Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Spirit's Presence (Fruit)

God sent Jesus into the world (1) to reconcile us to him, and (2) to model how we are intended and designed to live. I have said in a couple of places that Scripture paints some pictures of what Jesus is like
Since, God is love, then the description of love, the traits of love, paint a picture of what Jesus is like. (Jesus is patient; Jesus is kind; etc.)

Since, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both part of the God-head, then the description of what results occur when the Spirit is present, also occur when Jesus is present. (Jesus is love, joy, peace, etc.)

And since, Jesus is the model, the picture, of how people were designed to live, then people should follow Jesus' pattern. People should follow the the description of the traits of love and people should bring the results of the Spirit.

So, if our heart-focus is true, if we are connecting with God, and the grace and Spirit of God are flowing into our hearts, and therefore, into our lives, then the traits of love and the results of the Spirit ought to be flowing into the world, and be apparent in our lives. Yes, they will still be imperfect, but they will be real, authentic and -- as we persist and God's work continues -- growing.

What if the traits and results are blocked? What if, for example, we are not experiencing joy and peace? The obvious answer would seem to be that something is interfering with the flow from God. We have lost connection with the Spirit. Grace and love have been choked off.

A loss of patience, joy or peace ought to be a warning to us. (As well as a loss of any of the traits or results. A strong urge to go on a "bender" -- "bender" being defined as uncontrolled indulging in any addictive behavior --  ought to be an obvious example.) Spiritual warfare is, in large part, the enemy convincing us to break our connection with God.

Breaking our heart-focus, our connection, with God is the enemy's basic step in disrupting God's purposes in the world. There are obviously other more cognitive, more strategic types of disruptions. (For example, I am sure the enemy wanted to, and tried to, negate Billy Graham's influence. What if the enemy managed to convince Billy to engage in an adulterous relationship? And it went public?) But the disruption leads to a smaller flow from God, less grace moving from the hearts of Jesus' followers into the world,  and a weaker impact of God's family in the world. It is like there is an emotional, psychological and spiritual atmosphere built from what flows out of each person's heart. And a loss of connection with God means that this atmosphere becomes more what the enemy wants and less what God wants.

Not only should it be a warning that the enemy is attempting to disrupt God's purposes in the world, but he is also attempting to disrupt God's purposes for us. The world is broken; we are broken. It is the effects of sin that lead to this brokenness. It is the connection, the heart-focus, with God that allows the life of God to flow to us and to move our hearts and our lives towards being like Christ, and like our original design.

A loss of patience, joy, peace or other traits and\or results ought to cause a warning message to flash on in our brains: "Warning! Warning! Power source connection has failed! Take steps to re-establish the connection!"  And we might need to talk to an expert -- our Father, for example -- or consult a manual. And maybe, we already know the correct procedure.

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