I have noticed that many people get a little uncomfortable when you talk about the Holy Spirit, and part of me associates this with so many not truly investing in His power and guidance. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 NIV).
I don’t believe you can be a Christian while quenching the Spirit of God – while ignoring your conscience, while pretending as though God can’t actively speak to you. It’s like saying you want some ice without the part where it is made of water. And while many people embellish and focus solely on the works of the Spirit, I believe there is a whole different side that could be seen as not giving enough credit and validity to Him.
I can’t imagine my life without God the Father, Jesus the Son, AND the Holy Spirit. They all come in one package. You don’t get to pick and choose based on your preference. It’s all or nothing. Even though this may seem pretty obvious, many people very rarely discuss the Holy Spirit’s movement and activeness in their lives. It’s almost as if people don’t want to believe in something they can’t actually control. Instead we want to focus on subjects that are more comfortable to discuss. Many people would claim that this outlook is unbiblical as well. When we only discuss the works of man and ignore the unexplainable, we are telling God we don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So which is it? Who is right? Do I allow the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and give sight to the blind? Or, do I view the Holy Spirit as the guiding light of Jesus, and see Him as one who doesn’t work the way He used to?
Truthfully, I believe it’s both?
The idea that the Holy Spirit can only work in one unique way smothers any claim of Him being part of the all-powerful God, the Trinity. If the Spirit is truly the working hand of Jesus, the Spirit can do what He pleases in each and every individual and situation. Some may pray in tongues and some may keep their mouths shut. Some may worship through song and dance, while others may worship through quiet and tranquility. Some may teach verse by verse, while others may teach topically and thematically. The truth is that we are all different people who have been called by God to live different and unique lives.
The Holy Spirit can work in many different ways. Just because the Holy Spirit is working in your life differently than He is another’s doesn’t mean that the other individual is wrong or outside the will of God. We’re all unique, have different sets of fingerprints, and have different callings from God, so of course the Spirit is going to work differently in each of us.
R.A. Torrey in his book “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit” said, “A true Christian life is a personally conducted life, conducted at every turn by a Divine Person. It is the believer’s privilege to be absolutely set free from all care and worry and anxiety as to the decisions which he must make at any turn of life. A true Christian life is not one governed by a long set of rules without us, but led by a living and ever-present Person within us.”
We can see that, in Torrey’s estimation, the Holy Spirit is actively conducting the lifestyle of each and every believer. The Holy Spirit is said to undertake the responsibility of guiding great decisions for us, relieving us of having to completely govern our own lives. I love Torrey’s words here because they ascribe to the Holy Spirit complete and utter control of our lives as Christians, rather than leaving them all up to the control of our feeble words and decisions. Sure, the power of the Holy Spirit can be encouraged through the words of our faith, but it is not us who have complete control – it’s Someone much bigger.
More next time…