The way I see it… (open to argument!)…
When you let Christ come into your life, when you seriously commit to Him, the Holy Spirit comes into you and begins to work His magic as He transforms you from the inside out. The Bible gives a list of what the Holy Spirit begins to do inside of each person as a result of them surrendering their life (these are cryptically called the Fruit of the Spirit):
“But the fruit [result] of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Then, as an added bonus, followers of Christ receive what the Bible calls Spiritual Gifts. Essentially they are God-given abilities that are only apparent when a person is following Christ. Not everyone receives the same gift(s), but everyone receives at least one. There are many more gifts mentioned throughout the Bible, but this verse includes quite a few:
“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-10
So here’s where my musings come into play.
IT’S LIKE WAR – A METAPHOR
The Fruit of the Spirit is God’s way of training us from the inside out. It’s like bootcamp, but instead of a drill sergeant drilling us to prepare us for battle, build our resiliency, learn to use our weapons, and get us whipped into shape, the Holy Spirit speaks to us in a quiet voice to try and do the same thing. He befriends us and slowly coaches us towards His ultimate goal: to make us loving, joyful, peaceful, steadfast, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Ultimately He’s preparing us for the spiritual battle that the Bible talks about. Even if you aren’t sold out for Christ or don’t go to church, I’m sure you’re familiar with the whole “devil on one shoulder, angel on the other” idea. It’s kind of like that, just not as simple.
Every follower of Christ received the above “training,” armor, and a weapon (see more on the armor of God). But not everyone has the same mission to accomplish, so we need some sort of special training and/or tools to accomplish that job. This is where spiritual gifts come into play. We can think of our gift(s) as a tool or weapon, like a homing missile or a sniper rifle, specially assigned to a niche group of people to accomplish a very specific mission.
So as a Christian, when I go into battle (which is each and every day as soon as my eyes open), I’m supposed to bring with me all of my training (fruits of the spirit), my armor and basic weapon (armor of God), and the special resource used for my specific mission (spiritual gift). If I go into my mission unprepared, you can bet I won’t succeed.
GOD GIVES US PIECES OF HIMSELF
Going back to the Fruit of the Spirit and Spiritual Gifts… something occurred to me this morning. God isn’t just the supplier of all these things, but he IS all these things to the fullest extent. He IS and HAS the qualities and abilities described in the verses above. So when you become a part of His family, He literally starts giving you pieces of Himself. Kind of a cool way to think about it 🙂