When Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan, we are told that the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove. That same Holy Spirit drove Him into the wilderness where He proved that He was stronger than and able to resist anything the devil could tempt Him with. Matthew 3:13- 4:11. He then returns to ‘normal life’ in the power of the Spirit ready to begin His ministry, and the miracles begin along with the profound teaching, both of which totally amazed the people of that day. Luke 4:36.
That anointing fell on Jesus from the Father along with the affirmation ‘this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’. And there we have it. Jesus – God in human form on the earth – receives the Holy Spirit sent to rest upon Him by the Father, the Trinity are there, totally united in their quest to save us from ourselves and the devils plans and purposes on the earth.
Since His death and resurrection Christ now comes and lives in us, those who have surrendered their lives to Him. And yet again the Father sends the Holy Spirit to rest upon and indwell those who can now say ‘I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by the faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me’. Galations 2:20. The Holy Spirit comes upon us to live within us because Christ is in us, and we have become a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Referring back to yesterdays blog we can see that the wonderful thing about being able to ‘grow our Spirit’, is that as we seek to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit that the Father has sent to us, our capacity to host Him will grow too. Just as a tumbler can hold more than a wine glass, so as we look to bless and grow our spirit so the Holy Spirit will fill and flow through us more freely, and the fruit of the spirit will also be increasingly abundant.
I need to grow my spirit so that as I am continually being filled by the Holy Spirit, I am not just a tiny receptacle but have an ever increasing capacity for His abundance. In Ephesians 3:19 Paul is praying for his brothers and sisters to be ‘filled to the measure of the fullness of God’. He also encourages the Galatians to ‘live by the Spirit’, then he writes ‘you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature’. Galatians 5:16. He then goes onto that famous passage contrasting the fruit of the Spirit with the ‘works of the flesh, or sinful nature.
So what about those times when pressure comes, or challenge, or temptation and it seems like the old me is responding too fast, and the fruit of the Spirit is scarce? Those times when I react with impatience or anger, or when the fear and worry overwhelm? When I am far from longsuffering and definitely not full of faith? This is where, yet again, if I can turn to the Lord in thanksgiving, I will find the life of Christ beginning to flow again more freely.
When we are provoked, or in a situation where we are going to react, turning to thank the Lord that He is with us and in us, can give us the pause to allow the Holy Spirit in our spirit to produce the fruit of self control. Self control is therefore possibly the key to us producing all the other fruit. If we activate our self control by taking a deep breath and thanking the Lord for His indwelling presence, we give ourselves the time and space to allow the ‘river of life’ to flow from our innermost being.
We can find ourselves surprised at the gentle answer that comes out of our mouth that ‘turns away wrath’. Proverbs 15:1 AV. Or we will find a song rising up from within that lifts our spirits bringing unexpected joy when we are feeling down. Thanksgiving works to allow Christ’s self control to be ours and so we are saved from reacting in ‘soulish ways’. The pause that thanksgiving brings allows us to partner with the Holy Spirit in developing more self control. Then we will find that other fruit has room to grow too.
Let us train ourselves to use thanksgiving as a ‘brake’ on our ‘old man’ reactions , thus giving the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in our spirit with self control, and then I believe the other fruits will grow naturally out of the new life of Christ within.