Tuesday, October 23, 2012

                                                      OF WHOSE SPIRIT ARE YOU?    
Much is taught about the Holy Spirit concerning the function, work, and role of the Spirit as it relates to salvation and everyday life.  We are told the importance of growing in the fruit of the Spirit as spoken of by Paul in Galatians 5:22,23.  Though various characteristics are listed the fruit is singular.  This is perhaps more easily understood in view of God.  These characteristics are the sum total of God's character and our God is one, and we are to be one in Him.  We can attain to that oneness by growing in these characteristics in our own life, thus revealing God to others through the life we live.
     We see this lifestyle contrasted earlier in Galatians 5 as Paul admonishes the Galatians in regard to biting and devouring one another (vs. 15).  This ungodly behavior speaks to those who perhaps are gossips and speak about others in hurtful and harmful ways.  This is biting and devouring, for such behavior can only destroy.  Paul then tells the Galatians to walk in the Spirit (vs. 16), which leads one to walk in accordance with the love God shows to us.  If we love others as God loves us, then we will walk in the Spirit and seek what is best for others.
     Other passages of Scripture will teach us about the Spirit and the role He fulfills in our life, but it will always get us back to God and who God is.  When we know who God is then we will know what we are to be, and how that can be brought to completion.  Two of Jesus' disciples who had a problem grasping this reality were James and John.  We may find this hard to believe but these men were just that, men.  They had their times of weakness like us.  So take heart.
     In the life of Jesus as He reached a point to where He was going to Jerusalem, He sent messengers before His face, or His arrival in that village.  The village did not receive Him because "His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem" (Lu. 9:51-53).  When the disciples, James and John, saw this they were overcome with anger.  They said to Jesus, "Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" (Lu. 9:54)  It was here that Jesus revealed the spirit that was in them.
     In verses 55 and 56 Jesus says, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."  James and John were making a reference back to the days of  Elijah when he confronted the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, and they were given into his hand by God (1 Kings 18:37-40).  Jehovah was justified in the slaying of the false prophets, but Jesus was letting it be known His purpose was quite different than that of Elijah.
     In making the distinction between the two accounts, Jesus was revealing why He was going to Jerusalem.  He came not to destroy man but to save Him.  When Jesus told James and John they didn't know what manner of spirit they were of, He was letting them know they were not understanding the love of God and therefore were unable to practice it.
     Sometimes we may do exactly what James and John had done if we fail to remember of whose Spirit we are.  It is God who gives us His Spirit and that Spirit indwells us.  Our lives should reflect that spirit in the love we show to others as well as our love and faithfulness unto our heavenly Father.   The question, "Of whose spirit are ye?" helps remind us of who it is we serve and why. Rodger