NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Galatians 5:22
— What evidence do you look for that you or someone else has fully surrendered to God?
— When you think of the working of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life, what form does that work take?
— What is the greatest example in your own life of the working of the Holy Spirit?
Food for thought:
A beloved comic strip character makes the paradoxical observation that while he loves humanity, he has a problem with people. The irony and absurdity are not lost on us, nor are they foreign to us. How often do we love the general concept (lose weight, save money, etc.) but rue the specifics of the concept (control our eating and exercise, rein in our spending, etc.). Frequently we have proven the old adage, “The devil is in the details.”
Andrew Murray, renowned pastor and author of a previous generation, wrote his classic work “Absolute Surrender” to challenge believers to fully embrace the surrendered life. Specifically in this session Murray addresses, “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). We tend to look for and desire the power of the Spirit in our lives and believe that reflects our full surrender. But, “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” The Spirit, being God, must be as God is, and Scripture tells us plainly that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Our full surrender, then, will result in love, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love.”
How will we recognize this fruit in our lives? Murray stresses “nothing but love can expel and conquer our selfishness.” The Bible repeatedly reveals the evils of one’s self. We acknowledge the same when we conclude, “He’s his own worst enemy.”
When we seek the working of the Spirit in our lives, do we look for the dramatic, the spectacular, the entertaining? Or do we long for His conquering of our selfishness and conforming us to God’s nature? Do we hunger for the death of our old self and for the life of God and His love to live through us?
Does the Spirit’s fruit of love flourish in us, bringing unity between us and fellow believers? Does His love overflow such that we do not grow weary in doing good through ministering in His name? The devil might be found in the details, but love is the evidence of the Holy Spirit.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork .