Sunday, March 20, 2011

Do I Know You?

"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."

(Galatians 5:22-23)

I have read these verses more times than I can remember and they are always a reminder to me that if I have the Spirit living in me I will display these characteristics for all to see. I have met Christians who believe that these are gifts of the Holy Spirit, which they are, but they seem to think that He only gives us one or two of these needed gifts. I personally don't see where they get that idea from this Scripture. The way I read it I will have these gifts when I have the Holy Spirit living in me. But that's not to say that I don't have to fight against my old nature so that these new characteristics can shine through. Some of these take practice and development.

I always said that our son Matthew had a gift of music given to him by the Lord. At a very young age he could sit at the piano and with one finger pick out the notes for just about any given song. (I can't do that). Over the years he has developed this gift by picking up different instruments and self-teaching himself many of them. Some he has had to have instruction from other musicians so that the gift was used properly. Others he has watched and learned from those more knowlegable than he. But by whatever method, he has developed the gift that was given to him.

We have to do the same with the gifts God gives each of us. Maybe you have no problem with 'love', 'joy' or 'peace' but when it comes to 'forbearance' or 'self control' you might not think they are your gift because they don't come easily to you. But the Word promises that all of these gifts are given to us as Believers.

 Sometimes Christians will confuse these verses with 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 which talk about the different serving gifts God gives to His children.

"To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues."

When the verses are confused we can use the excuse for not exhibiting the characteristics of Galatians 5:22-23, that God didn't give me that particular gifting. That is only an excuse. The verses clearly say that we are to have all of these traits if we have the Spirit of God living in us. 

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35.

If we exhibit the gifts of the Spirit which God gives to each of us, then the world will know that we belong to Him.

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