Fruit First: Foundations of Christian Character!

Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
— 1 Corinthians 14:12 

As many of your know I have been teaching on the power of the Holy Spirit to lead our lives. In that discussion I considered our understand of the priority God places on the "fruit of the Spirit" in the life of believers. The simple reason is that more than anything we need to learn how to walk in the Spirit, toward one another.

Not only does the devil use our differences to divide us, but we can not achieve the goals of the kingdom unless we work together. The body must work together to achieve the higher goals God has for us, including storming the gates of Hell. It is not for us to do alone, or to exalt our individual gifts above the goals of unity within the body of Christ. 

Spiritual gifts are not designed to divide the body of Christ but to unify and to edify it. Once I realized that I started to wonder why they tend to do the opposite. We have a hard time walking together, just like the world does. Was it God's plan for us to all think the same about everything or was His plan to unify us by His Spirit? Guess!

If you are like me then you have to be wondering what the problem is then. Why is it that our different gifts tend to separate us and put us at odds with one another? Is it God's fault? Or is it the maturity of the believers? I believe the scripture is clear what the problem is. It is the lack of love! I can have all the gifts operating in power, but as Paul said, if I do not have love I am nothing. 

Many people talk about how they love strangers, but then come to church and hate the people there. Christians talk about one another in the media and in daily life as if we are all supposed to think and act the same. They speak eloquently about the scripture but have no compassion or patience. They lay hands on strangers and then have a hard time speaking with other Christians. That is a problem. We forget that the body is made up of many different members, and the miracle is that we can in fact work together, leveraging those differences. That is God's purpose for the Body of Christ. 

How do we solve this problem? We teach people to walk in the "fruit" of the Spirit first. Even for our young people, they must have a foundation of spiritual character before anything else, so they can carry the mantle of spiritual responsibility that comes with the gifts God has given. We must work together to do that.

Spiritual gifts are not designed to divide the Body of Christ but to unify and edify it!

Our Confession in Prayer!

Join me in this prayer because we need to mature in this area:

"Heavenly Father, please forgive our spiritual pride. Help us to not just appreciate but to have a reverence for what you have done in each life and in each heart. Help us to learn that you want the Body to be "one" and you have purposed that we would find unity and strength in the love we have for you, and for one another. Help us to speak well of others and to pray for one another rather than to disparage and destroy one another in the sight of other men. Help us not to bear false witness against anyone, and help us to discipline our tongues so that we speak blessing and not cursing. Lord, we know that you have nothing but good things for us so help us to walk in the Spirit to attain them. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen!"