“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life”
We say this every Sunday. For us the Holy Spirit is not “out there” it is very much “in here”.
As Jesus said “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water” – The Spirit comes from within.....the heart.
Christians are alive to God, alive to possibilities, optimistic, have hope and trust in the future. All that animates, excites, motivates and changes us for the better is from the Holy Spirit.
We are fairly au ait with the fact that the fruit that grows in us – gentleness, patience kindness etc grow from the seed of that Spirit, but seeds need watering and nurturing. They grow as they are used. Neglected plants will most likely wither and die or be overcome with weeds – I feel a parable coming on........
The Spirit also gives us gifts. Paul highlights the gifts of wisdom, faith, prophesy, healing , and speaking in tongue (or other languages). Not an exhaustive list and not everyone receives all of them, but in the same way as the fruit of the Spirit needs to be nurtured to grow the Gifts of the Spirit need to be opened and used.
If you give a child a toy and it remains in the box, sitting on the shelf, just being looked at, the gift is being wasted. Gifts need to be unwrapped, played with, enjoyed, and allowed to add value to our lives which in turn adds value to all life. The child will be thankful for that gift that was given in love.
That is true of the greatest gift any of us ever received which is the gift of life itself and true of the more specific gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
They have to be nurtured. We have to nurtured, and we also have to take responsibility for nurturing the fruit and gifts around us. We all have gifts. We all have a special gift that has been given to us by God unless we want to say that Jesus and the Father were lying to us.
Those gifts need to be discerned, nurtured so they will grow. There reason Paul gives for God giving us spiritual gifts is so that we build up the body of the church. We strengthen ourselves and so the whole body is strengthened.
It doesn’t matter how old or young you are – we all have a special role to play here. It is discerning what that is. We all have something special to offer. It may not be spectacular that being a prophet. It might be having the ability to cheer everyone up with your sunny personality and optimism. It may be you can use your physical strength, your organisational abilities, sewing, baking, compassion, your wise counsel.
This is exciting. It has enormous knock on effects when you understand the church community not as a number of people passively sitting in serried ranks but as a living breathing body with each part valuable with an important part to play. It changes our consciousness. We are a body of people each with a vital part to play in the life of this body. Worship becomes not something that you attend as a spectator, it becomes a participation sport. We worship together in Spirit and in truth.
All this is possible when we learn to trust and believe God’s will and commandments. I know that our church, the quality and depth of our worship, the quality and depth of our engagement with God, our world and each other can be transformed.
I know it and I trust it because;
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.