We've Got Spirit, Yes We DO!
by Mary Alice McGinnis
Remember the cheer “We’ve got spirit, yes, we do! We’ve got spirit, how about you?” This chant between opposing athletic teams on opposite sides of a stadium can stir up a crowd in an instant!
What is it about our human nature that wants so desperately to PROVE that our team, our side, our opinions, our viewpoints are so FAR more superior to the opposing side?
In Corinth, it was no different. These Gentile Christians were being told they were “less than” because they were not of Jewish heritage. But soon, their pride too kicked into gear they were given “spiritual gifts.” I imagine them chanting, “We’ve got the Spirit, YES WE DO! We’ve got the Spirit, how about YOU!”
Paul writes to them and says he does not want them to be uniformed. He wanted them to not miss, not to ignore, or draw wrong conclusions about something. What he was about to teach them was vitally important!
He wanted them to grasp what life lived in the Spirit really meant.
Paul immediately reminds them of what they DID KNOW!
“You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.”
It might be easy to think, “Paul is certainly not talking to me in this verse. I am not a pagan!” The original Greek word translated as “pagan” is the word “ethnos." It has the connotation of tribe, nation, or people group. In essence, we are all from the same “genetic” background, coming from Adam and Eve. We are all have our roots from the same sinful human family.
In and of ourselves, we all were pagans – of the human family – ethnos – group of people who were not a part of God’s family.
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior." (Colossians 1:21)
How are we lead astray? Though we may not have idols made of stone or wood that we bow down to today, we none the less still are influenced and led astray by “mute idols.”
Martin Luther once said, “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is your God.”
We habitually look to other things besides Jesus to fill the empty void we feel in our hearts.
Our relentless pursuit of seeking after things that make us feel worthy, acceptable, significant, is a bottomless pit, or – mute idols.
These idols - our self -salvation strategies - influence us and lead us astray DAILY!
Even trying to be MORE SPIRITUAL can become an idol.
Paul reminds the Corinthians (and us) of their (and our) previous position as aliens, pagans, those outside of God’s family, to DRIVE home his point.
The giving of the Holy Spirit, and how He uses us in miraculous ways is God’s GIFT!!
A TRUE gift is not something earned! It is unexpected and undeserved. The most outlandish gifts are given even to the most unworthy, unconditionally, and with no strings attached.
No more need for “one-upmanship.” We are all sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit. We all were undeserving, yet freely, gracefully given the glorious gift of partaking in God’s divine plan and playing our unique part.
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)
Father, thank You for Your lavish gift of Jesus! We were once aliens and your enemies. But now You have reconciled us by Christ’s physical body through death to present us holy in Your sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Colossians 1:22)
Jesus, You continue to pour our Your undeserved gifts upon us through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, Thank you for the bountiful blessing of being Your people in this time and place. Breathe upon us and make Your work manifest itself in our lives for the good of those around us today.