The Gift of Apostleship

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“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came He called his disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.” [Luke 6: 12-13]

“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father.” [Galatians 1:1]

The twelve men that Jesus picked out did indeed have special gifts. Often we refer to them as the twelve Disciples. But were they also apostles? Paul is referred to as an apostle but is he a Disciple?

Here is the short answer: an apostle is a Christian who is sent to deliver or spread teachings to others. That is that person’s spiritual gift. However, the word “apostle” has two meanings, the larger meaning of being a messenger for Christ and the narrow meaning to denote the twelve people directly linked to Jesus Christ. We can say that all of the twelve Apostles were Disciples but not all apostles are disciples. The “office” of apostle was held by each of the twelve disciples.

Billy Graham cites theologian John R.W. Stott to try to clear this up. He says that the word apostle is used three ways in the New Testament. Christians are sent into the world by Jesus Christ. What all Christians should have in common with others is the “apostolic mission” of the church; we are all supposed to be sent into the world as Christ’s messengers. In John 17: 18 and John 20: 21, Jesus says he is sending us into the world as His Father sent Him into the world. Twice in the New Testament the word apostle is used to refer to messengers who were sent on particular errands from one church to another [2 Corinthians 8:23 and Philippians 2: 25]. Of course the third way the word apostle is used is in reference to the twelve men who were eyewitnesses to the ministry of Jesus. There have been no more special people like those twelve; they held a unique position. These twelve apostles were the first messengers of the gospel after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was these twelve apostles who were the foundation of the church—with Jesus being the cornerstone.

What exactly would be the role of an apostle outside that of the original twelve apostles? That is not entirely clear. From the definition of the word, the closest thing today to an apostle, in the general sense, is a missionary. A missionary is a follower of Christ who is sent out with the specific mission of proclaiming the Gospel. A missionary is an ambassador of Christ to people who have not heard the good news. Often missionaries fulfill their gift in foreign lands.

Some Christians have that spiritual gift today; certainly not all Christians have it.
Graham says another version of apostle today can be the Christian who has the ability to plant churches. These churches may not necessarily be in foreign lands and some would argue that a missionary can be a church planter. People who can plant churches have a message that they are sharing with others, are responsible for establishing a church and have the ability to exercise authority in setting policies and enforcing them [Graham, 176]. In the town where I live, there are small churches that are beginning in a storefront building. Church plants can even begin in someone’s private home.

Whether a person is a missionary or a church planter, this spiritual gift of course is special. When someone has the ability to bridge cultural divides to share the Gospel or to establish churches in challenging environments, this type of person has the gift of developing others for Christ. They are leaders who can not only lead their church but they can also recruit lead pastors and shepherds to run the church.

In my study of persuasive speaking, they are what I would call “influencers” or “opinion leaders.” They can be entrepreneurial in their approach to ministry and they know how to take risks and perform difficult tasks.

It boggles my mind to think that a Christian would have enough motivation to do this type of work. I have never felt drawn to missionary work; I have never felt the need to start a new church. Billy Graham was an evangelist but he did not have the spiritual gift of the missionary or church planter. He did have a close friend who spent his whole life working in the Caribbean going from one community to another to establish churches. He reported that in his friend’s lifetime, he established fifty.

Graham says “There are hundred, and perhaps thousands of men and women of God throughout the world today who are doing just that.” They have the gift of taking Christ’s message to the lost. They have the ability to start a church in a storefront building.
We can say that all of the twelve Apostles were Disciples but not all apostles are like the Disciples. Each of the twelve Apostles was a man who saw Jesus while He was here on this earth. Therefore, if this is your strict definition, is not possible for a person to be an apostle today. However, Graham thinks that apostleship is a spiritual gift and it is possible for a person to have this gift today. It is clear that he has great respect for this work.

Even though I can’t do this type of work, I hope it is clear to you that I too have a great deal of respect for people who do this work.

Not just the office of apostleship; not just the work of apostleship, but the spiritual gift of apostleship …

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To Glorify Him…

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“God has given each of us a task to do and supernatural gifts to do it.” Billy Graham from his book The Holy Spirit…

I had a conversation the other day with a recently retired person who told me she had volunteered in several capacities but she had not found her “place” yet. She recounted her experience at a local mission center where she was given a job to do that may not have tapped her skills. She was told to hand out bags of food on distribution day. She did her assigned task but said, “My heart was just not in it. I wonder if there is somewhere else where I am needed.” Is she searching for her spiritual gift? Is there such a thing as a search for your spiritual gift? How will you know if you have a gift and you are doing your “spirit” work for The Lord?

That conversation and the associated questions are addressed in Graham’s chapter on gifts of the Spirit.

First of all, God has given each committed Christian believer at least one gift and He wants us to use it for His Glory. The person above is possibly in a search for hers. I know her and I know her work-life skill set; it may not be handing out bags of food. Paul wrote to young Timothy and said “kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you.” Before we go further, sometimes we are called to serve others who are in a humble sphere of life. Not everyone is called to service in some prominent position so humble work is fine. God may call us to do humble acts of service, but maybe this person was right…her spiritual gift was not being utilized in this location.

One key thing she told me made me wonder if she had found her “place”; the expression “my heart was just not in it.” Graham says that when someone finds their spiritual gift, there is a degree of ease in the performance of their work. There is a feeling that the “fit” of the person in the situation is right; they feel it in their heart.

Discovering your spiritual gift is a matter of thoughtful prayer on your part. We should pray for God to guide us to where we can best serve. If we are willing, we will find work that fits us; God will reveal it. God will provide it. God will situate us where we can be used the best. Some people are not prone to be led by God. They want to force themselves into a situation or they want to “demand” God to reveal their gift so they can get to work. It does not work that way. Prayer, patience and following God’s lead is the way this usually happens. Where you end up serving may be a surprise, but that is where God wants you to be.

Some Christians are afraid to let God lead them to their spiritual gift. Maybe they will find themselves in a situation where God is asking a lot of them and they are hesitant to commit. I once was told by a Christian that they were afraid that God would lead them to be a missionary and they were scared to death to perform that kind of work.

Prayer and an intelligent understanding of what the Bible says about spiritual gifts is the best guide. Graham writes that his book is “no substitute for first-hand study of the Bible’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirit….If we find we are reluctant to know God’s gifts because we are afraid of what He might call us to do with them, this needs to be faced and confessed before God.”

Graham says everyone knows what they are good at. We all have personal experiences which would lead us to do one job or another. We may find we like to do certain things and God may reveal to us that we are really good at doing them in situations where the skills are needed, the service is valued and He will get the glory. The person I opened with is continuing her search for her “place.” Graham says it is good to try a variety of situations in various ministries until we find our place. Other people can help us as they reveal what they think about our talents; maybe we don’t have an accurate picture of what we can do.

As times goes on, the process of discovering our spiritual gift[s] may be a lengthy one and as we live our lives, we may find gifts emerging as we find new opportunities to serve The Lord. Don’t be discouraged; God wants to use you for His Glory. He wants you to share your gifts and abilities with others but as Graham says “we will never be used by Him in the fullest way until we know our gifts and we have committed them to Him.”

This is a level of life that sounds so fulfilling. Beth Moore speaks of this commitment in her book Praying God’s Word: “The giant step in the walk of faith is the one we take when we decide God no longer is a part of our lives. He is our life.”

To my friend, be patient, pray, read the Bible about gifts of the Spirit, be open to God’s direction.

He will show you where to go. He will provide what you need. He will allow you to use your spirit gift to serve others…

And to glorify Him…

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The Specifics…

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As I have discussed spiritual gifts and I have listed them as they are in the New Testament [Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:8–10; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11] I can easily see there are 31 but several gifts mentioned in these scriptures do overlap. Scripture says that Christians are given gifts by God and every Christian has at least one gift. Some may have more than one.

There are specific things about spiritual gifts that we should all know.

Why are we given spiritual gifts?

Ephesians 4:12 says “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” There are key words in this quote that tip us off about why we are given spiritual gifts. Those key words are “work of service” and “building up the body of Christ.” Work of service means that gifts are given to help others; they are not to be used selfishly. In 1 Corinthians 12:7 Paul says the gifts are given for the “common good” which means they are for the benefit of others. Paul further comments in Philippians 2: 3, 4 that we should do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

The phrase “building up the body” gives us additional insight about why we are given spiritual gifts. The spiritual gift[s] we are given are intended to work with other gifts that other people have to unite the church [often referred to as “the body of Christ”]. Note Paul’s comments in Ephesians 4: 3-7 when he says that we should be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body [one church] and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace [a special gift] was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Take note of the frequent use of the unity word “one.” Gifts should never divide the body of Christ; they should unify it.

When we are given gifts, what happens if we don’t use them?

There is a short answer; there will be an accounting. Billy Graham* says that “every believer will someday have to stand before the judgement seat of Christ to give an account of how faithfully he used his gifts, as well as his personal life before God and man” [171]. Before you jump to any conclusions, some may say “but I have been saved!” How can I lose my salvation that I gained from our Christ on the cross! Truly our sins have been atoned for by Christ on the cross, but after salvation, every work must come into judgement and if we have faithfully used God’s gifts, “each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done whether good or bad” [2 Corinthians 5: 10]. This judgement which is called “bema” is reserved for Christians alone. It will not be judgement for the unbelieving world. That type of judgement is called the “Great White Throne judgement.” If the Christian can say I have done my best to use my gifts, the compensation [recompense] will be great. If the Christian has not made much of an effort, the compensation will be small.

Besides the core questions concerning why we are given gifts and what happens if we don’t use them, there is a question of credit. Spiritual gifts are never to be used for personal credit. Spiritual gifts are given for the glory of God. Many may struggle with this because many seek praise. Matthew 5:16 addresses this attitude in the words “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” [notice it says praise your Father instead of praise you].

We all have wonderful potential that can be developed in our lives, potential for expanding God’s glory in this world. Let me close with these very inspiring words from Pastor Mark Batterson: “Potential is God’s gift to us; what we do with it is our gift back to God.”

From his book The Holy Spirit

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Using Your Gift…

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The artist who sees beauty and then creates beauty…                                                             The carpenter who can take wood and literally make anything…                                              The mathematician who can work complex problems in his or her head…                             The golfer who can hit a little white ball any direction he or she wants…                           The musician who can take an instrument and make wonderfully pretty sounds…         The gardener who can grow beautiful flowers…

God-given gifts or natural abilities?

In Romans 12: 6-8, 1 Corinthians 12: 8-10 and Ephesians 4:11 the list of gifts from the Holy Spirit is long, about twenty.  Billy Graham* writes that the Old Testament mentions several gifts not even listed in the New Testament. He also says that some of these gifts may be very similar to what some would call natural abilities, not necessarily “spiritual” gifts. He cites Bezalel in Exodus 31, the craftsman who worked in gold, silver and bronze, taking precious stones to set in the metals: “And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding and knowledge.” That wisdom, understanding and knowledge goes along with his God-given artistic ability.

Then Graham says this: “God can take a talent and transform it by the power of the Holy Spirit and use it as a spiritual gift. In fact, the difference between a spiritual gift and a natural talent is frequently a cause for speculation….I am not sure we can always draw a sharp line between spiritual gifts and natural abilities—both of which come ultimately from God.”

What is he saying here?

No matter what your talent or gift, God can use it for His glory. God can take a natural ability and transform it by the power of the Holy Spirit and use it as a spiritual gift.
Let me give you some examples. I know someone who is humble. She never seeks the spotlight and if anyone gives her a compliment, she accepts it and appreciates it but you can tell that it makes little lasting impression on her. Her humility is a cornerstone of her personality but it lays the foundation for her natural talent: she is an excellent listener, a wonderful friend, a counselor of sorts. Many cannot focus on the needs of others but she can, putting her needs aside. This natural ability is a spiritual gift of “giving” of her time and the “helping” others as they need to express themselves. Giving and helping are two spiritual gifts.

I once played a round of golf with a man who did not try to evangelize with his mouth but as the game unfolded, it was pretty obvious that he had a Christian background. It was how he made references to the game, how he behaved as he went about the business of enforcing the rules of golf on himself, how he was clear about his reason for playing golf that day. He was talented [much more so than the rest of us in our group] but he was not prideful or boastful about his ability. One player in our foursome was struggling all through the round that day. He lost so many golf balls that we all began to feel sorry for him. Not only are golf balls expensive, but the loss of a ball means an extra stroke is added to the score and his score was ballooning. At the end of the day, the talented golfer paused and told the man who struggled to wait as he went to his car. He came back with an egg carton and said “Here brother.” I thought the recipient was going to cry; the carton was full of new golf balls. Nothing more was said, but something was indeed communicated.

I turn to James 1: 17 and wonder what the following scripture means: “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.”

I wonder what James meant when he said “Every good thing.”

Too many Christians look at the list of spiritual gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit and say not me. Apostle, not me. I could not be a prophet. I can’t teach. I certainly can’t perform miracles. Healing is beyond my power. I don’t think I have ever spoken in tongues. The list becomes negative as we think the talent we have pales in comparison with the list. Too often we look at it and say things like “I guess I fall short.”

No necessarily so…

I think Billy Graham is telling us in his book that God can use any gift that we have as a spiritual gift.

We should not sell ourselves short.

We should also not sell God short; what God has given, He can use.

All we have to do is let Him…

*Billy Graham  The Holy Spirit

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At Least One Gift…

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1 Corinthians 12: 8-10

Ephesians 4:11

Romans 12: 6-8

In these three places in the Bible, you will find listings of gifts of the Spirit. The Bible teaches us that every redeemed person is given at least one gift by the Holy Spirit…at least one gift.

What do we know about the spiritual gifts that we get from the Holy Spirit?

First of all, spiritual gifts are given for service, not for personal enjoyment. What does that mean? It means that the Holy Spirit intends for you to use your gift for the glorification of God’s Kingdom here on earth.

The gift you receive may be affected by your attitude. That is not the Holy Spirit’s intention. For example, people who lack spiritual maturity may be jealous of another person’s gift. They may wish they had it, but their covetous attitude is not God’s plan. We should be content with the gift we have. Also, a person who has a gift may accept it with smugness and pride and that is definitely not God’s intention. Billy Graham* says “The Spirit in which the gift was given cannot be judged by the attitudes of the receivers.”

The Apostle Paul speaks of the Church as a physical body, where each member is likened to a body part. Each body part has a function [e.g. foot, hand, eye, head etc.]. God has placed the “members” in the body just as He wants. The head cannot say to the foot, I don’t need you. The hand cannot say to the eye, I don’t need you. All the members of the body are important, necessary parts of a functioning body and they are all essential.

Expanding from this metaphor of the human body, every member of the body of Christ is important. Every member is unique; there can never be another “you” or “me”. Likewise, your gift is unique to you. God may give similar gifts to different people but together the body of Christ is supposed to function together, members with their gifts. Graham says “If any one of us is missing, the body is incomplete, lacking some part.”

Many Christians may not know that the Bible uses the Greek word charisma [plural charismata] to speak of the gifts God has given Christians via the Holy Spirit. In contemporary language, charisma means a special person who has a certain indefinable quality which attracts people to his or her personality. We speak of certain people as having “charisma.” Graham says the New Testament use of charisma is different from today’s use. For example (by today’s standards), the Apostle Paul did not have charisma but he had definite spiritual gifts [charismata] which God had given to him. The word charismata means manifestations of grace and is usually translated simply as gifts.

God has a plan when He dispenses gifts to His believers. We are held accountable for the gifts He gives us but we are not responsible for the gifts we have not been given. We may wish we had a certain gift but if it is God’s will that you don’t have it, you just won’t have it. We can’t wish for it, pray for it and expect to get it.

Many get confused about gifts of the Spirit and fruits of the Spirit** and think they are the same thing. They are not. Every believer should have the same fruit as every other believer, but not every believer will have the same gift as every other believer. The Holy Spirit distributes gifts in a way that every believer has at least one gift which is unique to them. It is not correct to assume that everyone else has your gift.

Let me close this intro to the gifts of the Holy Spirit with a bit of personal information about Billy Graham. He writes “In my case, I believe God has given me the gift of evangelism, but I did not ask for it” [Graham, 168]. He goes on to say something that we must all think about seriously. Since he was given the gift of evangelism, he states that he would be a sinner if he did not use his gift.

If we are not using our gifts for God’s glory are we sinning?

Yes…

“The gifts you and I have are the ones God has seen fit to give us, and we should seek to discover and use them for His glory” [168-69].

Enough said…
*from his book The Holy Spirit
**We will have extensive discussion of the fruits in later posts.

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Throwing Water on the Flame…

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Liturgical/neo-liturgical, traditional, blended, contemporary, modern…

All of these words denote worship styles, all methods that worship leaders use to reach people in the pews, to get them involved with God. Some of these styles may necessitate change; a church used to a traditional service now evolving into a worship style that is more modern. Pastor Graham addresses this issue in his response to a worshipper who wrote to him about not wanting to change, especially in the area of worship music.

“Instead of complaining to your pastor (or anyone else), I urge you to ask God to help you be grateful for all music that points us to God, new or old. No, you may not like some of it, but others do, and God can use it in their lives to encourage them and bring them closer to Christ. Remember, the old hymns you like were once new and someone probably did not like them when they were introduced years ago.”

In his book, The Holy Spirit, Graham addresses the second way that believers can sin against the Holy Spirit. They can “quench” the Holy Spirit. For me, quench means to put out something, as in to quench a fire or put out a fire. The Apostle Paul says in 1st Thessalonians 5: 19 “Do not quench the Spirit.” Graham thinks we can do this when we try to block something new that God is doing. We don’t see the value, we can’t imagine that anyone would benefit from it, we don’t like things to change because we have to change. The list goes on and on. Maybe these are all flimsy reasons for complaining but we use them to stop change dead in its tracks. We quench the Spirit. We stop God from doing something new.

A second way we quench the Spirit is we get so busy with life that we can’t find time to use the means of grace. Graham says this is tantamount to letting the fire go out because we are not supplying it with fuel. We can always rely on others to stir us up but honestly, we are responsible for keeping our own spiritual fire stoked. Have you ever been so busy that you could not find five minutes to pray? Were you in a situation where you could witness for God but you backed away, when the Holy Spirit was saying “go ahead, I will supply you with the words?” Have you forgotten how important it is to read God’s Word? You just can’t find the time to read The Bible anymore. Graham writes “These things are channels through which God gives us the fuel that keeps the fire burning. And the Holy Spirit wants us to use those gifts to maintain His burning in our lives” [Graham, 163].

The last way we quench the Spirit is through willful sinning. The word “willful” is very important. No Christian must sin, but keep in mind that just because a person has given his life to Christ does not mean they are incapable of sinning. Everyone knows the pull of temptation. Our human nature can direct us to say and do many things that are not glorifying God, things that are worldly, selfish, and even evil. John Piper once wrote these wise words that I hope to always remember: “The Christian can really begin to glorify God when he or she chooses God over sin; the love of the Lord is more important than sin.” God does not make us sin; we choose to do it when it is not necessary. Graham says it is impossible to keep the Holy Spirit fire burning if we are sinning. We are constantly throwing water on the flames.

When we give our lives to Christ, He intends for us to walk each day in the fullness of the Spirit; He wants us to be receptive and sensitive to His leading in our lives. He wants us to experience His power in our lives.

When we give our lives to Christ, we can’t imagine where God is going to take us, but we need to be open to where He leads us. We don’t need to get stuck in one place and refuse to budge. We don’t need to get so busy that we don’t turn to God in prayer and read His word. We don’t need to turn our lives over to sin; we need to let Him help us turn away from sin.

We need to be grateful, taking ourselves out of the equation as much as possible. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit, our helper, our comforter, our guide.

We should thank God for the Holy Spirit…

We should never quench the flame of the Spirit.

For it is the Holy Spirit that helps us to lead a life dedicated to Christ.

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Grieving the Holy Spirit…

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In the previous post entitled “The Unforgiveable Sin” I commented on blaspheming the Holy Spirit. If an unbeliever blasphemes* the Holy Spirit, Billy Graham** calls that an unforgiveable sin. If that person never finds Jesus as their Savior and never asks forgiveness for this sin, they are doomed.

Pretty rough stuff, wouldn’t you say?

This raises questions about sins against the Holy Spirit that believers commit? Are there any?

The answer is yes. Graham writes about one called “grieving the Holy Spirit.”
Before reading The Holy Spirit, I had never encountered this concept, but I know I do this sin because I am a believer. Graham says that “almost any wrong action we take” can be included under either grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit [more on quenching in upcoming posts].

Before we go any further, it is very important to say that grieving does not lead to impending doom at the end of our earthly lives. The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:30 that we are “sealed” for our day of redemption, which means that even though we commit this sin, we will remain Christians.

But what specifically is grieving? Generally, it is doing things that are inconsistent with the nature of the Holy Spirit. Graham says we hurt His heart [the Holy Spirit’s heart] and wound Him [the Holy Spirit]. “We can bring pain to the Spirit by what we do” [Graham, 158]. In Ephesians 4: 20-32 Paul says that whatever is unlike Christ in conduct, speech, or disposition grieves the Spirit of grace.

This covers a lot of territory.

Even though our conduct can be unlike Christ, Graham says when the Holy Spirit is grieved it is a “love word”. We may hurt or anger someone who has no affection for us but we can only grieve someone who loves us. Everyone knows what it feels like to sin. When I commit a disobedient act, I have the same feeling over and over again. My pipeline to God has been ruptured, my telephone line to God has been cut, or my feeling of closeness to my Holy Father is lost. Whatever your metaphor, the sin makes things “not right.”

If you believe in God, the “glorious and gracious” aspect of this sinning is that you do not lose the Holy Spirit. God does not refuse to “seal” you. He does not become permanently removed from you. Graham says of the Holy Spirit that “a believer cannot grieve Him so much that He goes away totally.” Some refer to this as “backsliding” but backsliding does not mean you have fallen from grace, or you have the Holy Spirit withdrawn from you permanently.

Some things are lost and as a believer you know it. Sinning can lead to an absence of joy in daily life. I feel anger and frustration with myself because I have been too weak to fight temptation. Often, my wife will tell me I am irritable when I have sinned. That is a shame because I am not irritated with her. I live with her and she is the unjustified recipient of these feelings. I literally begin to feel weak when I have sinned. I don’t have good mental focus. I can’t get things done. When I have sinned, the hypocrisy of presenting a “good” image to the world drains me. I think things like “if others only knew how weak I am, how dishonest I am.”

Let me explain further by using a personal example. One of the great blessings of my life has been to be a father. My son and I are very close even though I don’t get to see him that often. When we talk on the telephone, the closeness is evident. When we are together, I accept him, love him and respect him.

It was not always smooth sailing with my son. As a teen, my son acted in ways that my wife and I did not approve of. We made it clear that his behavior was wrong, but for a time, he went on doing what he pleased. He was not concerned with being the “good boy” that we expected. Never once did I say to him, “if you don’t stop doing ‘this or that’, I will stop loving you.” The fact of the matter is his behavior was very frustrating and discouraging but I still loved him. There were times when I wondered about his future, if he would make it to adulthood and have a chance at a happy, productive life. When I think about those times, I recall feeling pain, sorrow and anguish mixed in with my love for him.

But I never turned my back on him. I never told him I was withdrawing my love for him. I just rode out the rough times and kept hoping that he would see the error of his ways.
I am a fortunate father. He did get beyond this rough time in his life. He did make it to a happy productive life as an adult.

When Graham says “grieve is a love word”, I can understand because my son grieved me for a time, but I am so glad that I saw those days as only a period in his growth and not a permanent state.

It is exaggerating the circumstances to say that my son renounced his sins and confessed his sins to me. What young person actually does that to his father? But he has regrets about his past behaviors; he has expressed those.

He needn’t have them though; I loved him all through his life, the good days and the bad.

Just like my Father loves me.

Just as my Father loves me, the Holy Spirit loves me.

He never left me, no matter what I did…

 

*defined as “to speak irreverently about God or sacred things”
**from his book The Holy Spirit

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