The Holy Spirit

The Spirit Equips

This devotional is written by Pip Coombs. Wife to Matt, meaning she literally spends every day with Matt & is a midwife.

1 Corinthians 12

Life Through the Spirit 8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation--but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, "Abba,[g] Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Present Suffering and Future Glory 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.




Reflection

It's hard to avoid the often competitive nature of our culture. It's a dog eat dog world, and if we're not competing, we're comparing ourselves to those around us. Just me?

Don't get me wrong, competition can be a great thing. Think Olympics or Great British Bakeoff or when literally anyone beats my husband at any game ever... It can be challenging and rewarding.

But competition can so easily take a dark twist. It inevitably leads to comparing ourselves to those around us, and forgetting or under appreciating what we have to offer.

Take this a step further and that dark twist can spiral out of control and we can begin to resent those around us, especially if we think that their gifts and qualities are 'better' than our own.

Well this passage should be an encouragement to those of us who struggle with comparison. It's a reminder that we ALL have something to offer. There's no hierarchy. No need for comparison. All are necessary for the building up of the church as we grow in unity.

In today's culture, we have to consciously choose to support each other, rejoice in our neighbour's successes and fight against the instinct to compete because ultimately "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it." (26)

Can I challenge you? As an act of subversion against the cultural trends: call out the gifts in those around you. Celebrate their gifts. Who can you message to thank them for the difference they make to our church community? Go for the obvious ones, but also go for the people that you think might be overlooked.

Holy Spirit, fill me again, equip me with your gifts to enter this day. Help me to use them to bring greater unity to our church. Help me leave any thoughts of comparison behind. Amen.


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