God with us

Pentecost

John 16:7  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

Put yourself in the place of the original disciples.  You’re walking along daily with Jesus.  The Son of God is not only your teacher, but your friend.  You spend time with the one person on earth who has lived a perfect life and never committed a single sin.  But then, just when you think things are going great, He tells you He’s going to go away.  He’s going to die.  What do you do with that?

We can’t blame Peter for his reaction to Jesus’s news.  When he swore it couldn’t be so, Jesus rebuked him and we, living so far removed from that moment, are quick to judge his stupidity.  But let’s be honest, we would most likely have done the same thing Peter did.  If Jesus lived right here among us, if we thought He was going to establish His kingdom right here and now, we’d have tried to keep Him around too.  But Jesus pointed out that it was actually to our advantage that He go away.  How can this be?

When Christ came to earth as a man, He emptied Himself of His divine prerogative.  He, as a human man, could only be in one place at a time.  In the brief time He was here in the flesh, He could not be omnipresent.  He could not be with every single person at once.  But by sending the Holy Spirit (who, by the way, operated in Christ at all times), we could have God present with us always.  If God was still present in the form of Jesus in a historic place and time, we wouldn’t be able to experience His divine guidance unless we were right there with Him.  But the Holy Spirit is our helper whenever and wherever. His power operates in us and through us to the glory of God.

The fruit of the Spirit – Kindness

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…kindness

Kindness is hard to come by in today’s society. Even kind acts are sometimes done out of selfish motives. But if we are to truly bear the fruit that God has in mind, we must act in kindness out of love, not out of selfish ambition. Our motives matter a lot to God.

It’s true, that we are often rewarded for our kindness in this life. This, however, should not be our objective in doing kind things for others. Our main focus is to bring glory to God through our actions. Whether that is helping the poor, tutoring children, reading to our own kids, or whatever.

Kindness, again like so many attribute of the fruit of the spirit, comes out of love and it related to the other fruit. Without joy, we will not be able to show kindness because we will not be in the right state to do so. Without patience we will never be able to show kindness because sometimes we’re required to show kindness to those that are hard to love.

Show kindness from your heart, and show the love of God the Father to those who don’t know Him.

What is a disciple?

A disciple

John 8:31-32  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Ask 20 pastors what a disciple is and you’ll get 19 different answers.  If church leaders can’t even decide on what the word means, how can we hope to define it?  As with most biblical truths, we must start with the Bible.  What does it say about a disciple?

It all starts with the Word.  Jesus said to His followers that those who abide in His Word are truly His disciples.  But to be clear, that doesn’t just mean that reading the Bible a lot makes you a disciple.  Nor does it mean that learning a lot about the Bible makes you a disciple.  Abiding in God’s Word means living it.  Each and every move you make in life is grounded in the truth of the Word.  You live according to it.

A disciple is a fully surrendered follower of Jesus Christ who studies the Word, regards it as authority, prays like Jesus, is devoted to fellowship, is spirit filled, serves God, serves others, is a good steward, grows, shares, ministers, and loves.  A disciple should be obvious to anyone, no matter what their beliefs, but a disciple is set apart from the world.