Genesis 8:6-12; Leviticus 1:14-17; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Galatians 5:15‑25
The dove is mentioned often in the Bible, from helping Noah know when the waters had receded, to serving as a sacrifice for the poor. The dove is also the most common image of the Holy Spirit. Do you recall the scripture passages which tell of the Holy Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove? (Matthew 3:16)
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. He is the Comforter of Jesus’ followers, and the Giver of the gifts of the Spirit and the Fruits of the Spirit.
The Gifts of the Spirit are God-given abilities. Every believer has at least one, a few have several, and they are all to be used for the building up of the church and the glory of God. These are not the natural talents, inherent in nonbelievers and believers alike. Preachers and evangelists often display speaking gifts (prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, teaching and exhortation) and while serving gifts (leadership, helps, giving, mercy, faith and discernment) are frequently found in other groups. Prophecy is the speaking forth of God’s Word, knowledge is the understanding of His truth, and wisdom is the practical application of that truth. Teaching is the ability to help others understand a concept fully, and exhortation is the power to effectively encourage. Of the nonverbal gifts mercy is the ability to empathize and sympathize, faith is an unusual depth of trust in God, and discernment helps the individual distinguish truth and falsehood.
The Fruits of the Spirit are character traits planted by the Holy Spirit and growing in everyone who knows and loves the Lord. Their presence proves that a man is a Christian, and their absence proves that he is not. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all within our reach. God develops these fruits within us as we read and obey His word, and as we step out in faith.
The incessant demands of life, especially during this season, can prevent us from developing our spiritual gifts, and slow our growth in spiritual fruit. The Spirit of God rarely shouts through an earthquake or a storm, but usually whispers to us during our quiet moments. Lives that overflow with frenzied activity and mountains of material goods will never overflow with the Spirit of love and power. The dove is not a prince among birds, but in its simplicity and ordinariness it was chosen above all other birds to represent the Holy Spirit.
Will you develop your Gift of the Spirit this Advent season? Will you cultivate your soul in trust and obedience so that the Fruits of the Spirit can grow in you? This Advent season, and any time you see a dove, remember the Holy Spirit of God, and thank him for the gifts He has given you, and in the Fruits of the Spirit available to all.
What Child is This?
|What Child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Why lies he in such mean estate
So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,