The difference that the spirit makes (Lk 9:55b): Meditation for the 7th sunday after trinity
The Christian may be biologically the same with any other man, but, spiritually, he is different because he has the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit is the Gift for those who repent and are baptised in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), and anyone who does not receive this “gift” is not a Christian (Rom. 8: 9b).
Jesus pointed out this difference when he rebuked His disciples (sons of thunder) for not knowing “the manner of spirit they are of” (Luke 9:55 NKJV or margin of some other versions).
They were trying to call down fire from heaven against their enemies as Elijah did. But the Spirit of Christ should make the difference between them and others.
The Epistle For The Day (Gal. 5:16-26): Walking In The Spirit
The Epistle enjoins the Christian to demonstrate the difference of having the Spirit by living by the Spirit.
When he lives by the Spirit, he will not gratify the desires of the flesh, which are acts of the sinful nature and in conflict with the life of the Spirit.
These acts are obvious and listed. The Christian should rather reflect the Spirit he has in a life of the fruit of the Spirit.
The Fruit Of The Holy Spirit
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is the evidence of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in a person.
It means what is expected to be seen in a person who has received the Spirit – the virtues or the Christian character produced as a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is given here as a nine-fold cluster of fruit, which are so linked as to suggest that the absence of any one means the nullity of all. The list consists in:
• Love – active goodwill, expressed toward God and man
• Joy – gladness, delight, especially in response to God’s grace
• Peace – tranquillity, harmony, both with God and our fellow man.
• Longsuffering – patience, forbearance, self-restraint in the face of provocation
• Kindness – sweetness of temper that puts others at ease
• Goodness – generosity that reaches beyond just giving what is one’s due
• Faithfulness – the virtue of reliability
• Gentleness – a humble and kind demeanour that helps to calm another’s anger
• Self-control – the virtue of one who masters his desires and appetites
The Gospel For The Day (Lk 6:27-38): Some Areas Of Difference
The Gospel is part of the Lord’s Sermon on the Plain (Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew).
He pointed out some practical areas where we should be different as Christians.
It involves doing what is unconventional and even irrational: loving our enemies and doing good to them, forgiving, not being judgemental and giving/lending freely (with no strings attached).
These are to be done even in the context of abuse by others.
Our actions are to be determined, not by how we are treated, but by whom we are in Christ, the Spirit in us.
By the reason of the Holy Spirit indwelling in a Christian, he is different from others.
Certain things or acts, therefore, may be normal or proper for others, but not for the Christian.
Also, certain things or behaviour may be difficult or even impossible for others but normal for the Christian.
So, any Christian who is exactly the same with others, or lives in the flesh does not reflect the Holy Spirit and therefore, not truly a Christian.
So, “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25)
Ven. Dr. Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector,
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. firstname.lastname@example.org