Renew—to give fresh life or strength; revive (Oxford Dictionaries).


‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples’ (John 15:7-8).

‘And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests’ (Ephesians 6:18).

‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place’ (Acts 2:1).


With the Self-Denial Altar Service now behind us, you might be wondering what’s next for ‘love in action’. After five weeks (six Sundays) does love in action stop and we move on to something else. After focusing on such a powerful theme there can be an anticlimax as we realise that Self-Denial is over for another year.

But is it really over? In a very real sense, ‘love in action’ never stops. It’s a 24/7 call, particularly on followers of Jesus. ‘This is my command,’ Jesus said. ‘Love each other’ (John 15:17). So we want to put out there in the Salliesphere two next steps for love in action to continue—both through our own lives and through our community of faith.

In John 17, Jesus described the power of love in a passionate, far-reaching prayer. At one point he prayed: ‘I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me’ (John 17:23).

‘Complete unity’! This is the ultimate result of the love of God filling our lives and inspiring our mission. The original Greek word means ‘perfected into one’. It suggests a process of refinement and is a great challenge for the community of faith and the individual Christian today. How easy it is for us to be seduced by the complexity, the comforts, the consumerism, the technology and self‑focused lifestyle of the 21st century.

As contemporary followers of Jesus, we should be wise to the seductive nature of culture and live in a counter-cultural way. Jesus was countercultural. He challenged the accepted norms, valued those whom society counted as worthless, loved in the face of hostility. He built a community of diverse people who would not naturally be drawn to each other and he taught them to love one another.

Unity is the first sign or mark of this counter-cultural way of life—unity grounded in God’s love in Christ abounding in us through the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. ‘If you love me, you will obey what I command,’ Jesus said elsewhere. ‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth’ (John 14:15–17). Unity is powerful when it is in full bloom. People are drawn to it like nothing else. They want to be part of a united mission to the world.

Sometimes it’s not easy to love and to live in unity. We all know that. But the encouraging message here for us is that we are not alone on the journey of love. By his Holy Spirit, Jesus journeys with us. It is in his strength that we love—even those we may have regarded as enemies. It is in his strength that we unite and are able to see each other through the heart of God, despite our differences.

It was at the end of a long list of spiritual resources—called ‘the armor of God’—in Ephesians chapter six that the Apostle Paul added: ‘And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests’ (Ephesians 6:18). We can speak the Word of God and seek to live a righteous life, have faith, and be people of truth. But it is prayer that gives all of these their power and refreshes them daily. Why? Because the Spirit of God and the likeness of Christ come to us through prayer.

Love in action includes our active prayer. As well as our local mission and life together, our prayer will include all the nations of the world because the Holy Spirit is interested in ‘the ends of the earth’ (Matthew 28:19). We can commit ourselves to praying for The Salvation Army’s mission in nations that benefit from our Self-Denial giving.


There comes a time when we put our differences aside and work and pray and love together. We let go of the things that divide, sometimes obstacles that have impeded our personal and corporate development for years, and embrace one another for a God-breathed journey ahead.

Spiritual breakthrough comes when we let go and let God. The Holy Spirit came in great power to the earliest followers of Jesus (read Acts 1 and 2). They were remorseful and forgiving of one another for past sins. They united in prayer and the Spirit came igniting within them a fresh love for the Word of God and a new passion to share the love of God with others.

The Church today, including The Salvation Army, needs the Spirit to come in power again. This is not something we dream of for our future. It is a present reality and we need to claim and live into it now—together. Praying and seeking God together is how the Spirit comes to the people of faith. And it’s only as the Spirit comes that we can be the welcoming, embracing, empowering, loving and transformative place God intends us to be.


  • Have you ever been part of a community of faith where it was obvious that God’s Spirit was filling and blessing them abundantly? What was it like?
  • Set aside some time, perhaps with a coffee or a tea or a hot chocolate, to read the book of Acts in one sitting. You’ll probably need a couple of hours. Have a pen and paper handy to write down what  stands out for you as you read.
  • If you could implement a ‘revival plan’ for your corps, or The Salvation Army as a whole, what would you put in it? How would it take shape?
  • What will you do now to be all you know God wants you to be—to be ‘love in action’?


Lord Jesus, I stand in awe of you and amazed that you have redeemed my life and chosen me to follow you. May I follow you holding nothing back and giving my best to your mission of transformation in the world. Holy Spirit, come and fill my life today, and every day, with your presence and power, renewed passion to follow Jesus and fresh love for others. Amen.