I use glasses to read because I am long-sighted. I also have an astigmatism in one eye, which means that the image in my eye is distorted horizontally more than it is vertically. To correct that imbalance, one corrective lens is slightly thicker on one plane than it is on the other. I started using glasses about thirty years ago. If I had worn them before that the corrective lens would have distorted an otherwise normal image—the lens was unnecessary before that time.
Is it possible that many of us live with unnecessary corrective lenses when it comes to the Holy Spirit? Many churches focus their teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. The emphasis might be on one or another gift, or on whether those gifts are even for today. Plenty of us from the first group of churches have done “Spiritual Gift Surveys” to figure out what our main gifts are. Often churches add teaching about the fruit of the Spirit.
Now, I am not criticizing those subjects; they are all in the New Testament. But consider the fact that everything that I mentioned is in the writings of Paul. His teaching about the gifts of the Spirit in First Corinthians was given to correct the church. They had slipped into error by valuing some gifts more than others.
Paul’s teaching was like a corrective lens—given to clarify a warped image. But if the corrective lens is used to view something normal the lens will blur the normal. So, wind the clock back about twenty-five years to a time before the church had distorted people’s understanding of God’s purpose for sending the Spirit at Pentecost. We need to begin thinking about the Holy Spirit from the healthy perspective of Jesus.
Jesus never mentioned the gifts or the fruit, but both bubbled out of Him. His miracles demonstrated many of the gifts; His behavior and words were full of sweet fruit. Instead of telling His followers to be filled with spiritual gifts or fruit, Jesus simply breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)
- The Spirit present at creation birthing us into new life and expressed in our creativity (Gen. 1:2; 2:7; John 3:1-8; Rom. 8:11).
- The Holy Spirit who convicts of sin shining into our hearts and minds, pointing us to health and holiness (John 16:7-11; Rom. 8:13).
- The Comforter and Helper coming alongside to strengthen and encourage us during tough times (John 14:16; 15:26; Acts 9:31).
- The Spirit of truth leading us into the truth about ourselves, others, and God (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:4-16; 12:12; Eph. 1:17-19).
- The guiding Spirit (John 3:8; Acts 8:29; 10:19-20; 13:2).
- The Spirit assuring us of our right relationship with the Father (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 3:24; 4:13).
- The Spirit of wisdom giving the right words and responses just as we need them (Luke 12:12).
- The Spirit of the risen Jesus growing the character of Jesus in us and transforming us to have the same kind of relationship that Jesus had with the Father and with other people (Rom. 5:5; 8:15-16, 26; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 4:5-6; Eph. 2:18; Phil. 2:1-2).
- And of course, the Spirit who empowers and equips us with gifts so we can witness to the goodness of the King and His kingdom (Matt. 12:28; Luke 4:14; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:4; 12:4-11).
If we focus on gifts (which are mostly given for others and for the body) then we limit the more important work that He wants to do in us—making us more like Jesus. That is the essential foundation for using us to His glory. The inner working of the Spirit burns off the fog of wrong thinking that obscures our relationships with God and makes it so hard to be in tune with what He is doing. His Spirit purges our wrong motives and gives us Christlike motives. The Holy Spirit helps us relate to the Father and to other people the way that Jesus did—that is so precious.
Receive the Holy Spirit.
The goal of Bible Maturity is to promote spiritual growth and faith in God. Please share these short Bible devotions with your friends and family and pray for revival.