Life in the Spirit Online Seminar
Week 6  Growth
“I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.”                                   (John 15:5)
            Not to go forwards is to go backwards.  When we begin a new life, we have to grow, or we will always be stunted and incomplete.  You have been given a new life, now you must grow to maturity in it.
            Being baptized in the Spirit is only a beginning.  It is a first step.  It should not be the spiritual highpoint of your life.  It should be the low point  - from this time onwards.  The Lord wants it to be the beginning of a better life.
            You have a seed of new life in you.  With the right soil and the right care a seed will grow naturally.  Learn how to care for it, and have no fear; it will grow.
The Wheel

The wheel represents your life as a Christian.
The rim of the wheel represents your daily life.  
  As the rim revolves around the hub, you move forward.
The hub of the wheel is Christ. 
 The hub of a wheel is the source of power and direction for the whole wheel.  Christ is the source of power and direction for your life. Spokes transmit the power and direction from the hub to the rim.  As long as the rim is in contact with the hub through the spokes, it can move forward.  Some spokes for your Christian life are: prayer study (of God’s word) community (life shared with other Christians) service. Growth comes from Christ, who gives you a new life.  But you need to do those things which will keep you in contact with him.
Words of life
Day 1:
            Jesus has given you a new life through the Holy Spirit.  The life of the Holy Spirit in you is not like a pool of water that you have to guard carefully or it will turn dry.  It is like a flowing spring that will grow in you unless you do something to stop it up.  Jesus promises you: “Anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again:  the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life.”       (Jn 4:14)
Day 2:
Your life is in Christ; it comes from Christ.  If you stay firmly joined to him, it will grow and bear fruit.  If you let yourself be separated from him, it will wither away.  Jesus says: “I am the vine, your are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers.”
(Jn 15:5-6)
Day 3:
            Jesus has given you a new self, a new way of life which is more spiritual, happier and better than the old.  But you must actively put away your old self so that you might experience this new life.  God’s word urges you:
                        “You must give up your old way of life; you must put aside your old self, which gets corrupted by following illusory desires.  Your minds must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth.”                    
(Eph 4:22-23)
Day 4:
            In order to keep in contact with God who is our source of life, you should pray.  Jesus prayed.  Although he was the son of God, although he was very busy, he knew he had to pray.  You too have to pray if you wish to stay alive spiritually.  Imitate Jesus.
“Jesus’ reputation continued to grow, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured, but he would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray.”    (Lk 5:15-16)
Day 5:
            In order to grow in the life of the Spirit, you need to know what God teaches.  The scriptures are the word of God, and they contain words of life.  Read them and meditate on them faithfully and you will grow.  God’s word says: “From the holy scriptures you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy,” (ii Tim 3:15-17)
Day 6:
            The Christian life is not an individualistic life.  By himself, a Christian is incomplete.  The gift of the Spirit led the first Christians to join together and to form a community in which they helped one another to grow.  Be faithful to the Church and to meeting with the Christians who have helped you find new life in the Spirit.  Imitate the Christians on the day of Pentecost.
                                    “That very day about three thousand were added to their number.  These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.  The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common.  They shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone.  Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.   (Acts 2:41-47)
Day 7:
            If you love other people, you will want to share with them the best thing you have – the Lord.  Share what you have found with wisdom, following the leading of the Spirit.  God’s word says: “Be tactful with those who are not Christians and be sure that you make the best use of your time with them.  Talk to them agreeably and with a flavor of wit, and try to fit your answers to the needs of each one.”
(Col 4:5-6)
            This week the two chapters we will read are about continuing faithfully in our life with Jesus and being changed into being like him:
John 17, Philippians 3