Perspectives on the Holy Spirit
This past spring, I embarked on a new experience…in a couple of ways. Through paths that God placed along my way, I was able to meet a great group of women who were not only extreme sources of encouragement but who were also transparent. I believe this was the importance of the experience. I was able to be in the midst of women who desired accountability and were also able to provide it.
For Christmas, I received Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan. I had read his book Crazy Love last summer and fell in love with not only his ability to write in such a candid way, but also the truth of Scripture that he made so very evident. I had started to read Forgotten God during winter break, but once I had to return to work, I got sidetracked and the engagement with the book ended…that is until I received an email announcing a Bible study based on this book I had. There were several thoughts running through my head. I didn’t even know who these women were, but I did recognize that this was a great opportunity to meet people who were followers of God…that I could take time once a week to sit and reflect on the Holy Spirit with other believers. I fell in love with these believers. God did more than teach me about the Holy Spirit – He reminded me of community and the purpose of it.
After the introduction, I wondered about so many things since I was brought up to be a bit apprehensive of the extreme use of the Holy Spirit in some religious communities. (Which, by the way, Chan warns against apprehension as well as abuse)
If I am already acknowledging God’s work in my life, is it necessary to attribute that to the Spirit?
Could Chan just as easily have challenged us to seek God more?
Soon after I started reading, I was reminded that even though we have the Trinity presented in Scripture, there are specific passages that lead us to examine each part of the Trinity separately. There are times that we need to ponder the role of God, Jesus, and the Spirit separately in order to realize the special attributes that each has. So, here is a little of the important truths I was reminded and things I learned through the study.
John 14 – The Father gave the disciples the Holy Spirit to be “another Comforter” just like Christ
John 16 – Christ reminds His disciples that it is better for them that the Spirit would come… but do I truly believe this? Would I rather have Christ in the flesh walking with me? I must trust that God’s plan to leave the Holy Spirit within me is part of my story and my journey in this life.
I must be ready to do any radical thing that the Spirit leads me to do – let go of the fear of the unknown…no matter how uncomfortable
Analogies like the egg or the three-leaf clover can hardly begin to start to explain the nature of the Triune God
The Spirit has emotions and we can grieve Him through our lack of trust in His work in our lives
Through the Spirit we have received a spirit of adoption as children, which leads us into intimacy with the Father instead of relationship based on fear and slavery (Romans 8:15-16)
Sure, I may not intentionally promote my own glory in the successes that I have, but do I PURPOSELY BRING GLORY TO CHRIST, THAT HE WOULD BE MAGNIFIED. Without this, I miss opportunities to share HIM with those I come into contact with
The reality is that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit; and because of this reality, stress and tiredness, and impatience don’t have to define my day
I got to the chapter entitled “Forget About His Will for Your Life!” Of course, that put me in conflict with everything I have ever thought about God’s plan for me. I will let you read the chapter for yourself with this in mind: sometimes, I think about what God’s will is for me in the future, so I fail to live EACH MOMENT in light of HIS plan for that moment. Again, focusing on some FUTURE plan, I often put off MY part in moving forward. Perhaps I feel that I will make a mistake, so I “fret over figuring out God’s will.” We should live in a constant desire to be emptied of self and then filled with the attributes of the Spirit; walking in the Spirit requires “action on (my) part.” I must find that balance – not focusing on all the things He wants me to do, but rather focusing on the kind of person He want me to be.
I pray that I haven’t confused any of the primary concepts that are presented in the book. Forgotten God is not just about the Holy Spirit; it’s about the lives that we are called to live. Willing to take on radical changes….I was able to take a radical step in meeting new believers and in allowing myself to be transparent and accountable.