January 8

Acts 19:4-7

“When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—” vs. 6

According to Luke, when John the Baptist’s disciples submitted to baptism Paul laid hands on them–and there were spectacular manifestations of the Spirit, much like what had happened in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. It was not unusual in the early congregations for such things to take place–speaking in tongues or “glossolalia” was considered to be a sign that the Holy Spirit was active and present in a person. In some places like Corinth it was so commonplace that Paul came to see it as a kind of a nuisance. It might edify the individual, but it did nothing for the congregation. In fact Paul wrote Chapter 13 of First Corinthians to show them “a more excellent way” to demonstrate the presence of the Spirit. “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”  He also wrote to the Galatians that, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” His words are instructive for us. If people wish, they can practice speaking in tongues–it’s like reciting a mantra and can be a useful meditative tool. But the fruits of the Spirit are far better indicators of the presence of Christ, and they are what we should cultivate.

Thought for the Day: How can I cultivate the fruits of the Spirit?

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