Reading the Bible in a year for the past few years has been huge for me. Even when I’ve had a lull, I don’t let myself get stuck in shame or guilt. Instead, I pick up where I left off and keep going — I stay connected to Jesus.
As I go through the Bible, I do some journaling, writing some thoughts down as I go. This process has really drawn me closer to the heart of Jesus. My spiritual growth also encourages my wife and draws her closer to Jesus as well. As Jan and I both embrace who we are in Christ, we are able to better realize that we can trust the Holy Spirit to help us live out this life He’s calling us to live. We really trust that He can do it! Apart from Him, we cannot do anything.
As I continually experience this amazing truth, I am encouraged and inspired to know that the Holy Spirit — God’s Spirit — actually lives and dwells within us! He is real and He can be trusted. As a result of embracing His presence in my life, I also get to experience the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These characteristics become a natural part of who we are when we stay connected and close to Christ.
So what does that look like in real time? It’s been really good for Jan and me to see just how simple this is. It’s the simplicity of loving people for who they are and right where they are. It’s the compassion to see someone hurting and understanding the journey they’re on. We all have that in common — we’re on a journey of maturing as individuals. So we need to be forgiving and learning through the process of our own growth, maturing into the person God has created us to be, and loving those who are on their journey. The fruit of our journey is what’s on display for those around us to see.
I never thought I could fully trust the Holy Spirit to work in me, to display the love, joy and peace that He brings. But I can! The only thing I need to do is trust that the Spirit in me will work and does work. Since coming to know this, my life has changed dramatically.
I’m not perfect — nowhere near. I know I need to continue to mature in understanding how to love well and express joy well, how to be patient and kind, forgiving and faithful. But as I begin to realize just how real God’s Spirit is within me, I see Him actually at work to change me. I am so grateful for the work God has done and is doing inside of me. As Ephesians 2:8-10 says:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We are becoming God’s masterpieces. In Christ we are complete, we have all of Him, but now it’s a process of maturing into the person He’s created us to be for His Kingdom. By reading God’s Word faithfully, I’m growing up. I’m maturing into that person, but I know I still have a long way to go.
— Dave Dravecky, former MLB pitcher
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.