Barnabas, son of encouragement by Gary Wilkerson

I have a lot of respect for Barnabas, a gentle, loving man whose name meant encouragement. Barnabas had been traveling with Paul evangelizing and planting churches, but a conflict arose. We read in Acts 15:36-41 that Paul and Barnabas stopped working together over a young man named John Mark.

Paul felt that John Mark had hurt their ministry by unexpectedly departing and leaving them short-handed. Barnabas wanted to be kind to John Mark and give him another chance, but Paul said no.

Barnabas was a man of a different spirit. When the whole world was willing to reject somebody who seemed like a failure, he did not react in that way. Barnabas stood up to Paul and said, “I’m not going to reject that young man.” That is boldness — that’s a different spirit!

When Saul was pouring out accusations against the church, imprisoning Christ’s followers and putting them to death, who went to him? And when Saul had an experience from heaven (Acts 9), who went to him? It was Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement. Barnabas had the boldness in his heart and the different spirit inside him to say, “I don’t care if this is a false rumor, it is worth the risk to see if Saul really got saved.”

Barnabas is an example of a man of a different spirit. This spirit has nothing to do with whether you are a Type A personality. You can be a quiet person, mellow and calm, and still have what Barnabas had. And most of all, you can have what Jesus had.

It does not matter if you are young or old, male or female, for God is no respecter of persons. The Holy Spirit is longing to fall upon you. You may be reading this today and inside you are saying, “What are you talking about, having a different spirit? My spirit is a spirit of alcohol or drugs; my spirit is a spirit of desperation. I’m lost!”

You know what? God has His eyes on you. God has ordained that you read this because He is calling on you to rise up and be a person of a different spirit. Not the spirit of this world, not the spirit of sin, not the spirit of alcoholism or drugs, but the spirit of God. The spirit of Christ, the Son of God, can transform your life and make you into a person of a different spirit.



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