READ: Luke 3:1-38
THINK: Do most people who know you realize that you're Christian? How about those who don't know you well, but who are near you at school, work or around town--can they tell by your behavior that there is something different about you? Jesus wants His followers' lives to be distinct, in a positive and persuasive way. He wants their personal relationship with Him to be evident in how they relate to others. But the difference He desires can only develop through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within the individual lives of Jesus' followers.
RESPOND: Why were John's words so firm, even harsh, to the crowds who came to him (cf. v. 7)? What was he trying to convey to them? What does John mean when he says, "produce fruit in keeping with repentance"? (See 3:8 note) What are the consequences of not doing this (cf. v. 9)? What types of behaviors can demonstrate that people have taken this challenge to heart (vv. 10-14)? In what ways does John's view of Jesus and of himself serve as an example to us (cf. vv. 15-16)? In what way would Jesus' baptism differ from John's? (See 3:16 note.) What's the purpose of Christ baptizing His followers with the Holy Spirit? What's the significance of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at His baptism? (See 3:22 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you interact with others in a way that demonstrates the sincerity of your devotion to God. Pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will saturate your life and help you to influence others for Him.
ACT: Look back at the practical actions mentioned in verses 10-14. Think of a practical way to demonstrate that your life is different than it would be apart from Christ. Perhaps you can demonstrate more generosity by sharing something tangible with others. Maybe you can be more diligent in your job and more gracious to your employer. You could also strive for a better attitude around your family at home. If you have not personally experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit, see article on page 1508, and ask God for this powerful gift.
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