BARNABAS was renowned for being full of faith. The letter to the Hebrews 11:1 says of faith: ‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’ The word faith has many synonyms. The original Greek word, pistis, was used in a variety of ways. It meant “belief” as in having been persuaded that something was absolutely right or true. It meant “trust” or “confidence” in someone, who would not let you down. It meant “close relationship” and “intimacy” that grows through experience. Therefore, Barnabas was known as a man of faith for all of these things. He had been brought up as a Levite in the ways of the Jewish faith, but had been absolutely and thoroughly convinced that Jesus was the Messiah or the Son of God. He had a profound and personal relationship with God in Whom he had absolute trust and confidence. He didn’t make decisions and judgments from the basis of his own past experience or tradition; he looked upon people with God’s eyes and perspective. Relationship with God and seeing things from his angle permeated every aspect of Barnabas’ being. You could not separate the religious component of his life from the non-religious. His fullness of faith infected every aspect of his life.

  As men of God, do we have unshakable faith in the God we are serving? Do we trust that our tomorrow maybe better than today? We should not allow circumstances we find ourselves in the ministry today to box us into a corner of unbelief, as if to suggest that God cannot turn things around for good. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. The work of ministry requires men of faith that trust themselves to Him. We have a roll call of people the Bible tagged men of faith (Hebrews 11:8-end). Jesus said if you have faith like a mustard seed, you shall say to the mountain move and it shall be so. Therefore, I say with the writer to the Hebrews, “Consider the outcome of his life (Barnabas) and imitate his faith” (Hebrews 13:7). On the other hand, he was full of the Holy Spirit, which is one of the Trinity and therefore God. Called God in Acts 5:3-4, the Holy Spirit is the person known as the Comforter, or Counsellor. His role is given by Jesus in John 14:26: ‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you’.

  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have people reflect on your life and mind the way the early church did about Barnabas? He was known to be a person full of the Holy Spirit. I wonder how people could tell that. What does it mean to be spirit filled?

  In short, it means to reflect what God is like. People look at a Holy Spirit-filled person and see or sense the presence of God or the attitude and character of the Holy Spirit. Their own personality and preferences have been pushed down in favour of allowing God’s character to shine through. There are some people, who would define spirit-filled in terms of being able to exercise certain gifts of the Holy Spirit. Spirit-filled is equated with the demonstration of spiritual power or ability that manifests in us or through us. Brothers in the Lord, the church of today is in dire need of men in the mould of Barnabas, who could be trusted and sent forth for the work of mission. Such people must be men of credible character and should possess these three intricate elements (reputation, faith and the Holy Spirit).  to the church of God?

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State

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