‘But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.’ (v25) James 1:22–27

The second essential strand Scripture demands of us is obedience. This impacts our thoughts, our words and our deeds.

I often end my day by making a prayerful reflection inviting God to bring to mind the thoughts, words and deeds that were unnecessary. They may have been unkind, untrue and more about massaging my pride through criticising others than about appealing to God for mercy and help.

It is one thing to lay claim to the promises of Christ, quite another to submit one’s life ruthlessly to be shaped by them. I enjoy gardening and I have discovered that rich harvests require radical pruning.

Jesus made this clear to His disciples. Little wonder then, that so much of ‘me’ requires pruning so there’s an opportunity for God’s blossom to form kingdom fruit.

And as with every fruit-bearing tree, their harvest is never for themselves but the nourishment of others. God looks to see that our lives are an open expression of His will revealed through His Word.

Active attention to obedience is essential. We receive the basic toolkit, the fruit of the Spirit, the moment we choose Christ.

The Christian disciple’s due diligence is regularly to audit behaviour to ensure that our faith determines both our feelings and our actions. Learning to live God’s way is a disciplined process and one we do well to talk through with fellow committed disciples.

Related Scripture to Consider: Exod. 20:1–21; Isa. 58; John 15:1–8; Gal. 5:13–26.

An Action to Take: Consider how the fruit of the Spirit practically shapes your feelings and behaviour.

A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, help me to live my life aligned with Your chosen path as revealed throughout Scripture. Amen.’

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.