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The Spirit Filled Life: Freedom and healing

Summary

Isaiah 42 depicts the Servant of God as being filled with the Spirit to bring forth justice, healing and freedom to the nations. But the manner in which he does it is beautiful. He is filled with compassion for those who feel weak, faint or discouraged. 

These verses were fulfilled by Jesus, who treated people with such amazing compassion: ‘A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out’ (quoted in Matthew 12:20)

This practice is in two halves, each of which contains time for personal reflection, followed by a short discussion. You may want to have one of the following in front of you, to help focus your thoughts: either a lit candle, or a flower or plant. If you don’t have either to hand, you might find it helpful to look at an image of one. 

Read Isaiah 42:1-4, and then take 7-8 minutes to reflect by yourself, perhaps with your screen turned off, and with music on if you would like. And then take another 7-8 minutes to share your reflections in pairs or threes. 

Practice (7-8 minutes) 

Look at the candle or flower in front of you.
Think about how vulnerable and fragile it looks.
Blow gently on the flame and watch how it flickers.
Reflect on how easy it would be to blow it out.
Hold the flower in your hand, and feel how light it is.
Reflect on how easy it would be to damage or break the stem.
Now imagine that this flame or this flower represents your life.
Speak to Jesus about the areas where you feel vulnerable, faint, or fragile.
Reflect on the ways he shows gentleness towards you, and thank him for them. 

Discussion (7-8 minutes)

In breakout rooms of 2 or 3, share any reflections you had on the gentleness of Jesus towards you. 

Practice (7-8 minutes) 

Once you are back by yourself, look again at the candle or flower in front of you.
This time, imagine that the flame or flower represents the lives of others around you.
Perhaps think of particular people you know are struggling, or ask the Spirit to bring people to mind.
As you think about these people, pray that Jesus would show compassion to them and strengthen them.
Ask the Spirit to speak to you about ways he can use you to bring healing and freedom to these people.
Ask him to clothe you with compassion, and empower you to treat others as Jesus treats you.
Particularly listen for any prompts that the Spirit gives you about things you can say or do. 

Discussion (7-8 minutes)

In breakout rooms of 2 or 3, share any reflections you had on how the Spirit may want to use you to show compassion to those around you. 

Closing Prayer 

Holy Spirit,
F
ire that cannot be quenched.
So often I feel like a flickering flame,
Teetering on the edge of extinguishment.
Would you put your hands around me,
To protect me from the storms.
Would you breathe gently upon me,
And reignite me once again.
Would you make me a light to others,
So that my life may testify of your goodness and grace. 

Amen.