Back in my pre-teen years, some of our church went to another church to watch a film called “Black Gold.” Apparently it was shown to encourage prayer or financial help for the people in Africa. It showed how they enlarged their lips and earlobes with rings and tattooed themselves until they didn’t even look human. They told of the mothers abandoning their twins out in the woods because they believed them to be evil. Then there was very live and graphic footage on their practice of making scar designs on themselves. Parents took their babies to have cuts made into their faces, backs, and arms. They held them down as they cried until the procedure was completed. Then they packed the cuts with some kind of mud to stop the bleeding which apparently helped the healing process. They were raised to be really proud of the way they looked.
By this time my mother was frantically trying to get us kids out of the church. She didn’t drive and had to get our ride on board with our exit without disturbing the rest of the people. But my heart, mind, and emotions had already been damaged. It’s been almost sixty years ago and I still feel its effect.
When I go to a public place and I see people with piercings in their faces I turn sick, I have the same feeling I had when I saw those barbaric people and their poor babies. I can’t focus on conversation. I can’t even focus on the person facing me. I just have this feeling like you feel when your child sticks his hand out to show you a bad cut. I literally hurt.
Though I don’t understand why anyone would want to put holes in such wonderfully made bodies, I know that inside those pierced bodies are precious children of God. I know they are not looking with my eyes or feeling with my heart. I do not believe they are evil, but I am still repulsed by what they have done to themselves just as I was with those in the film.
Now that piercings and tattoos have become more and more popular, my goal for the new year is to learn how to by-pass my five senses and see only with my spirit the person facing me. Now I know this can’t happen without the Holy Spirit working in me and on me that I might see His creation through His eyes. The benefit of this ability will cover more than just this one issue, so I’m excited to enter into this new year and this new way of seeing.
Even though the Holy Spirit leads us and cares for us when we are in darkness, it is still the Father’s pleasure to inform us of what things we are to be facing in life before we face it. We should not fail to seek His instructions, His warnings, and to be informed by His great wisdom. He really doesn’t require us to walk in darkness, for darkness is ignorance and He would that we all had knowledge of truth and the wisdom to know what to do with it.
A wise saying, “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.” Prov. 4:26. This is the same as saying, “Think about what you are getting ready to do.” Are you prepared to reap the consequences? That is a big responsibility. If it is good if it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then it demands consideration of others, determination, faith, and endurance. The fruit of the Holy Spirit produces joy and peace for not only you but for those around you. It brings you into spiritual maturity. But if your path is walking in the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), then it centers around self while it repels the fruit of the Holy Spirit. On this path, the law of flesh says you’re not going to be a very happy person in the long run, because it takes the people around us to make us truly happy. The Christ in them strengthens us, calms us, encourages us, teaches us, and loves us. Without them we wouldn’t have a desire to live.
One cannot be converted and at the same time desire and approve of the works of the flesh. If we are truly converted, our desires have turned from having confidence in the works of the flesh to desiring and having confidence in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The truly converted person’s focus will be on the fruit of the Holy Spirit and in developing a habit of replacing the works of the flesh with that fruit. When one is converted, his heart and mind is changed even though habits are still present. We, as the garden of God (Yahweh), must first stir up our ground so the seeds of righteousness can take root, so be patient. These seeds must be nurtured until they are grown up enough to produce fruit within us. Deliverance comes by sincere desire for righteousness. Our peace and joy come from the fruit of the Holy Spirit! Our desire should NOT be to partake of both good and evil for our victory comes from partaking of the fruit from the Tree of Life!
In Christ, there is comfort, peace and joy. We should not accept the concept that a life of righteousness produces as much suffering as those who go in the way of corruption. Good produces peace and joy, while evil produces sorrow and frustration. We reap what we sow one way or another. We become what we partake of. The Holy Spirit is the Tree of Life in our Heavenly Father’s garden. If we eat of life, we will produce the fruit of righteousness. So if we do not have an inner peace, we might consider what we are sowing in our life, or, maybe, what we are not sowing. We have choices, we have power, and we have responsibility. Isn’t it great to be in control?
In the scriptures, Christians are called clouds – clouds of witnesses (Heb.12:1). The Holy Spirit is symbolized as the water in the clouds. As Christians take in the Holy Spirit they get so full that they begin to rain on others, as they rain, they freshen the air with peace and joy. I love the Christian spirit that flows through my family, friends, and even Facebook friends that I don’t know personally. They strengthen me when I feel weak, and they rejoice with me when I feel strong. God bless all you clouds.
I was just pondering the statement, “Temptation is necessary to settle and confirm us in the spiritual life.” But if you read James 1:14-15, he says that every person is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. He then adds, “Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”
James (1:2-4) said, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith [what you hold true and faithful] is ‘tested’ [by those around you], your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
Troubles are part of everyone’s life, they are not sent by God. There is a difference in being ‘tempted’ by the lust of your own flesh and being ‘tested’ by those around you so they might see righteousness in action. Troubles come through ignorance, evil imaginations, and through rebellion. We must remember, we sow what we are and we reap what we sow.
To walk by faith is not walking in ignorance. It is being confident that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is the best weapon of warfare against the works of the flesh. We have all come into the world with the natural reaction to reach for the works of the flesh as our weapons against the same. After we are born from above, we struggle to break this bad habit, or reflex, that we inherited through our natural bloodline. Therefore, when we read in Galatians 5:17-32 and familiarize ourselves with the difference between the two natures we can challenge ourselves to reach for the fruit of the Holy Spirit until we are persuaded they really do work. Then we can say we are walking by faith.
Our Lord said we will know people by their fruit. Another way of saying that is, “Look at the evidence,” or “Pay attention to the outcome of any one action.” Since we are governed by the law of reaping and sowing, or you could say cause and effect, we can rest assured that we can learn right from wrong. We can also trust that all and only good comes from the Father. Though spiritual maturity doesn’t happen overnight, we can still rest assured that if we ask for spiritual growth, or for the fruit of the Holy Spirit, it will be given; if we seek, we will find; if we knock, it shall be opened unto us: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks the door will be opened (Matt. 7:7-8). It’s not like a fairy godmother gift, it is putting on the mind of Christ and being transformed by the way we think. It’s a lifetime of growing up.
In Hebrews 12:1 we see that the witnesses of Christ were allegorically a cloud. The Holy Spirit is symbolized as Living Water. As Christians take in the Holy Spirit they get so full that they begin to rain on others and as they rain they freshen the air and cause it to feel and smell so clean. The wind is a symbol used for the “force” of the Holy Spirit or of a spirit. The Holy Spirit is a peaceful force and one is able to be lifted by it as he turns toward it, thereby rising into the heavenlies. I love parables, allegories, and symbolism!hat they begin to rain on others and as they rain they freshen the air and cause it to feel and smell so clean. The wind is a symbol used for the “force” of the Holy Spirit or of a spirit. The Holy Spirit is a peaceful force and one is able to be lifted by it as he turns toward it, thereby rising into the heavenlies. I love parables, allegories, and symbolism!