I had an epiphany a couple of weeks ago and it’s been rocking my world!
For some reason, I do some of my best thinking while driving and showering. Does that sound familiar? My mind was ticking along something like this…
What happened to the Holy Spirit in Evangelical Christianity? He definitely gets less than His fair share of attention. Theologically, the Holy Spirit is an equal member of the Trinity, but unless you attend a Charismatic or Pentecostal church, He is pretty much ignored.
Sure, we tell people that they will receive the Holy Spirit when they trust in Jesus to be their Savior. We might mention that He is called the Comforter or Helper (John 14:15-26) or that He is the guarantee of our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). But, most of us don’t talk about Him much, and we don’t usually pray to Him. Is it because we don’t know what to do with the Holy Spirit? Maybe we’re afraid of Him or unsure about Him; so, we just ignore Him. We talk about “God” and “Jesus” and leave it at that.
I sat there thinking, wishing I knew more about the Holy Spirit, feeling like I was missing something, when it hit me. According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit is the One I know the best!
What? And that’s when my mind started getting blown! I love it when God does this!
The Bible tells us that God the Father is in Heaven; Jesus is in Heaven sitting at God’s right hand; but the Holy Spirit… The Holy Spirit is the One here with me!!
It’s hard to explain the emotion that exploded in my heart. It was as if I’d grown up knowing I had a missing sibling and then suddenly found out that they had been my best friend for the past ten years. If that makes any sense…
It was an “Oh, it’s You!!!” moment.
I called Him “Jesus”, but it was actually the Holy Spirit who became real to me when I was 15 years old, helped me to see the lies in Bill Gothard’s teachings, and started my questioning and rebelling against the cultic teachings of my church. The Holy Spirit is the one who brought me to Pine Ridge Bible Camp and showed me grace, freedom, and love. I’ve gotten to know Him over the years, felt His Presence over and over, talked with Him, and laughed with Him. He explains the Bible to me, and reminds me of verses I need to hear. He is the one who gives me the strength that I pray for, He gave me peace through my miscarriages, and helped me to trust when I didn’t think I could. He gives me the ability to forgive my husband and have patience with my children. I call Him “Jesus” but He is really the missing member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit! And just writing those words makes me smile. 🙂
You might be thinking that it doesn’t matter who we pray to or who we call God because they are all the same. Two weeks ago I might have agreed with you.
I don’t think it matters to God, but it matters to us. My life has been rocked by realizing that the Holy Spirit is with me. Praying to Him seemed almost “wrong” at first (which is silly because I say that I believe He is God, just like the Father and Jesus) but now I love it! It makes the literal part of my brain connect somehow with the spiritual part. Maybe it’s because I know that God and Jesus aren’t actually with me, even though I believe they can hear me…But the Holy Spirit, He is literally right here, actually with me, and when I recognize that and talk to Him…it just does something to my heart and my faith!
All of this brings up a question: Why ignore the Holy Spirit?
Why do so many Evangelical churches, especially the conservative ones, ignore this amazing member of the Trinity? Is it because the Spirit isn’t easily understandable? Explainable? Boxable? We can put God in a box, Jesus goes in a box, but how in the world do you box the Spirit?
Bill Gothard, briefly mentioned the Holy Spirit in his teachings as the One who convicts us of sin; he then focused on God and Jesus as the giver of steps, laws, and blessings (if you followed all the rules). Completely screwing up the image of the Father and the Son, he largely ignored the Spirit. Why? Maybe because some of the Spirit’s jobs are to give us wisdom, discernment, and help, and Gothard was afraid of the Spirit exposing him for the fraud he was. Maybe because he didn’t understand (or want to understand) the Spirit. Is this the same reason so many super fundamental churches ignore the Spirit? They are afraid of Him… They don’t want Him exposing their lies…
Who is benefiting from our ignorance? Not us!! You know what? This whole thing smells like a giant, sneaky lie from the Enemy!
Too many Christians are fixated on “improving themselves”, following lists of standards and rules, making sure that they are “fully surrendered”, attempting to make Jesus the “Lord of their life”, and zealously trying to be a disciple. All the while, they are completely ignoring the fact that the very God of the Universe in all of His power and ability is living with and in them. They are trying to accomplish God-sized feats with mere human strength. What would happen if we actually believed in the Holy Spirit, that He is God, that He is always with us, and that one of His jobs is to be our Helper as we live our life on earth? What if we are missing something amazing?
I think there is more to this than we realize…and I am going to keep thinking, pondering, and believing! I want everything that being a child of God gives me. I want to find out what it means to have the Holy Spirit in all of His power and fullness!
How about you? What do you think of the Spirit? Do you think of Him? What does the Holy Spirit mean to you? What could He mean? I’d love to hear your thoughts!