Day 8 COTL Holy Spirit Charisms and Fruits Novena
Novena for the Charisms and
Fruit of the Holy Spirit
Discernment of Spirits
Fruit of the Spirit
"'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and
how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false
; I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first
Today's scripture from the book of Revelation is John’s vision for the Church at Ephesus. The Lord praised this church but also rebuked it. On the one hand, apparently the gift of discernment of spirits was well developed here. The message said,
“you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false.”
The gift of discernment of spirits is
useful for a community to know whether they are following the right spirit- namely the Holy Spirit. There is so much confusion and noise in our world and unfortunately, the church is not immune from deception. Throughout our history, seemingly inspired, well-reasoned concepts, ideas, and theologies have arisen that were not from God and were in competition with authentic revelation. Think of all the great heresies throughout the ages and all of the wars and division caused within the church and between nations over these heresies. Prayerful application of the gift of discernment of spirits by the originators of the heresies would have been useful in rebuking the root of the deception they surrendered to.
Our human pride will often lead us to move in independence and seek our own ideas and solutions apart from God. Frank Sinatra’s famous song “I did it my way” illustrates how this concept resonates in our secular culture. Often our efforts leave out the essential question, “what do you say about this Lord?”
Our scripture for today has the phrase,
"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance”
These are man’s efforts- what we can achieve in our own strength. Is this the kind of life the Lord wants for us? Working, toiling enduring- struggling to “do it my way?” Of course not. This however
the way of our enemy, the evil one. He is delighted when I do it “my way.”
Jesus says in John 10:9-10 says,
“I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
This scripture speaks of Jesus as the good shepherd but also speaks of the “thief”. Have we spent enough quiet time listening to the voice of the shepherd? Have we built relationships with other mature Christians who can speak into our lives and help us discern whether we are hearing the voice of the Shepard or the thief?
We heard about the Lord’s praise for the church at Ephesus in discerning spirits, but what about the rebuke? It says,
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent, and do the works you did at first.”
What were the works they did at first that they are supposed to return to? It could be many things. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 gives us a clue:
“We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your
work of faith
labor of love
steadfastness of hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ
. Remember, they were praised in Rev 2:2 for their works, toil, and patient endurance. But the reading from 1Thessalonians links works with faith. It links toil (labor) with love. It links patient endurance (Steadfastness) with hope. In other words, Faith Hope and Love were left out, and what remained was human effort. Return to Faith Hope and Love!
The Greek word
translated as “Gentleness” in Galatians 5:22 also can be translated “humility or docility.” Surrender or docility to the Holy Spirit is the essential disposition to keep us focused on what endures: Faith Hope and Love. Surrender aids us in resisting the temptation to do it “my way” Discerning the true voice of the Good Shepherd, individually and as part of a community of mature disciples is the right path to doing it “
Holy Spirit, my pride keeps me from surrendering to your will. I need your grace to develop a quiet and gentle heart that is receptive to you. I desire to only follow you and not to be deceived by the thief that comes to steal kill and destroy. Grant me the gift of discernment of spirits, according to your will, that I may only follow where you lead. May the fruit of gentleness fill my heart with faith hope and love, that with the aid of the Holy Spirit, I may return joyfully to you, my first love, Jesus.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen. Come Holy Spirit!
City of the Lord Arizona Branch
on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 1:04PM