In Scripture and in life the Spirit comes to either empower us to do good, or it comes to make us interiorly more spiritual.

Thursday, 1/10/13

In the Gospel Jesus read the passage from Isaiah 61 that prophesied how God’s Spirit would descend on the Messiah to equip him to heal, to bring truth and freedom to the needy. In cases such as that we can say it is the “Empowering Spirit” descending on the chosen one.

It is interesting to compare this with Chapter 11 of Isaiah where God’s Spirit descends on the Messiah, not to accomplish things for the needy, but to make him interiorly complete through  endowing him with Wisdom and Understanding. In cases like that we can say it is the “Life-giving Spirit” who comes down.

The Bible’s nearly four hundred references to the spirit are roughly divided between those referring to the empowering spirit, and those referring to the life-giving spirit. 

We saw the empowering spirit come on Saul, sending him to war against the Amonites. We saw the empowering Spirit come on the Apostles, giving them the gift of tongues. We see the life-giving Spirit descend on those who abandon evil. That was the case in Roman’s 8:11 where Paul said, “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.”

The difference between the empowering and the life-giving spirit could remind a scholar of   difference that Aristotle commented on. He had composed a manual for writing poetry, and another manual for successful rhetorical writing. When he was asked why he had not combined them into one manual, he said that their targets were totally opposed. While Rhetoric is targeted at gaining profit from others, poetry is targeted at quieting the inner man. It is like that among Charismatic’s. Some receive the empowering spirit to prophesy and heal others, while others receive the life-giving spirit to become inwardly blessed.   

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