EVIDENCE OF THE SPIRIT

I want to speak boldly, openly, and honestly here. As if I have any other level right? In my circle, there has been a lot of talk about being filled with the Spirit of God. There are all kinds of teachings of how one knows they are filled and how others would know that they are filled with the Spirit of God. Unfortunately, this thought is not all Biblical. This writing is not a debate on whether or not the gifts of the Spirit are operational today but a look at what the Bible says is the sign that we have the Spirit of God in us. We must remember that satan also has signs and wonders (Rev 13:13).

If we say we follow the Bible, then it’s the Bible we go by. What does the Bible say is evidence of our having the Spirit of God?

I believe, if you forget about all the theologies and teachings that are out there and you looked only at the Bible, the overwhelming message that we find is that our love for our neighbor is the primary sign of the indwelling of the Spirit of God in our lives. While some may receive some gifts and others another gift, this one piece of evidence is one that ALL who have the Spirit will have. In fact, John specifically speaks of this as a sign (1 John 4:7-19). And, in all truth, John is speaking at MORE than a bunch of people saying, “I love you” to each other. He gives an example of the sacrifice in which God made; and the sacrifice in which Christ made. It wasn’t that God just loved us, but He sacrificed for us; and that is the kind of love we are supposed to have for our neighbor - that we would sacrifice our time and comforts so they can have. This is what James is talking about in James 2:15-16.

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t see this love in the modern America church. Sure, there’s a handful of people who will give once they’ve got their bills paid, got their clothes, jewelry, another pair of shoes, stomachs full, seen a movie. But what we don’t see is a love to the level of sacrificing what we have so other can have. We don’t see the church, as a whole (or even as a most), giving up a days food so someone else can have food (Is 58:7). We may hand off some old clothes to someone so we can buy nice new clothes; but what we don’t see is the church wearing their old clothes so they can use the money for new clothes to buy even more clothes for those in need (Is 58:7). The church does not have the level of love to forgive someone of trespasses made against them (Matt 5:44; Matt 18:21-35; Matt 6:15).

Now if we take the Bible seriously - if we take the Bible SERIOUSLY, then the majority of the modern American church is not filled with the Spirit of God. Because we are unwilling to sacrifice our comforts so that our neighbor can eat, have clothes, or hear a kind word or message of love. In fact, if we take the Bible SERIOUSLY, we’ll see Christ saying that those who don’t help these in need will be doomed to hell (Matt 25:41-46).

The problem is that much of the church is concentrating on “receiving” gifts of signs and wonders but they are ignoring the greatest gift of all; and the greatest evidence that the Spirit is in us. And since the BIBLE says that it’s this level of love that proves we have the Spirit then we have to come to the conclusion that, since the church does not have this level of love, the church does not have the Spirit. If the majority of the church does not have the Spirit of God, proven by their massive lack of sacrificial love, then from what spirit do these signs and wonders come from? We seriously need to examine ourselves on this point because Christ said that theres a large group of people, in the church, will be performing these signs and wonders in HIS name and yet STILL not make it. In fact, not only do they not make it, but He has NEVER knew them (Matt 7:22-23).

We need not concentrate on signs and wonders found in gifts; but look for the greatest gift of the Spirit that is the sign of God’s love and make the world wonder how such love could exist. Let us return to our first love, and be a light to the world again; a witness of God’s love shining through us.
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