We walk by faith and not by sight
2 Corinthians 5:7

Today’s Gospel records Jesus’ appearance to the disciples who were behind locked doors as they feared the Jews. Jesus appears to them in their state of anxiety and bestows his peace: “Peace be with you.” He says to them a second time: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

The giving of peace was followed by the giving of the Holy Spirit. “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  The Holy Spirit came to the disciples to release them from their fear and to break down the locked doors that held them captives. The Spirit moved them out into the world and empowered them to be Christ’s witnesses. They are sent by the Spirit into an unknown world with the good news of the kingdom. The gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us into all truth teaches that we walk by faith and not by sight.

Today’s Gospel reading is not meant to confirm Christ’s resurrection; it is a story of empowerment, how God empowers us for life and witness in the world. It is a story of movement, God moving us from a state of fear to a state of confidence.

People whose lives are guided by God the Holy Spirit do not live in fear. We go through life with the confidence that the Holy Spirit is leading us all the time.  People whose lives are guided by the Holy Spirit walk by faith and not by sight.  To live in the Holy Spirit is to live in the confidence of the present and the future. To walk by faith and not by sight is to believe that all will be well today and tomorrow. The Holy Spirit makes this promise.

The presence of God the Holy Spirit in our lives is what motivates us to trust God at all times. It is the Holy Spirit that makes it possible to trust God and take him at his word. Unnecessary worries and doubts are not associated with belief in God the Holy Spirit. If we truly believe that God the Holy Spirit is a source of peace, comfort and guidance, we will be courageous and bold in our approach to life.

God the Holy Spirit strengthens us and makes it possible for us to live out the Christian life in a world of contradictions, complexities and perplexities. Because we are people of the Spirit we do not live behind closed doors of fear.

After the Pentecost experience the early Christians went about their mission with a passion. They were not daunted by the mountains of opposition to the Gospel; they were resolute in their task because of the presence of God the Holy Spirit in their lives. When put to the test they replied ‘we must obey God and not man.”

The primary work of God the Holy Spirit is to lead and guide us. Once we are conscious of this and firmly believe it we have nothing to fear in this life.  We can climb any mountain and cross any valley. We can walk any distance and run any race. It is to say with St. Paul “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

To be in the Spirit therefore is to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. To be in the Spirit must not be confused with emotional feelings which can change from time to time depending on the environment in which a person finds himself or herself. If the Holy Spirit ever becomes synonymous with our emotional feelings we worship a god made in our image. So very often when people speak about the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives it comes across as though are shaping God rather than being shaped by God. They seek to command God rather than allowing God to command them.
Let me share with you what I believe being in the Spirit means. First and foremost it means to take God at his word and to trust him at all times. In this regard people of the Spirit are prepared to take risks and to embark on what might seem a mission impossible.  Over cautious people are not people of the Spirit. Whenever we become too cautious in our approach to life and refuse to launch out into the deep we deny the power of the Spirit to guide us and lead us.  People of the Spirit do not run away from challenges, they stand firm and are resolute because we know that God is with us in every challenge. People of the Spirit never become weak when confronted with adversity or any trial; we know that in our weakness God will give strength.  People of the Spirit are not afraid to swim in the seas of life, we know that we might get into difficulties when we are in the ocean, but we know that we will not drown, the lifeguard will throw out the life line and rescue us.

To be in the Spirit means to witness to the truth and for the truth. It means to be people of integrity and to live by the kingdom values that identify us as disciples. People of the Spirit endeavour at all times to fashion and build their lives around Christian principles as are enunciated in the scriptures. To live in the Spirit means to be truthful at all times, we do not compromise our Christian principles. The truth means more than telling a lie.  It means to be responsible in our actions, to be honest and true in all that we do, to set a good example and lead by example, to give of our best at all times, not to deceive, the truth means to be true to God, true our neighbours and true to ourselves. When we walk by faith and not by sight we become people of integrity and live integrated lives.

When we are in the Spirit and are people of the Spirit who walk faith and not by sight we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. 

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