Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: fruits of the Spirit

Inactive, Missing Something or Unplugged?

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you, John 14:6.

When I read the New Testament, I see a Holy Spirit that is far greater than modern times. The seminary I attended nearly two decades ago used the rationale of a special anointing limited to first century Christians. According to Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost enabled apostles and disciples of Jesus to speak in foreign tongues, restoring communication barriers created during the building of the Tower of Babel. When these apostles and disciples passed away, this special anointing of the Holy Spirit disappeared.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

The one problem with this theory is that Jesus never mentions 2 different outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to a counselor, guide and helper. While certain denominations get caught up in debating the validity of speaking in tongues, perhaps the lack of a powerful Spirit lies within. Maybe a lack of spiritual fruit is a symptom of a far greater problem. From my perspective, the Holy Spirit’s full potential has been minimized due to one of three scenarios. Either I am idle, inactive in my faith, missing something like a post baptism transformation or I am unplugged, relying on my human nature instead?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law, Galatians 5:22-23.

The apostle Paul confronts this issue in a letter to the church at Galatia. According to Paul, there are two invisible forces at work: the Holy Spirit and Sinful Nature. During a letter to the church at Rome, Paul suggests that your mindset will dictate which force you will follow. Until modern believers dedicate themselves to practicing first century spiritual disciplines, the Holy Spirit will remain a unrecognized force. If only I could tap into this power, my camouflaged faith will be unveiled. May this blog inspire other believers to develop a spiritual hunger for God’s Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

Being Open to God Calling an Audible In Your Life

In the context of sports, an audible occurs when a quarterback changes an offensive play at the line of scrimmage. When a quarterback reads the defensive scheme on the field, if the designed play is destined to fail, an audible serves as a backup plan. Audibles put players in a more favorable position to succeed if coaches allow players to improvise. However, if this freedom is not permitted by coordinators or the head coach, stubbornness will lead to failure.

A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them, Proverbs 16:9.

This same principle applies to the spiritual realm. According to an Old Testament prophet, God has a plan and purpose for every human life, Jeremiah 29:11. However, if individuals aren’t teachable, open to God’s will for their life, minds often take human beings in a different direction. This fact inspired King Solomon to refer to God’s audibles, using trials and tribulations to alter human steps back into the right direction. This is how God’s Spirit realigns and reconnects mankind back toward the Creator.

If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit], Galatians 5:25.

The apostle Paul adds to this concept in a chapter about the fruits of the Holy Spirit. While the sinful nature, human desires, pull people in the opposite direction of God, the Holy Spirit calls audibles day after day. As followers of Christ begin to discern, listen and understand whispers from God, you can keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, I find myself too busy, distracted and pre-occupied with my own life to listen. If I would only be open to daily audibles called by God, blessings, success and victories would follow. May this blog inspire you to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Adding Love to the Law

From an early age, the idea of boundaries is a turn off.  At birth, human nature introduces a curiosity similar to that which led Eve to break God’s lone law, eating from the Tree of Knowledge.  As a parent, condemnation comes naturally, a common response to children who disobey you.  Yet, Jesus reminds a large crowd during the first century that love should be applied to Jewish law.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? – Matthew 5:46-47

Jesus uses common sense to drive home this point.  Pagans lived by a different set of standards.  Jews were expected by God to be set apart, striving to apply biblical principles.  Yet, if a Christian’s love is no different from a Pagan, what’s the point.  Therefore, individuals should make it their ambition to add love to the law.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

The only problem is this goal requires maturity as love doesn’t come naturally.  This fruit of the Spirit is an acquired trait nurtured by the Holy Spirit.  At some point people have to grow up by developing a will to love.  Hanging around like minded people, growing in your knowledge of the Bible and practicing prayer is a good place to start.  However, if you want to fulfill Jesus’ request, make sure your feelings are held in check, sanctified by love.

by Jay Mankus

Words from Heaven and Hell

Greetings like good morning, how are you, how was your weekend and hey are everyday expressions which promote conversation.  The Bible suggests that words can represent heaven or hell depending upon the context, manner and tone which is spoken.  Thus, before you begin another work week, be careful in the words that you choose.

The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream, Proverbs 18:4.

The apostle Paul uses the analogy known as fruits of the spirit to identify words from heaven.  Anything that reflects love, joy and peace uplift those who hear these traces of heaven.  The remaining characteristics mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 encourage action, not just words.  Coaches, parents and teacher who adorn children within a loving environment promote a fountain of wisdom as described by Solomon.

The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating, Proverbs 18:6.

Unfortunately, the words of hell are much more prevalent in today’s culture.  Whether its critics within the media, gossip or tweets filled with venom, the sinful nature is in full display weekly.  Those exposed to only the negative can become jaded, losing the will to live.  Therefore, the next time you have the opportunity to add a comment to a conversation, choose the words of heaven.

by Jay Mankus

Who’s the New Guy?

Despite efforts to create equality in all avenues of life, not much has changed.  While there will always be exceptions to the rule, breaking into new circles, finding a job or getting a promotion is still based upon who you know, not what you know.  Trying to advance to new heights takes an incredible talent, luck or supernatural intervention.  However, every so often someone new arrives on the scene causing the masses to ask, “who’s the new guy?”

The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law, Mark 1:22.

Early in the first century, Jesus had the odds stacked against him.  His birthplace of Bethlehem and residence in Nazareth was a negative, inspiring doubts from even potential disciples, “what good can come from Nazareth?”  Nonetheless, Jesus continued to follow God’s will, gathering a team of twelve disciples before introducing himself to the world.  This wait ended in Mark 1:21-28.  Without an Ivy League Degree or Seminary training, Jesus taught with an authority never seen before or since.  Following a Sabbath in Capernaum, the legend of Jesus was born.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him,” Mark 1:27.

The religious leaders of the day were baffled by the insight Jesus possessed.  The words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 highlight the fact that God’s wisdom is a mystery, hidden from the intelligent in this world.  Subsequently, the only training requirement necessary to tap into this spiritual realm is keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.  Regardless of your age, background and knowledge, the Spirit will provide the answers you need in life.  Yet, an invisible force, the sinful nature stands in your way of accessing fruits of the Spirit.  Since with God all things are possible, perhaps people will become attractive to your own relationship with God by wondering, “who’s the new guy or girl?”

by Jay Mankus

How Many Lives Would Be Different?

As sand in an hour glass empties to signify the end of a day, souls have a series of questions to ponder.  Did you accomplish your goals or place checks marks next to your to do list?    What impact did you have on others at home, school or work?  How many lives did you touch or turn off?

After completing a 6 week video series at church, the grand finale challenged individuals with a question.  How many lives would be different if you became a fully devoted follower of Christ?  Two days following this message, I’m afraid my actions have returned to normal.  The motivation I had walking out of church has faded like a setting sun.  Subsequently, my faith has been invisible, blending into the world like a chameleon in a jungle.

It shouldn’t take a life altering event to inspire people to follow Christ.  Yet, many of us are like the young man in Matthew 19:16-22, trusting in ourselves instead of the Lord.  Thus, disappointment, emptiness and frustrations often fill the lives of those unable to make a difference.  If you are struggling to see fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, may the words of 1 John 2:5-6 develop into a prayer so that the light of Jesus shines through in a loving and natural manner.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Wise Are You?

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?  Or does your IQ surpass genius’ of the past?  The brother of Jesus breaks down wisdom into 2 categories, from above and below, James 3:13-18.

The first type sows seeds of humility, as wisdom is displayed without fanfare.  If you are full of knowledge, you don’t have to fake it by trying to impress others.  Rather, understanding is demonstrated by a life filled with love, joy and peace.

On the other side of the spectrum, lies a mindset fueled by harboring bitterness.  In the process, selfish ambition leads individuals to develop a blind spot referred to as diabolical pride by C.S. Lewis.  When this cancer goes undetected, hearts change while minds swell to the size of melons.  If neglected, souls will begin to follow the wisdom of the Devil.

For some, the cause is lost, similar to addicts who are unable to grasp the severity of their situation.  Yet, there is hope for those who hit rock bottom, coming to their senses like prodigal children of the past.  When the timing is right, embrace the words of James 3:17-18 so that the wisdom of heaven will purge traces of darkness from your soul.  Flee from disorder in life by clinging to the fruits of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, displaying wisdom to a foolish world.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: