“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. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:15–16 (NIV)
You are sitting in a restaurant and the atmosphere is quiet until an older man gets a bit cantankerous and his loud conversation lets negativity creep into the dining room.
But just then, Mrs. Jones and some of her friends are seated. They’re in a festive mood, laughing and hugging and even cheerfully greeting diners around their table.
It’s a party, and everyone’s invited! Their joy spills and splashes across the room, and even the cantankerous old man is now smiling and laughing.
Their energy has just changed the entire atmosphere, and it leaves you longing to be part of their group.
Mrs. Jones is a snapshot of us when we let the perfect love of God drive the fear from our lives (1 John 4:18). We live in love, which means we live in God, and God’s love is complete because he lives in us (1 John 4:16).
God’s Spirit in us testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Romans 8:15–16). And the joy of Jesus working within us bubbles out as an unforced testimony of God’s life in us.
Our objective-in-Jesus is to embrace God’s grace until the love and joy we experience is infectious, spreading to those around us, creating a longing within them to join our family — the family of God.
Jon Walker’s new book, In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's Classic Work “Life Together,” is an explanation of why every believer needs to be involved in a small group and why small groups put flesh on the Body of Christ.
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Jon Walker is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals. © 2011 Jon Walker. Used by permission.