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The Spirit does God's work through us

July 20, 2022

Daily Scripture

Romans 8:11, 14-16

11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.

14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

As he did in other letters (cf. Galatians 5:16-23), Paul contrasted a life built around self (Greek “life in the flesh”) with a life focused on God by the Spirit’s leading. “When Paul uses the word ‘flesh’…he does not intend us simply to think of the ‘physical’ world….‘flesh’ refers to people or things who share the corruptibility and mortality of the world…the rebellion of the world ….‘Spirit’, by contrast, usually refers to God’s own spirit, the holy spirit.” * Only the Spirit “leads to life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

  • Moralistic religion often deepens guilt by saying it’s your job to “deal with sin” (in yourself or other people) on your own. But Romans 8:3 said God sent his own son to “to deal with sin.” How have you sensed a shift, over time, from basing your life on your own human ideas to basing it on the principles God’s Spirit teaches you and guides you in living? Where is your life’s “growing edge” right now—in what areas is that shift taking place (not necessarily without struggles)?
  • In verse 15, Paul contrasted God’s loving adoption of us as sons and daughters with “a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear.” What factors have shaped your view of God as either a person you serve out of fear, or as a loving father who wants what is best for you? If your life experience left any negative overtones around the word “father,” what other relationships and images help you fully trust that God loves you?

God, I’m filled with awe that you really want me as a member of your family, as one of your beloved “kids.” Help me to live in love and gratitude as a loyal family member. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas joined the Resurrection staff in 2021 and serves in donor relations. She’s a Boston native and moved to Kansas City in 2020 when her husband Blake accepted a call at Resurrection West to lead their student ministries! Her favorite pastimes include pottery, hiking, frisbee, trying new restaurants, and spending time with Blake and their large orange cat, Tuna.

I am an east-coaster, born and raised in the Boston area. My parents were both born in Long Island, NY and lived there most of their lives. Not every east coast stereotype is true, but if you’re picturing a huge Irish, Italian family with thick accents and big opinions then you’ve pretty much nailed my family dynamic. Growing up, my house was LOUD and slightly chaotic. As a quieter child, it was a little hard to keep up. People often used to tell me I “must have been adopted” because I didn’t quite fit the mold.

Finding identity within my family dynamic was challenging at times. I remember learning about the Holy Spirit during the formative years of my faith. You mean to tell me there’s a quiet “wind” that’s always with me speaking into my life? It felt so contrary to my life at home. I loved it and the powerful way it offered belonging, connection, and peace. The deeper my faith became, the more I felt the Holy Spirit’s guidance moving me to intuitively follow God’s calling on my life. It’s so humbling to know that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. It lives in you, too. Just pause on that for a moment–I mean, wow!

I love the Holy Spirit deeply. I love the way it makes me feel held and known in moments of chaos. I am acutely aware of the ways the Holy Spirit connects us all. What a gift that we are all created with this divine spirit living and breathing inside us all that invites us to experience wholeness, as one community of God’s children. Just as we are adopted into the trinity’s holy and eternal family, we get to adopt this spirit into our daily rhythm. As we breathe in and breathe out.

I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit has connected us as one church family. Yes, that makes you all honorary east coasters, just as I have been welcomed into the Midwest with open arms! If I could, I’d invite you all over for a homemade, traditional Italian pasta dinner (I hope I have the chance to host some of you one day!). In the meantime, I am praying for you. May the Holy Spirit lead and guide you today and every day. With each inhale and exhale, I pray you feel connected to your eternal church family that lives in you today and forever. Amen.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Wright, N.T., Paul for Everyone, Romans Part One: Chapters 1-8 (pp. 140-141). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.