Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: Love, cultivating Spirit-given character

This six week study is part one of a whole series on the fruit of the Spirit.  Based on Galatians 5:22-23, Calvin has created an in-depth look at the character traits that flow from a life in the Holy Spirit.  Someone has observed that Christianity failure to reach the whole world is based solely on its non-practice.  Calvin focuses in on developing the practice of scripture in our daily lives.

By developing this series, readers/studiers are given opportunity to engage in conversation that goes deeper than the surface relationships that define our current culture.  To see someone’s life transformed by the gospel will always display itself in changed behavior.  Changed behavior results from a change in our thinking, and thought are regulated by the set of our will.  In this linear progression, Calvin assumes that a person who will study this material has become a believer and so this study attempts to invade our minds with scriptural truths.

He begins with the first manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit which is love.  As he states, love “is the most overused and misused word in our language today.  The first week the studies are labeled “The Evidence of Love is Giving.”  God’s love to us is shown by His extravagant gifts.  Contrasting that with our penchant for exchanging, giving with no expectation of return is an insight into God’s character.

With each day’s meditation, he presents a couple of thought provoking questions.  Few people today set aside time to think about God and spiritual things, but reflection or meditation seem essential to integrating the fruit of the Spirit into our daily lives.

He moves from the thought of giving, to forgiving the second week.  The third week love defines God.   The fourth week he directs us to understand that God’s love is demonstrated by His passion for His world.  He then focuses on the unconditional longing of God.  With a comprehensive view of who God is (Love), he spends the sixth week to teach about love being the incarnational force of God.  I believe this study would benefit most every believer.

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