Monday, February 5, 2018

Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Fruit of the Spirit – I Had Much to Learn

It was a couple years after I had come to the Lord and shortly after I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. We were in our church service and a young man had just given a very encouraging “word” to the Body and I was shaking my head. But Lord, I just heard him talking about getting so drunk Friday night that he couldn’t drive home, how can You use him to give a word to the Body? Yet it seems encouraging and “right on”……

I talked to my friend who was more mature in the Lord and we discussed some things which led me to do a word study on the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit.

There are various places in the Word where the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are described and I will list one of them here:
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (New International Version)
 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
And then there is the part about the fruit:

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I began to think about all of this. Fruit involved branches and vines and roots. In the natural, fruit takes time and there is a growth process. Without a good root system and branches on the bush or tree there isn’t much hope of good fruit. I was living in an area famous for its vineyards; besides the good stock of plants there has to be great soil, fertilizer, sun and water for the crop to be a good one. There was much to think about here. For my spiritual life to produce fruit I needed to be in the branch and with good roots – attached to and getting nourishment from those.
Some other scriptures which came to mind were:

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

And then there were those lovely verses about pruning that I just hated to stumble across when I was going through it but I knew they were valid and full of truth:

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

It was evident that for fruit to grow there had to be a growth process complete with staying close to God and in His Word AND having unfruitful things “pruned” our of my life so I could grow bigger and better fruit. It appears that the Fruit of the Spirit in my life was not instant and had a lot to do with my choices, yielding and growth in Jesus.

And I began to look at the gifts again. I must admit here that I had felt pretty special when my heart began to thump and I knew it was not me… and the Lord laid something on my hesitant heart to share out loud in a group. Actually there were times when the voice inside would say “wow, you must be pretty special and mature for the Lord to use you to bring forth a “word”… I already knew that was the enemy trying to trip me up with the same thing that got him kicked out in the first place, PRIDE. I was praying about that and the Lord really answered that prayer.

That still, small voice which belonged to my Jesus began a tiny dialog that went something like this:

Marijo, when someone gives you a Christmas gift what did you do to deserve it?
Well, nothing really because it was a gift. They gave it to me because they loved me and wanted to do something special for me.

OK, why do you think they are called “gifts” of the Holy Spirit? And why do you think that those they flow through are mature or special?

Now this was getting a little personal and closer to home… 
Ah, Lord where are You going with this?

Daughter, when I want to share in a group all I need is a willing one, one who will say YES at that moment and overcome hesitance and fear and allow my gift to flow through him or her. It really has nothing to do with that person’s wisdom or maturity.

Oh….. my…… floodlights began to light up my “thinker”. So, you could use me because I did say yes at that moment. You could also use that newly saved young man because he said yes, at that moment. Never mind that he had been drunk Friday night. Never mind that I had used “prayer request” as an opportunity to “share” some gossipy thing earlier that day.

Lord, lord, you really did answer my prayer about being a touch prideful because you gave me encouraging “words” for your body. But my goodness….
SO a gift is given to whomever the Holy Spirit gets to say yes at the time of need? It can be whatever gift you think is best for Your purpose at that point in time and it has nothing to do with the receiver but everything to do with You, the giver. You want to bless others and do it through a yielded, albeit, possibly immature and sinful vessel…..

At this point I could imagine my heavenly Daddy looking at me with a huge grin and nodding His head and thinking “yep” she is learning, maybe slower than some but she is getting it!

And the fruit, well the fruit do indicate a measure or maturity and becoming more like the vine who is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

At this point I could imagine my heavenly Daddy about to pop a button…. And all because this errant child with often times skinned knees caught a glimpse of lesson number one on page number one…..

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