Signs of the Spirit
It’s interesting to me how music can speak to the heart of a person in a way that normal words often can’t—think about it! How many times have you heard a song that perfectly characterizes the experiences you’re going through? Or that gives you the exact encouragement that you need to hear?
It could be something not so serious, like when the song “Breakeven” by the Script comes on at your school dance moments after your date asks your best friend to dance with her instead of you; or something more serious, like when the worship team at church plays the song “Healer” by Kari Jobe on the Sunday before you hear news about a family member’s possible cancer diagnosis. I’m sure there are hundreds of examples that we could come up with if we pool our life experiences together. But just as the songs that move us when we hear them speak into our hearts, I’ve found that the songs we sing ourselves can testify outwardly to the condition of our hearts. Oddly enough, this is something that the apostle Paul talks briefly about in Ephesians 5.
In chapter 5, Paul is contrasting the lives and actions of those who walk in darkness with those who walk in the light (v. 8)—and at the culmination of this discussion, Paul makes the claim that those who walk in the light are filled with the Spirit. But what does it look like to be filled with the Spirit? How do I know if I’m filled with the Spirit? Paul says this in Ephesians 5:18b-21:
“Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Tim Mackie at the Bible Project points out that Paul gives us four signs of the Spirit here:
Singing together – “addressing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”
Singing alone – “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”
Being thankful – “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Elevating others – “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”
No wonder songs can be so meaningful for us! The way that we sing together and alone is a sign of the Spirit within us—and what’s more, I believe the Spirit uses these things to impact and change us.
So, this morning let me just ask this: do these four signs of the Spirit characterize you? And what steps can you take to walk in the light and be filled with the Spirit today?
At a base level, the Bible teaches that the Spirit is a gift to those who have responded to the good news that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was resurrected on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-5). If you have questions about what that means or haven’t ever responded to this news, that’s your first step! You can reach out to one of our pastors here.
Praying that you are filled with the Spirit!
Middle School Pastor