­tions and visions — these are all part of our walk with the Spir­it. They become a wit­ness to non­be­liev­ers and an affir­ma­tion of hope to believ­ers. — Richard Foster

One of the mys­ter­ies of com­ing to faith in Jesus is that we are giv­en spir­i­tu­al gifts by the Holy Spir­it. In today’s pas­sage, Paul out­lines a few of them.

It is pos­si­ble to use our spir­i­tu­al gifts in unhealthy ways, dis­con­nect­ed from rela­tion­ship with Jesus (Matthew 7:21 – 23). Gifts can also be overem­pha­sized or even fab­ri­cat­ed. But God’s desire is that we use spir­i­tu­al gifts moti­vat­ed by love and in rela­tion­ship with Jesus. This is good for every­one! We receive the joy of serv­ing, oth­ers receive the encour­age­ment of being served, and God receives the glo­ry in it all. 

Read: 1 Corinthi­ans 12:1 – 11 

Reflect:

  1. Which of these spir­i­tu­al gifts are you famil­iar with? Which are unfamiliar? 
  2. Depend­ing on cul­ture and denom­i­na­tion, spir­i­tu­al gifts can be a divi­sive top­ic. What have been your own expe­ri­ences with the spir­i­tu­al gifts? 
  3. What are your spir­i­tu­al gifts? If you are unsure, con­sid­er pray­ing and talk­ing with a pas­tor, friend, or col­league to iden­ti­fy how the Holy Spir­it has gift­ed you.

Learn more about The Reser­voir: A Fif­teen-Month Week­day Devo­tion­al for Indi­vid­u­als and Groups.

Originally published September 2019

Starting Soon: The 2020-21 Renovaré Book Club

An inten­tion­al way to read for trans­for­ma­tion not just infor­ma­tion. Runs Sep­tem­ber 2020 through May 2021.

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