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Ripe in Understanding

To a trained eye, farmers can recognize the difference between a developing crop to the point of readiness for harvesting and eating. Whether you’re talking about a field of corn, soybeans or an orchard, there are certain signs that distinguish full grown fruits from those not yet mature. To become ripe in understanding takes experience, training and years of working out in various fields. This process isn’t as clear or as easy when it comes to acquiring spiritual knowledge.

So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God, 1 Corinthians 2:5.

The apostle Paul writes about how philosophers placed their faith in the wisdom of men. While elements of philosophy may be beneficial, trusting in logic, science and the wisdom of the world became a spiritual stumbling block in the first century. Instead of being ripe in understanding, these individuals were denied access to divine knowledge and wisdom. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis refers to this as theological virtues. Only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit, charity, hope and faith is limited to Christians who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.

Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden); but it is indeed not a wisdom of this present age or of this world nor of the leaders and rulers of this age, who are being brought to nothing and are doomed to pass away, 1 Corinthians 2:6.

Nearly two thousand years later, finding someone ripe in spiritual understanding is rare. Instead, many people accept, believe and cling to the ideals of this progressive age. The byproduct of this reality has insured that Common Core, Global Warming and other secular views have been interwoven into public education. Anyone ripe in spiritual understanding who attacks, challenges or exposes the flaws of these worldviews is demonized. Instead of allowing a healthy public debate, deniers are quickly shut down. The only way to break through to others is by fasting and prayer. As for the meantime, the ripe in understanding should concentrate on sowing spiritual seeds as COVID-19 continues to impact communities.

by Jay Mankus

The Desires of the Spirit

From my own personal experiences, many of the so called “spirit filled” churches that I have attended over emphasize certain spiritual gifts. Instead of teaching the desires of God’s Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gift of prophecy and speaking in tongues overshadow what God desires. Thus, I find myself as an adult who lacks the knowledge and spiritual insight to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit, Romans 8:5.

When the concept of the Holy Spirit was first introduced to his disciples, Jesus refers to this Holy Ghost as a Counselor. Synonyms for counselor include advisor, confidant, guide and mentor. If this was Jesus’ ultimate goal, then I have been misinformed about the role of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps, I need to simplify my understanding to an invisible counselor who yearns for me to become aware of the desires of God’s Spirit.

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future], John 16:13.

The apostle Paul has provided a list below to visualize what God prefers. These fruits of the Spirit are desired actions, behaviors and character traits that Christians should seek to obtain. Mere Christianity written by C.S. Lewis contains two types of virtues, with the second only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Cardinal virtues such as prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice are qualities that anyone can possess. Yet, the theological virtues of charity, hope and faith are limited to Christians.

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

According to Paul, sinful appetites, desires and passions keep many individuals from every fulfilling the desires of the Spirit. Until your human flesh is crucified, dying to self, the ability to produce spiritual fruit is hindered. This may explain why many regions of the world are filled with darkness, void of any spiritual life. If you want to add flavor to the lives of those who you come in contact with daily, follow Paul’s advice by pursuing the desires of the Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

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