For the past two years, the Foursquare family has united together across the globe in prayer and fasting at the start of the new year.
This posture of united and collective faith is our way of declaring our ongoing need for God’s mercies, power and leading in all things. We are contending for a mighty move of His Spirit that spreads throughout the world.
Foursquare’s theme for 2018 is “Transformed by Jesus.” Throughout Scripture, we see the Spirit in every facet of God’s plan: from creation, to the cross, to the resurrection, to the birth of the church, and to advancing God’s mission. While we anticipate the day when all of creation will one day be restored, we are being renewed and transformed daily. This “present moment” transforming power in us will be used by God to transform others and the world around us, and advancing God’s mission is our target and goal for 2018.
What does a life transformed by Jesus look like? Transformed lives are fruitful; they display the fruit of the Spirit. We are familiar with the qualities of this fruit described in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (NIV).
Notice it does not say fruits; rather, fruit is stated as singular. The qualities that characterize the fruit of the Spirit are interconnected. Think about it: Can genuine kindness exist without love? Can peace be present without goodness or gentleness or even self-control? When God’s Spirit does a transforming work of the inner life of our spirit, all the qualities of this fruit begin to naturally display themselves outwardly. This is how God can use inner transformation to bring about transformation of the world.
The early church shows us how powerfully transformed lives can do just that. Look at the lives of the believers in the Acts church: Spirit-filled, converted and transformed in the most literal sense. What they had witnessed and experienced with Jesus was undeniable and supernatural; there was no going back to the old life and the way things were.
We get a sense of urgency in the ways the gospel went forth following Jesus’s ascension. It was as if believers were more than called to spread the gospel; they were compelled to. What they had experienced was too big and had done too much in their own lives that they just had to share the Good News.
Let’s pray and fast together this year for that kind of transformation and motivation. The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you (Rom 8:11), and only He has the power to transform us into transformers.
During the first 21 days of 2018, our daily devotionals will focus on the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. Leaders from our nation and around the world will remind us that the fruit borne from spiritual transformation will compel us to utilize the gifts He’s already empowered us to use. Let’s dive deep into the book of Acts together, reading it every month over the course of this next year. Let it encourage us toward deeper transformation, inspire us to greater faith and release every one of us to be world-changers.
Although we are not specifically giving fasting instructions, it is vitally important to see the spiritual accelerant that fasting is. As I’ve shared before, it helps bring focus and discipline. It changes our routine and prioritizes our spiritual direction. It helps clear away the clutter and allows us to hear God’s voice more clearly. Combined with prayer, fasting takes us into a spiritual stratosphere that wars against Satan’s strongholds. We’re asking that you consider fasting something that would be a personal sacrifice during those 21 days. Some will fast from food or particular foods. Others will choose activities.
Beginning Jan. 1, each day’s focus will be delivered via email to all Foursquare credentialed ministers in the U.S., national leaders and anyone else who would like to sign up for it.
We are asking for global partnership with Foursquare churches around the world. We are inviting you to encourage your friends, family, ministry partners, staff members and congregants to sign up to receive these daily reminders to pray or to download the new Foursquare Prayer App (available here on Android and here on Apple devices) to get daily notifications.