How do we serve with our spirit in the gospel? “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Romans 1:9 NKJV). Here is the Modern Language Bible translation. “For God, whom I serve with my spiritual self in the good news concerning His Son, bears me witness how constantly I mention you whenever I am at my prayers.” We are spirit, soul, and body. The soul stands between the body and the spirit. Our body connects to the world around us as we receive external sense information from the body to make decisions. Our spirit connects to the Spirit of God and receives information to help us make decisions. When we serve the body, we are in the flesh.
When we serve the Spirit, we are in the spirit. We serve the Spirit when directed to act according to the directions of God. Paul said he was serving the spirit in the gospel—in the spread of the Gospel. To serve is to minister, even worship the Father by listening to the Spirit and acting accordingly. We walk in the spirit because we directed by the indwelling Spirit.
Sometimes we maintain a small image of something that is really bigger. Seeing pictures of Niagara Falls is an example, but until you’ve been there in person do you understand the magnitude of just how powerful and BIG it really is. And, unfortunately the same thing happens in our spiritual lives. You’re told God loves you so much that it’s sometime hard to fathom. You’re told about God’s great grace through the finished work of Jesus. You get a glimpse of it in recognizing that you were saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Is that all there is to God’s grace? No!
Paul says in Romans 5:17 that we receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. God’s grace never runs out. You can’t deplete God’s grace ever. And when you believed in Jesus, you got it all. The abundance and fullness of every good gift that God has is already yours, benefits of the New Covenant. You’re a joint heir with Jesus so everything is rightfully yours as His child. Allow God’s kaleidoscope of grace in you to become bigger than you can imagine.
Do Believers still pray today? “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Romans 1:9 NKJV). Life today is hectic and busy. When I retired, I expected to have plenty of time to do what I wanted to do. I remember when I was about to retire from IBM, I attended a retirement seminar. One thing I heard from the speakers was that unless you do some time management, your days will slip by and you’ll get nothing done. Your time will fill with unexpected things.
Time is a precious commodity. With writing for our websites, I don’t seem to get to other writing I want to do. Prayer can take a back seat. I don’t know if Paul had regular times of prayer, but when he prayed, he thought of those he ministered to and those he hoped he would minister. In Philippians 1:3, Paul said, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” In addition, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 he said, “Pray without ceasing.” Listen for the Holy Spirit to bring remembrance of someone and then pray for him or her.
Part of your Spiritual Breathing training is to keep at it. It isn’t something you say once and then that’s it. It’s a practice you’ll need to do every day. For some of us it may be needed multiple times during a day. That’s okay because there’s plenty of provision for meeting our needs. Recognize that each time you breathe in God’s promises, you are breathing in His grace. You’re breathing in His promise to come to your aid. You’re breathing in His faithfulness, His peace, His Joy, His provision. It’s His abundant, over the top, more than sufficient grace to meet whatever you need. It isn’t taking a shallow breath, but a deep filling of your lungs and your entire being with the presence of Jesus.
Your ‘needs’ can sometimes overwhelm you but God’s grace is abundant and never runs out. His provision is more than your need. You won’t experience it by continuing to talk about your lack. That’s why spiritual breathing is so important. It’s time to breathe in His grace. Focus on Jesus. Receive His provisions for you, and you’ll be refreshed in His grace and goodness.
Do they speak of your faith throughout the whole world? “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). The Roman world wasn’t quite as big then, but that is quite a statement. Today it’s possible with the internet. Ninety-three countries have visited our website. We can get the Gospel into every country of the world. Christian TV stations beam the Gospel into every country. It’s amazing what they can do. When they say www, they really mean the World Wide Web. All countries have received the Gospel. It’s through Jesus we can celebrate these accomplishments. I don’t know but Jesus may have told Paul that someday the Gospel will spread around the world as it is today.
What are people speaking about you? Are they speaking about your faith? We live in an age of protest. If you don’t like something, then protest is the way of the world. The world is divided in so many ways. Instead, we believers should be known by our faith and love. Instead of talking about how bad things are, talk about how good Jesus is. Instead of passing on division, let’s respond in unity.
It’s obvious but breathing is very important because without breath, we won’t live. There are exercise programs that emphasis and teach you how to breathe to gain the maximum benefits. In a Senior Yoga Class we’ve been taking this year, we learn to center our breathing as we focus our breathing while doing easy movements. After one of our classes the thought came to me that we should have a Spiritual Breathing Class that helps you center your breathing in God’s grace as you focus on Jesus. The more you practice spiritual breathing, the more you’ll walk in the benefits of God’s grace through Jesus.
So, how do you do this? Every time you concentrate (focus) on the Word and relax with your thoughts by centering them on what Jesus has already done for you, you’re practicing spiritual breathing. Maybe you’ve got a stack of bills to pay and not enough money to cover everything. Take a spiritual breath as you center your thoughts on what Jesus has done for you. Then release the care of your need and breathe in His grace, love, provision, and favor. Your focus will be His provisions, not your lack. Why not practice it right now?
Are you thanking God for those around you? “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). This was first in Paul’s mind and heart. We have to remember when we are seeing scripture that it is not just Paul saying this but also the Holy Spirit who prompted the words. Instead, one the first things on our mind is to pray for me, but it should be praying for others. Charlene and I are certainly thankful for each person who reads this message on our websites or on media such as Facebook, Twitter, and many others. We don’t know who all reads the messages and receives the word of grace.
We thank you all, and must quickly add that it is all through Jesus that this is even possible. I think we have forgotten that we aren’t the only ones who need divine help through the daily trials, which appear each day. We really need thank God for each other and pray blessings on each person we meet through the day. It helps take self out of the equation and not so much ‘woe is me’ syndrome. If you know I’m thanking God for you, then I can know you are thanking God for me.
Too often as believers we tend to walk around thinking we’re weak and defeated but that’s not the truth. It’s time to speak the truth that Ephesians 3:16 (NASB) declares which is a totally different picture. “That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.” Granted we all might need an extra push some days or an ‘umph’ to make it through the waves of life, but those occasions should last briefly. The more we declare that we’re weak, joy-less, or hindered in any way, we set ourselves in agreement with lies.
But the more we declare that we are strengthened by God’s might and power according to His riches in glory, we cement that truth in our hearts and minds. The result will be dramatic. You’ll find you the strength you were previously lacking. You’ll discover the abiding joy of God’s power and presence in your life. Don’t continue speaking contrary to the Word. Align your words, thoughts, and your heart with Ephesians 3:16 and you won’t be lacking for strength, joy, peace, faith, favor, blessing or anything else in God’s prism of His fulness.