Shooting Whales in a Barrel

We’ve been working through our church’s What We Believe statement on Sunday evenings and last Lord’s day Pastor Jim took us through the section on the Saving Work of the Holy Spirit. Our Life to Life small group had a spirited discussion about the function and fruit of the Spirit on Friday night.

Finding errors in the thinking and practice of pneumatologically challenged Christians may be easier than shooting whales in a barrel, and may excoriate a similar amount of blubber. But us “Bible” people are called to be “Spirit” people in the Bible, and how will we know if we are getting the Spirit right?

The list is long, even inspired, found in the New Testament regarding the Spirit’s effect; section eight in “What We Believe” hammers a good number of sentence nails into our mental walls in order to balance the picture. We must also look for evidence of the Spirit in our sanctification. The “Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2) makes killers out of us, that is, the Spirit causes us to put to death the deeds of the flesh. Paul wrote to the Romans:

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

Die now by the Spirit or die later without Him. For all those seeking the gifts of the Spirit, we must always make sure that our desire for the gift of mortification is near the top. Before seeking to speak in an unknown tongue, are we speaking with kindness in the tongue we know? The Spirit heals, and are we seeking the healing of broken relationships caused by sin? These are the sorts of behaviors that match the “holy” ones we should be with the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

Something Has to Die

Something Has to Die

When we are not getting along with others, the pressing temptation is always to believe that you are just as you have always been, and that they have somehow changed. This is often not true at all, but even if it were true, that does not put you in the right. Perhaps they have changed in that they have decided to stop putting up with your rudeness.

The Holy Spirit does not just come along and fill you with benevolent thoughts. He is a Person, not a shot of joy juice. And the Holy Spirit is the one who applies the death of Jesus to the areas of your life that need mortifying.

It turns out that in order for you get along with others, something has to die.