This single verse presents Christians with a few interesting questions. It says,
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – (1 Corinthians 12:7)
First, what is the “manifestation” of the Spirit? Second, who is it given to and how do you get it? And finally why is it for the “common good?”
The answers to some of these questions can be seen when looking at the original Greek words from which this verse is translated, but others of these questions require a more extensive search to gain an understanding.
Walking in Christ is not an easy journey. We are called to receive life into eternity, but the road to that life is filled with struggles, troubles, trials and tribulations, for that is our lot as we walk with Christ Jesus.
We are warned about this many times in the Bible and are told that it will be a difficult journey. But the end goal and the promise of the Lord far outweighs the discomforts we may come against in this time.
And aside from the battles we face with the direct opposition of the devil and the problems he throws at us, we have the internal battles against the passions, lusts and desires of human nature. It is these that the devil so often tries to turn against us by putting temptations in our way to cause the passions and desires to be inflamed and to cause us to fall down.
But we see in this scripture that God promises us protection, so we must remember this as we are tempted.
As Christians we have been called to have peace. We are being trained by the Lord through the working of the Holy Spirit to be able to find peace and to hold onto it.
The ways of the Lord lead to peace when we apply His teachings in our lives. When we learn how to walk in the spirit we gain the ability to walk in the peace of the Lord. This is despite the trials, tribulations and troubles that will beset us, along with persecutions from the forces of evil that surround us.
When we learn these lessons and apply them, then we can indeed live without anxiety. And Paul here encourages us to be free from anxiety by making decisions that will take us down more peaceful paths rather than having to deal with all forms of anxiety.
This section of scripture goes into great detail about warning us not to go down the path of sexual immorality. It is perhaps more relevant today than when it was written with the moral decline in this world where one night stands and all kinds of sexual perversions are the norm.
But hidden in this section is a verse that explains why it is so important to shun and flee from sexual immorality. The particular verse says,
But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. – (1 Corinthians 6:17)
Thus we have a dilemma that can only be resolved by following the advice of Paul by rejecting all forms of sexual immorality.
In this section of scripture we see Paul telling the people to imitate him.
Now you may think that to be an imitation is to be a fake, as often we see imitations of products made on the cheap and that are not very good quality.
But that is not the meaning of what Paul was saying here. It is often said that imitation is the greatest form of praise, and while this is not exactly what Paul was calling for it approaches what he wanted the people to do.
If we look at the Greek word that is translated as “imitate” we get a further insight into what this imitation thing is all about.
One of the first principles of coming to Jesus Christ is the principle of repentance. Repentance relates to changing your life by turning around and away from the things of this world to the things of the spirit.
The word “repentance” is translated from the Greek word “metanoia” which literally means to change your thinking. And when we change the way we think, we automatically change the way we behave because all behaviour commences with a thought.
So then, if we are to learn how to walk properly with Jesus Christ, we need to change our behaviours and this is preceded by changing how we think. This is the focus of these few verses we are looking at today.
There is a sharp distinction between our life in Jesus Christ and living in this world. There are two sets of opposing powers at work that significantly affect and impact every person on this planet.
On the one hand there is the spirit of this world. This world today is ruled by the devil and his designs are for the destruction of mankind. His work is to ensnare and enslave all of mankind to their detriment and destruction for he is opposed to God and trying to destroy all that God has created.
And on the other hand there is the opposition to the devil. The spirit of God and Jesus Christ who stand for all that is good and right and true. The intent of the works of God through Jesus Christ is to reconcile man to God so that we can again live in harmony with the Father and the Son.
The difference between these two positions as far as mankind is concerned is defined and explored in these few verses and it is revealing when we see what they say.
This section of the scripture goes right to the heart of walking in the spirit and it is essential to understand what it says and then how to apply it in your life.
In the previous verses we saw a great discussion on the difference between walking in the spirit and walking in the flesh. It all boils down to what you have your mind, which is your spirit, set on. If you focus on the physical things of this world and allow the frustrations, anxieties, fears or even the pleasures of this world to be foremost in your thinking, then your mind is set on the flesh. And when your mind is set on the flesh it is not aligned with the spirit of God.
As it says, to set the mind on the flesh is death but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6). So if you want life AND peace you must learn how to set your mind on the things of the spirit, AND how to keep it there. This is the focus of these two verses today so let us look at how we achieve the path to life and peace by walking in the spirit.
These few verses in Romans 8 are fundamental to the change process that is going on in those who come to the Lord. They are the key to the changes that are being wrought in His people and are the most fundamental explanation of walking in the spirit.
Until a Christian understands this principle AND applies it in their life, they will not change. They will not be able to change because they will be blocking the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work of transformation in their life.
No this post is not about the song of the same title by Britney Spears, although she too has succumbed in this human problem as well. She has had a few epic fails that have been splashed all over the media and I feel really sorry for what she has been through.
What this post is about though is a failing that all Christians suffer as they walk with Christ. It is the issue of when you try to do what is right and you really, really want to do the right thing…and then you mess up and do what is wrong.
Everybody has done it. The road to life is paved with good intentions and nobody ever wants to slip up, falter and fail. But we do. It’s how we deal with it that matters, not that it occurred. And I will look at how we deal with it in an upcoming post, but not today.
Today we look at what Paul is writing about in this section, which is why we do this, especially why Christians do it, but it also applies to the rest of the world as well.