The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)
How do we know when the Holy Spirit is operating in our lives and in our church? There is a growing tendency among Christians to think that the Spirit shows Himself most clearly in certain spectacular spiritual gifts, in more animated styles of worship, or a higher level of positive emotions in general. Paul reminds us in the verse above that this isn’t so.
Love is no doubt the foundational demonstration of the Holy Spirit, not so much in hugging and serving our friends, but in what we do with our enemies. Joy (chara) is defined in Strong’s Greek Dictionary as “calm delight.” A study of its use in the NT reveals that joy is not the happiness that people experience at a party—there is nothing supernatural about that. No, joy is the “calm delight” that we miraculously experience in the midst of suffering. Peace certainly has much the same meaning. Paul’s mention of patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control remind us that the Spirit’s influence is not just a matter of emotions we can muster up for the moment, but rather, our consistent, sacrificial actions over the long haul.
Not only are there popular misconceptions about how the power of the Holy Spirit is demonstrated, but where it is demonstrated as well. It is not with the saints in a sanctuary on Sunday morning where the Spirit is best seen. In our family of seven, the power of the Spirit may be revealed most clearly at the breakfast table on Monday morning. It is in our private moments and family challenges that we can best evaluate the power of the Spirit in our lives, not how we act or talk in the public arena. Show the Spirit today!