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What’s next? > Get in step with the Spirit

August 1, 2011

So uncle Mike tells those of us interested in seeing people’s lives and neighborhoods transformed to “Take the Holy Spirit seriously.”

So we start with a little theology and reason but we need to quickly move toward personal experience with the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is a person not a lab rat that can be dissected. As a person the Holy Spirit has a will and emotions, desires and intent. So I propose for myself and recommend to you that we move back and forth between the poles of theology and experience and reason in a quest to understand and experience the Holy Spirit in ever deeper ways. The Holy spirit is not Someone to know about but to know… and to know increasingly better. And that is our first point of theology and the beginning of our experience: The Holy Spirit is a person. A He or She and not an It. A personal, sentient being and not just an impersonal force.
And this really matters! If we go wrong here we go completely off track. If we believe the Holy Spirit is something less than a divine person we then treat him in impersonal ways. We can be tempted to do all kinds of weird things to get the “effect” or wield the power when in reality the Holy Spirit shows up and responds like every other being. He takes requests. He likes to be included and asked not cajoled.

There are so many varied metaphors and pictures of the Holy Spirit in scripture. Wind. Fire. A dove. There is something mysterious going on. It’s like there’s this person, this invisible, spiritual Being with unlimited power yet gentle as a descending dove. In one moment he is fire descending and at another moment easily quenched and grieved by mere humans. He is powerful yet tender, strong yet kind.

My favorite picture of the Holy Spirit though has to be at creation. The story of the bible opens in Genesis 1 with the Holy Spirit “hovering over the chaos.” Brooding like a mother hen over her chicks. Bringing order from a mess. Laying like fog over a barren landscape and calling forth life. I love that the Holy Spirit is not intimidated by a mess but also not content to leave it that way! My life has lots of little (and a couple big) messes that need the Spirit’s ordering. Ditto for my neighborhood!

+++ Come Holy Spirit and brood over the chaos in my life and in my neighborhood. Call forth life where there is death, and order where there is chaos. And please give me eyes to see what you’re doing so I can work with you and celebrate your activity. Amen. +++

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Gross permalink
    August 1, 2011 10:19 am

    “order where there is chaos”….speaks right into my most broken places. Thanks for this today, friend!

  2. August 1, 2011 12:22 pm

    I thought the Holy Spirit is God. The first vestige of Him making a people for Himself and dwelling among us. The gift of the Holy Spirit, as with Christ, is the gift of God Himself. To “take the Holy Spirit seriously” is to take God seriously. To take God seriously is to take the Holy Spirit seriously.

    • August 1, 2011 12:45 pm

      Agreed Bob! The Holy Spirit is God. I was highlighting the personhood of the Holy Spirit didn’t mean to leave that out necessarily but can only do so much with one post… The Holy Spirit is God. However, I think its possible for some people to take God seriously but not take the Holy Spirit seriously… meaning, there are people who would be “theists” who do not necessarily believe in (trust) the Holy Spirit… others who may believe in the Spirit (cognitively) may not have an ongoing, relational experience of the Holy Spirit as described in my post…. Just trying to work this stuff out and please know that I deeply appreciate your feedback!

      • August 1, 2011 3:58 pm

        I understand. There are a lot of misconceptions about the role of/relationship to the Holy Spirit and I think you’re right on by highlighting His personhood. Much of it is that people seem to desire the manifestations(frequently called spiritual “gifts” like healing, speaking in tongues, intercession, prophesy, wisdom, discernment, etc.) or the fruits (peace, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, joy, etc.). Worse yet, we pin our identities to these (“I have the gift of evangelism so I’ll be our evangelist”) and use them as our metrics (“I am becoming a more kind and gentle person…I must be living in the Spirit.”)

        But in these we are ultimately avoiding a relationship with our Creator and preferring (albeit as good as these things are) His creation. As you said, a relationship with a person is much more difficult because then we have to actually ascribe power, thoughts, actions to that person and look with expectation of his existence. It takes us out of the position of control that we so desire. The Holy Spirit, as the “active agent” of God’s will, is the most “dangerous” to that desire. “Just give me the gift/manifestation and I’ll use it to your glory…I promise.”

        To me, the scariest thing is that this person of the Holy Spirit has a reputation of restoring order from chaos by killing things…and then raising them to new life.

  3. August 1, 2011 2:59 pm

    “bringing order from a mess”. amen, let it be so. Thanks, bro.

  4. Sylvia Askey permalink
    August 8, 2011 3:38 pm

    AMEN!!!

  5. Colby permalink
    April 20, 2013 1:48 pm

    +++Thank you Holy Spirit for being the restorer of chaos. Thank you for the restorative work you have done and are doing in my life every day. Thank you that you abide in me, that I am your temple. Thank you that you are my helper, you are the Helper. Give me eyes to see your restorative work in my family. As I wash dishes and pick up toys and do laundry and form a meal, not only do you help me, but you are ministering. As I physically restore order to my home, it is your ministry moving for my family. Calling forth life. It is You, hovering over my deep. +++

    Here’s another thought: wherever there is order being restored to chaos…the Holy Spirit is moving just by the very nature of order being restored. So people are being ministered to. In the clean up of West, and in Boston. If the Holy Spirit points to the Son, I pray that many would come to know Jesus through these disasters. Every disaster. I pray, Lord, that you would call forth life.

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