“You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” Lk 9:55 NKJV

One day Jesus went into a Samaritan village and was not well received. So the disciples said, “’Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them’” (vv. 54-56 NKJV).

What’s at work in this story? A judgmental spirit. A poll taken by the Barna Research Group reveals that today most nonbelievers view Christians as too judgmental. So you can be sincere, but too severe. When you mix and mingle only with those who share your views and values, you can communicate with others in ways that attack, rather than attract. Let’s be clear; never has it been more important to know the truth of God’s Word and stand for it. But if you have the right doctrine and the wrong spirit, you’ll drive more people away from Christ than you’ll draw to Him. If Satan has his way, he will drive holiness out of our hearts and into our fists. Imagine—Christ’s disciples wanting to incinerate those who didn’t agree with them! They weren’t even aware of the spirit that was at work within their own hearts. “Jesus said…‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 19:19 NKJV). That includes your non-Christian neighbor. You don’t have to defend Jesus, or “sell” Him. All you have to do is introduce Him. The Psalmist says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8 NKJV).