April 9

1 John 3:23-24

“All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.” vs. 24

We do a lot of talking about the Holy Spirit in our congregations and some people are eager to claim that they possess the Spirit, thereby implying that there are many who don’t. As a result there are folks who go through life wondering if they have the Spirit or if there’s one more step of spiritual advancement left for them to take. Of course congregations have dealt with this from the time of Paul, and John in his little letter makes it plain that love is the prime indicator of God’s presence. We can therefore be confident of Spirit possession if self-giving love is present and apparent in our hearts. Such a thing can happen only through the Spirit–it really isn’t something that can be consistently faked. Paul had set the stage for this understanding when, in his letter to the Galatians, he led off his list of the Spirit’s fruits with love. We really needn’t worry ourselves by wondering whether we abide in God or if God abides in us. Since there is no place where God is not we can be absolutely certain of God’s presence wherever we see people loving one another as God in Christ has loved them. And when that happens we can be confident that Jesus is being glorified and his dream fulfilled!

Thought for the Day: What does it mean to be “possessed by the Spirit”?

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