Have you ever met someone for the first time and instantly connected with them? A common phrase that is often used in such instances is: “We are kindred spirits!” That means you and that other person have similar ways of seeing things, share similar dispositions; you are even passionate about the same things. There is a communion where one would know what the other would say, think or how they would react about specific things.
From a spiritual standpoint, one would say, I have the Spirit of God in me or I share God’s Spirit. In that case, that individual could say they share the characteristics that embody the Spirit of God. Galatians 5:22 outlines the fruits (or characteristics) of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Humanly speaking, someone who possesses these qualifications may say God and they are kindred spirits. However, this could be confused with something else that may be portrayed as God’s Spirit. What may be claimed as God’s Spirit can actually be a religious spirit. The main difference between the two is that the characteristics or fruits listed above are non-negotiable, as far as God’s Spirit is concerned; whereas the religious spirit can easily forego any or several of such characteristics to support personal desires.
The religious spirit can incite someone to want to adamantly express their views, or have things done their way, even if it means stinging a people who is already hurting. To them, they are spreading the “good word”, while they are in fact reinforcing the goal of the world of darkness, which is to “steal, kill and destroy”. With the religious spirit, one may exert a zeal that appear to be divinely motivated; the end result of such zealous acts will determine their true nature.
On the other end, the godly Spirit’s motivation will be to encourage, uplift and thus allowing God’s glory to shine through them. One with God’s Spirit cannot just see and acknowledge suffering only if it affects them directly. When someone is fully led by God’s Spirit, their hearts will hurt for the things that hurt the heart of God. Most importantly, love will always be at the forefront of the perceptions and actions of those who carry God’s Spirit. Their reaction to another’s suffering will not be a generic religious one, but rather a response that is seasoned with love and compassion. What spirit are you carrying?
Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD