Pastoral Care, Chapter 10: Live in The Spirit – Part 2

Paul said to the Romans, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” and “it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and, if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…”

Allow me this. When I was a boy, people used to say I was the “spittin’ image” of my grandfather. I did not really understand what that meant until years later. I learned that “spittin’ Image” is actually a contraction of the two words “spirit” and “image.” Saying someone is the “spittin’ image” of another is a way of saying the one looks like and has the same spirit or behavior patterns of another.

Since we are created in the image of God, and have God’s Spirit within us, it would follow that people seeing us should be able to see in us some of the characteristics of God; thus living in the Spirit and image of our creator. In his Letter to the Galatians, Paul give us a list of some of the indication that a person has caught the wind. He says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. No law exists against any of these…. If our lives are centered in the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.”

Did you want to know how or where to begin to live in the Spirit? Begin with these virtues Paul listed, and let the Spirit at work within you lead you further into such a life. At its most elementary and undefined level living in the Spirit means living a life of connectedness. It means regularly practicing the presence of God within you. An electrical appliance is almost useless if it is not plugged into the power. Plugged in, however, it can fulfill its purpose. How much more is that true of us human beings.

How do you stay connected? Prayer and meditation are helpful ways. Intentionally doing what you believe God would be doing if God were human, as God was in Jesus, is a way of being an incarnation of God. Like Jesus, you could say “we are one.” Religion can be helpful in providing other ways to manifest your identity with God. Remember, however, that it is your identity with the Spirit witch ultimately matters rather than the religious practices through which you seek to express it.

I shall never forget a dear elderly lady who had been told she was dying. She had asked to see me. She said, “Pastor, all of my life I have gone to church. I have memorized verses of scripture to help me in times like this. Now I can’t remember any of the verses I have learned. “I asked her, “Do you think the One who made the promises has forgotten them?’’ She said,” Oh, no,” I said, “What matters then is not what you know but whom you know. You are a precious child of God and God has promised to be with you.”

To live in the Spirit means to recognize whose you are, and that it is important what you know. What is ultimately important, however, is whom you know and trust to know and to love you. So hoist your sail! Catch the wind and the Spirit. Be empowered and guide to where you want to go; and, finally, to the safe harbor of the heavenly rest. Listen. Can you hear it? Do you feel the Spirit? Live I the Spirit.

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