Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK ELEVEN
ORBIT – DAY FIFTY FOUR
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each day we give you a short passage of the Bible to reflect on, a way of putting it into practice in your life, and a chance to pray and reflect.
BIBLE READING – 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
At the core of the Christian faith are some wild ideas. Yes, we’re all meant to love and serve one another, but that lovely value system flows out of some really amazing, supernatural stuff. If you are a Christian, then you believe that God came to Earth in human form, that he died (which is relatively easy) and then rose from the dead (which is impossible). More than that, you believe that after he died, he ascended into heaven, and sent another form of himself to live inside us and give us supernatural power. Why do people make Christianity so boring when that’s the origin story?!
That second form – the Holy Spirit – has some pretty major effects on us as he – or you could equally say she – lives inside us. First, the Spirit changes our character, producing what Paul calls ‘fruit’ in us – good things like kindness, patience, gentleness and so on. Second, the Spirit gives us super-natural gifts and abilities.
We’ll talk more about these gifts in the coming days, but for now, let’s reflect on a few general things that Paul says about them. In these verses he’s clear to point out that while the gifts can be wildly different – some of them involving amazing and seemingly-impossible feats, and others being more like an enhanced human ability – the same Spirit is behind them all. One person might have a spiritual gift of resurrecting the dead, and another person might have the spiritual gift of administration, and yet it’s important that we understand that they’re all part of the same divine plan. They all flow from the same place.
This is important, because there’s not meant to be a hierarchy in the church, where one person is more special, holy or gifted than another. We have different gifts, but they’re all equally valuable.
The second important thing that Paul says here is about the purpose of these gifts. They’re not intended to make us look impressive and godly, and in fact, they’re not even really given to increase our own personal faith. No – Paul says “to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” In other words, God gives spiritual gifts to individuals, in order to build up the whole church together. We use these gifts to encourage and serve one another – that’s why they’re given.
It’s another important reminder that God doesn’t just want to know us one-to-one, but as a church too. He relates to us as a community, and his Spirit’s work comes to life in that context. Perhaps the sign of a healthy church is one where the Holy Spirit’s fruit and gifts are clearly evident – a good challenge for us all to think about.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
God I thank you for your Holy Spirit. I pray that you would fill me again with your love and power today, so that I might be able to love and serve others in your name, Amen.
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Think about how you manifest the Holy Spirit in your life. What are the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ which you think seem to appear in you (see Galatians 5: 22-23 for a list)? What might be the gifts which the Spirit is developing in you? Spend a few moments in prayer, asking God to show you these things, and give some thought to how you might develop them a bit more. Maybe even have a conversation with someone else about this subject, today.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!