Pt 2. Acting in the Spirit of Christ
First let me define what this does not mean. If one acts meek or holds their tongue when confronted with wrong or evil that they are compromising. Wisdom tells us there is a time to speak and a time to be silent (Prov.25:11). We should not react to everything, but respond under control of the Spirit, in the nature of Christ.
Love shows the nature of God and Christ more than any spiritual gift.
Paul explains this in 1 Cor. 13:2 “ And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing .”
1 Cor.13 the spiritual gifts are compared to love, which we are supposed to operate by. When we do not, we are unfruitful.
Love is mentioned in the epistles over 150 times. It is the underlying theme to living as a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). It is our motivation to action. Paul explains we can say and do the right thing without love and we make noise,
1 Cor. 13:1-2 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
In v.3-8 Paul explains one can be very gifted and still lack love which he describes here “ And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity , but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
We are to be motivated by love to help others, which means we are not acting in our self interest, we are not think of our-self as better than others, comparing our-selves to others (2 Cor.10:12).
Rom. 12:9-13 “ Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”
Gala. 5:22-23 “ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control .”
You can only exhibit these if you walk in the Spirit, His Spirit.
Gala. 5:19-21 “ Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like
He says these are evident, they can be seen easily, and should be identified by those who are spiritually minded. The most common traits we see is hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, and revelries, because these are part of our fallen nature we all share in. a nature that is to be controlled by the spirit. But if the Spirit is not active or ruling over our fallen human nature these will be seen. And if the Spirit is not in control, the works of the flesh will continue to get even stronger.
We are to be sanctified. You can only be set apart by the Word, by living and walking in the Spirit (Rom. 6:4; Gala.5:25). Otherwise you cannot be of service to the Lord no matter how religious or intelligent you are.
The fruit of the Spirit is love and many facets describe this fruit, which all exhibit the nature of God and Christ. First and foremost we are to have patience; kindness goes a long way.
I don’t care what you know as knowledge, or what you have done in the past. You show what you know by your character, not just by words. If you do not exhibit the fruit of the Spirit but instead the flesh, then you are not filled with the Spirit and you are not able to be employed in God’s service. Paul points out “ those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8)
Gal. 6:1-2 “ Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. ”
This law of Christ shows that you are spiritually minded, under his control. It is having A RIGHT attitude in doing ministry that makes a difference to being fruitful, not just giving right answers. Answers can be memorized, a right attitude shows in your actions of how you minister to others. Restoration is the goal, it is done in meekness. Intimidations, retaliation or antagonism is not God’s way to reach people with the truth.
This does not mean one is soft toward error, or does not confront someone who is deceived or deceiving others. There are no guarantees of success. We are to be salt and light and even with our saying the truth correctly, or done in the Spirit we can be rejected, even by friends.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32).
Forgiveness always has the goal to restore. If one does not approach it with this intent then it is meaningless. You can try to begin this process, but both parties need to be willing. If the one who has offended the other does not want to listen to the complaint, that often means they do not want to employ forgiveness to restore a relationship (as quickly as possible), to have reconciliation. That person is stubborn, unwilling to allow Gods work in them. To be right with your fellow believer is to be right with God (Mt.18:15-20). This can apply to both the offended and the offender. This resistance often brings a root of bitterness and many a church has been adversely affected by unforgiveness; many have left fellowship because of this taking place.
We should be cautious as well, having good judgment in choosing those whom you receive counsel from. We should seek those who have a reputation in the truth and minister in the Spirit of Christ. And our counsel should not be left up to only one person (Prov.11:14).
2 Tim. 4:2 “ Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”
The spirit of Christ can be cutting in words to correct, it can be rebuking but it does not humiliate a person or use ad hominem attacks to demolish a person or use language to make them-self superior to the other. In fact, we are given the directive to correct the other by humility. Longsuffering and teaching means having patience, to continue to endure to have a result.
Paul wrote Titus (1:13), “ This testimony is true. For which cause reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith”
“Sharply apotomoos (NT:658). An old adverb from [apotomos] (from [apotemnoo], to cut off), in the New Testament only here and 2 Cor 13:10, "curtly," "abruptly." It is necessary to appear rude sometimes for safety, if the house is on fire and life is in danger” (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
In other words if there is immediate danger you can be justified to act like this.
We see similarly in Jude 22-23. When there is a fire the rescuer may have to be forceful as Jude describes here. “ on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.’
Gala. 5:22-24 “ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law .”
If these are found in your life you will walk correctly in the Spirit not the flesh, if most did this we would have far less problems in the church.
Eph. 5:8-10 “ Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth ).” We are to be “ a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled” (Titus 1:8-9)
If one is losing their demeanor, having a temper, mocking others, having outbursts they are not in control of their faculties.
If you appeal to them from Scripture and they refuse to hear, or give a substantial reason for their actions then they are not being Spiritual and need to be treated as being divisive.
The law of love requires us to correct what is harmful to other believers when we become aware of it. To ignore or tolerate what is wrong, what is harmful or abusive is not love but compromising. This is primarily about doctrine, but it also includes ones attitude of how they deal with other brothers and sisters. James 1:19-20 we are to be “ swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
Are they flexible, or rigid; do they have ears to hear, are they patient in their response?
The Spirit of Christ gives one the ability to have self - control, especially of their tongue. If someone is abusive in their speech, unreasonable and has ad hominem attacks they are not in the Spirit but the flesh, or worse.
As Paul recalled Timothy as an example of whom he could send to minister “ For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. ” (Phili. 2:19-22)
Trust is a very important quality in ministry to believers. Paul was sending Timothy expecting them to receive whom he trusted as if it was himself. That he would have the same genuine care for them as he would. To minister in in the Spirit of Christ is our goal so that what we do is fruitful. Lets keep in mind that it’s about winning the person not just an argument.