What it takes to
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
St. Paul is telling us that God brings each of us to completion, to perfection, to a full blooming of the nature we have in Him through the work and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God sends His Holy Spirit to us exactly for our benefit – not just as individuals – but also as members of the family of His Holy Church. In the Spirit His Church is created and sustained. Its members manifest conversion through faith and contribute the gifts he or she has been given.
A good way to determine how brightly we are blooming in personal faith and as members of the Church is to measure how completely we have given our life over to God’s Holy Spirit. Consider Paul’s message to the Galatians: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
These verses offer an inspiring, and deeply comforting revelation of how our life, spirit, and actions will bloom when truly “spirit-filled.” It also speaks of the relationship that should bloom within the family of the Church.
Our lives and our Church should “bloom” with the fruit – the “blossom”—or living proof, of the Holy Spirit within us! People should be able to clearly recognize our fruit – in our actions, our words, and our lives.
“Love,” “joy,” “peace,” “gentleness,” and “goodness,” is the food the Holy Spirit gives us so that we can bloom. His goodness, wraps us in His love, comforts us with His peace, and calms us with His gentleness – and together define what true, lasting, and eternally accessible “joy of the Lord” is made up of.
“Longsuffering,” “meekness,” “faith” and “temperance,” are words that describe the characteristics we should display as mature, Spirit-filled Christian believers and most particularly as a Church family alive in the Spirit.
Sometimes we have to struggle when we are wronged or recognize when others are right and our ego needs to take a back seat. The food of the Spirit is sometimes painfully cultivated in us, but to really bloom we must stay committed to attain the best of what God has to offer!