In scripture, we are taught in Galatians 5 about the virtues of the Holy Spirit. I am certain that I have touched on this innumerable times since beginning this faith journey with you all. The reason I am attracted to virtue is for the intents and purposes of a higher level of thinking, being, and doing. Now do not hear what I am not saying. I am not saying that I look to be superior. In fact, living virtuously would be the opposite in the sense that to lead a virtuous life one must lead from a place of service with joy and humility unspoken. What I am expressing is the desire to accept the open invitation to freedom in my mind, body, and soul through the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which we define in lay terms as virtues. In other words, it is an opportunity to a life that brings a higher level of freedom in our lives and to the lives of those we cross paths with along the way.
It is the comprehension of what it means to live a virtuous life and the application of these virtues in our lives that remains one tall task, especially apart from the Holy Spirit. This may come as a surprise, but I have not found God or Jesus to be the primary testers of my faith. God gave me life and free will. Jesus gave me teachings, stood as an example of how to live life, and loved me unconditionally. Holy Spirit stands to test me and show me where I fall flat. The reason I make this bold claim is that in order to allow the joy that overflows, a peace that subdues, to act with patience, to have a life full of virtue, a faith that prevails, a gentleness of heart, and a strength of spirit to encapsulate my body, I have to say yes to Holy Spirit and no to my human desires. Holy Spirit for a lack of better terms is the applications laid out by God and Jesus.
We must choose (the free will of God) to die to our flesh (like Jesus who is our example) to abundantly overflow in the virtues (acceptance of the impartation of the Holy Spirit). Thus, why I am convinced that no one tests me more than the Holy Spirit. I can ask God for what choice to make in any given moment, or look to Jesus for example, but until I stop resisting Holy Spirit God and Jesus cannot do anything about it. I always say, God and Jesus do not force themselves on anyone. Holy Spirit is like the blunt brother that shines his fiery light on the dark areas where worldly thoughts, words spoken, and desires fester inside of us. Meanwhile, he burns brightly, making us sweat bullets until we finally make our personal choice to either accept or deny his ways.
Why do you think that Jesus says that those who deny the Holy Spirit will not be known by His Father? It is because the Holy Spirit is the source of life. It is the Holy Spirit that drenches us in the same level of anointing and power as Christ himself. It is in making the decision to turn away from the things of the world and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and live in us that we can walk in virtue. Apart from this, it is undeniably impossible to understand virtue, be virtuous, and live virtuously according to the Scripture. Some may argue that they know plenty of people who are good and who do good that do know live or know Christ and who do not accept the Holy Spirit as their life source in lieu of the physical flesh. My response to this critique for the simplicity of my blog (and since I am not an apologist) is that this is not a reflection of what people outside of the faith are or are not capable of in the attainment of goodness. Instead, it is a brief explanation of why virtues in accordance with scripture are attractive to a life of true freedom, how the Holy Spirit is the true tester, and the way to attain them fully and authentically. So, without writing a full dissertation on the intersection of virtue and the Holy Spirit I would conclude this month's reflection with three simple points. One must let go of the things of the world to let Holy Spirit inhabit their very being. The acceptance of the Holy Spirit into one's life opens the doors to a higher level of freedom in mind, body, and soul. Lastly, you cannot truly experience or comprehend the truest intense form of virtue without the revelation of the Holy Spirit. One cannot be without the other. Amen.