Many years ago, while exploring in the dark recesses of our attic, I saw a treasure. Someone had left a violin among the piles of old saved things. I knew this was a rare find, and that someday when I was older I would recover it and make beautiful music. Years went by before I retrieved the old violin, but after some string work I was ready to make music beyond my wildest dreams. Then, much to my surprise, I found that I needed something else I did not have.
What I needed was a gift for music. Yes, the violin let me squeak out a few tunes. But although I had learned to play a trombone for a few years in the school orchestra, I realized that my performance was purely mechanical. Faced with that violin, I had to admit—I did not have the gift of truly understanding music.
In many ways, people’s lives are like my experience with that violin. They spend their lives in mechanical ways, marching about like ants, unless their activity is inspired by a particular gift.
Of all such gifts, none is more precious than the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God gives human beings a special perspective that spurs them to behave in ways different from those around them whose lives are moved solely by human nature.
Scripture tells us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Many non-Christians will respond, “But I already have those attributes! What’s so special about this ‘Spirit’?” It is important to understand that the fruit of the Spirit is not just the mechanical achievement of those wonderful qualities. It is not emotion or feeling. It is an inward peace, which passes all human understanding (Philippians 4:7), from which those qualities then flow.
That peace is itself a gift. On the first Day of Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection, the Apostles were preaching in Jerusalem. “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38). God gives this gift after we repent. Repentance is more than “being sorry.” The sorrow of the world is sorrow at having been caught, but true repentance involves a change, a turning from the old behavior in order to go God’s way.
As we learn God’s way, through Bible study, prayer, meditation and occasional fasting, we learn to make the needed adjustments in our lives. We are no longer mechanically going to and fro. Just as I adjusted my violin, Christians will adjust their lives to produce the beautiful conduct of which we are capable through the Holy Spirit. As the poet said, “only God can make a tree.” Only God can give us this gift that sets us apart.
We also learn that “there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:4). It is not that everyone receives the very same abilities. Some may be able to speak powerfully, and others able to teach. God may use some particular individuals powerfully when He heals, others may have particular wisdom, and so on. The ability to respond to others’ needs with loving concern is also a gift. When these gifts are used in love and humility, they are beautiful.
Not long ago, I was at a high school music recital. I heard a young man playing a violin solo that brought many in the audience to tears. This individual had received and then nurtured a special gift that set him apart as a treasure to his listeners. We, too, can become beautiful treasures when God calls us and we respond, obeying Him and putting Him first. To learn more about what God has planned for us, read our powerful booklet, Your Ultimate Destiny, or watch our telecast, “Your Incredible Future.”