Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Holy Spirit

I've recently finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan. Forgotten God is a book written to remind us of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. I was convicted that I had been naive of God's Spirit. I focused mostly on God the Father and Jesus the Son, but forgot about the Spirit of God. As I've been reading many passages in the New Testament, I've come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is the greatest gift that has ever been given to us. Some people may feel like they need to correct that statement by saying, "No, the love Jesus showed us on the cross was the greatest gift." Allow me to prove myself through two questions. Why is the cross the greatest gift ever? Because Jesus died not just to forgive our sins, but to enable us to have an deep, intimate, and personal relationship with our Creator, the God of the whole universe. Why is the Holy Spirit the greatest gift? Because the Spirit is the "deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" (Ephesians 2:14). In other words, the Spirit is the connection between us and God. The Holy Spirit is the vehicle in which we can draw closer to God, grow in wisdom and understanding, forgive those who have wronged us, forgive ourselves, end bad relationships, repair broken relationships, love the annoying, end addictions, start revolutions, and build His church.

Genesis 1:1-2, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

Acts 2:1-4,, "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them...Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine. Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."

Ephesians 2:22, "And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."

Galatians 5:16, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

Galatians 5:5, "But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us."

Galatians 4:6, "And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, 'Abba, Father.'"

John 16:7, "(Jesus said) But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."

These are just a few of dozens of verses in Scripture referencing the Spirit. What caught my attention is that until now, I subconsciously substituted "God's" or "Jesus' love" where the Spirit was instead indicated. For example, in Galatians 5:5, I read it as "God has sent his power to his servants." But thankfully, God enabled me to see the vast mistake I was making by ignoring the power of the Holy Spirit. I now see that what the church needs is not entertaining speakers, great praise bands, or millions of dollars. The ONLY thing the church truly needs is the Holy Spirit. Think about it. What if the people of God's church became so empowered by His Spirit that we'll learn to shun sin, or speak with tongues of fire, or prophesy, or see visions, and dream dreams? What if the Spirit of God hovered over the church just like He did over the waters in Genesis 1:2?

Scroll up and read John 16:7 again. What does it say? Jesus literally said, "It is for your good that I am going away." Can you even begin to imagine what the disciples thought of this? It is to our benefit that Jesus Christ- a.k.a. the Messiah, the Lamb of God, the Shepherd, the Maker of the stars, Creator of the heavens, Salvation of Zion, etc- would leave! But then he says why: "Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you." Do you see it? It's better to have the Spirit of Jesus than Jesus in the flesh! I don't know about you, but I enjoy seeing my friends in the flesh. I like to walk with them, talk with them, interact with them. But think about it! It's much better to have the Spirit inside of us than Jesus in the flesh outside of us! With the Spirit living inside us, we have more power than has ever been possible. The God of the Universe resides in us! How cool is that! With the Spirit, we also have more help. "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26). I'm not sure how it's possible that God's Spirit resides in us. It's a mind boggling idea that I can't understand. But that's why God is so cool. I have to decide whether or not I'm okay following a God that I can't connect all the dots with. When I look throughout Scripture and see the joy and happiness promised in heaven and even on earth, I see no other option to choose than to fully love God.

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