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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

18 Dec '11

A better you, courtesy of the Holy Spirit

Most of us would like a better version of us. I grow tired of my impatience with others knowing how patient God is with me. I desire a deeper joy, knowing that God has given me so much. I wish to eradicate unkindness from my vocabulary and attitudes having experienced the kindness of Jesus on a daily basis. I want harshness in any form to give way to gentleness and my tendency to act in ways that hurt myself or others to give way to self control. And, for peace to reign in my heart regardless of my circumstances. Yes, I want a better version of me. 


For Christ followers, that better us is not only possible and within reach, it is the direct gift and work of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)." These qualities that make for a better us are a direct derivative of our relationship with Jesus. As we focus on our relationship with Him, this fruit is a natural result in our lives. When I say I want to be a gentler, kinder, version of me, what I am really longing for is more of the Holy Spirit in my life. 


What is interesting about the Spirit's fruit is that it is the opposite of  our natural self which is self centered and selfish. These qualities which come directly from God to us are other centric and directly mirror the graciousness that God has for us - undeserved as it is. In fact, the best way to understand what these qualities look like in real life is to read the Gospels and meditate on the life of Jesus. My greatest desire would be that people look at me and say, "He is like Jesus." That, by the way is the Holy Spirit's plan for our lives as well. Thus He shares His character with us.


We can be proactive in this process. Paul reminds us that "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other (Galatians 5:24-26)." The more we walk with the Spirit, the more of His character becomes our character. The old swapped for the new!


The greatest gifts we could give one another this Christmas, and every day, are the fruit of the Spirit in our words, actions, interactions and attitudes. In doing so, we become Jesus to one another and give what all of us desperately need. In the process, we become a better version of us, courtesy of the Holy Spirit.