Many believers do not know the difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit to the poverty of the church of Christ Jesus. Both are needed for her growth in number and in faithfulness to the Lord.
The singular pronoun used for the fruit of the Holy Spirit is that which comes as a consequence of being a child of the living and life-giving God. Out of His fruit are the characteristics of:
Hence, these characteristics appear to exist together and express themselves in the believer’s life in various degrees as we are not perfect yet. Nevertheless, they are like the skin of the Christian, part of the definition of the child of God; they are not like his clothes which are removable and changeable. If the fruit is not detected by onlookers, they have a right to say that we are not Christians even though we are. We cannot run away from this practical fact. The late Francis Schaeffer explains it well in his book The Mark of a Christian.
In addition, to prevent personal pride, the Christian often is not self-conscious about the fruit he displays. But others will feel the influence of Christ. Here is where we must help each other prevent personal pride from rearing its ugly head unintentionally by talking too much about one’s fruit. As long as what is done is for the other’s good, we rejoice.
On the other hand, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are imparted for the edification of the organism church. Gifts are not for our own use. They are of no value if not used for the other’s good. Some are wisdom, discernment, tongues, prophecy, teaching and healing. They are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 but are not meant to be exhaustive as the Giver is creative indeed! (Read Your Spiritual Gifts will Help Your Church Grow by Peter Wagner)
Ponder on the above...be still and reflect in God’s presence…
Finally, let us meditate on:
Think over the words of this song as it is sung to God:
I Stand in Awe of You
You are beautiful beyond description,
Too marvelous for words!
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom,
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description,
Majesty enthroned on high!
I stand, I stand in awe of You!
I stand, I stand in awe of You!
Holy God, to whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe of You!
Ephesians 3:19 says that His love passes knowledge. It is also beyond our human comprehension. Let us bask in His loving embrace…
God’s love is given freely without compulsion to receive it. He waits for us as He is sure that we will always live with Him as nothing can separate us from His love which is in Christ Jesus His Son (Romans 8:35-39). We are in His strong hands. In this certainty, He welcomes us to relax and experience the abundance of giftings to be used with the fruit of His love…which covers all mankind. Is it fair to let Him wait too long?
Go use your spiritual and naturel gifts (of personality) for Him…faithfully and humbly!
It is necessary that we live in the presence of God where the children of God are each assigned a place and role. They are wanted in love, they are owned by the Father as they feel at home with Him together with the only begotten Son of God. In God’s eyes, there is no little people and no little places. There is yet much to be done by all His children and faithful disciples before we return to Him by His grace.
Many Christians do not think much of themselves. When God gives good gifts to His church, they say they are not for them. No, they are not worthy to have such good gifts from Him. Others, however, think too much of themselves.
In addition, we often view others according to their standing in a community. For example, in the organization-church context, a senior pastor is held in a higher esteem than his junior pastor; in a hospital, a specialist is of higher esteem than his medical officer; in the commercial world, the CEO is higher up than his manager. We accept these hierarchies as standards for the smooth functioning of each community. Further, one would not think of asking someone in a lower position to fulfil the role of one higher up. We are rather careful in matching talents and personality with the job to be done. This is also generally worldly wise.
However, in God’s community called the kingdom of light, such boundaries do not work. As the One who is pre-eminent, Christ can reverse many things. It is His prerogative and no human created being can tell Him off, not because He is really higher up like what has been mentioned, but because He is the Creator, Owner and Father of all mankind i.e. He is actually the only Highest One over all creation.
Human self-esteem must reflect the Creator’s view of us to help us function normally and well. We need to accept ourselves as people loved by God, no matter how we fall short of His glory. Who wants to go near God if He is like our perfectionist never satisfied Mum, Dad, teacher, pastor or boss!
Let us see how He chooses and uses His people while we are still on earth and follow in His steps. Take Moses’ rod as an example (Exodus 4:1-5). The late Francis A. Schaeffer, whose books have mentored millions across the world by helping them develop a biblical worldview, has this to say…
Being a Rod of God
(Francis Schaeffer in No Little People, No Little Places, Chapter 1)
The people who receive praise from the Lord Jesus will not, in every case, be those who hold leadership in this life. There will be many persons who were sticks of wood that stayed close to God and were quiet before Him, but were used in power by Him in a place which looks small to men.
Each Christian is to be a rod of God in the place of God for him. We must remember throughout our lives that in God’s sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important: to be consecrated persons in God’s place for us…at each moment. Those who think of themselves as little people in little places, if committed to Christ and living under His lordship in the whole of life, may, by God’s grace, change the flow of our generation. As we get on a bit in our lives, having known how weak we are, if we look back and see that we have been somewhat used by God, then we would be the rod ‘surprised by joy.’”
In our eyes, we view people according to their social/financial/physical/intellectual standing, which is unreal in His eyes.
In the final analysis, we need to believe and submit to the truth that God’s ways and thoughts are not ours and are also higher than ours (thankfully)! As Isaiah concluded,
“…For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst in song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.”