The Missing Member of the Trinity

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I had an epiphany a while ago and it’s been rocking my world!

I was driving alone in my car the other day pondering:

  • 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, and we definitely don’t 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…

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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 my Christian summer camp and showed me grace, freedom, and love. I’ve gotten to know Him over the years. I’ve felt His Presence. We’ve talked and laughed together. He explains the Bible to me and reminds me of verses I need to hear. He is the one who gives me strength. 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’ve called 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. While I don’t think it matters to God, I do think 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 here, even though I believe they can hear me. But the Holy Spirit, He is literally right here 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 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 kind of goes in a box, but how in the world do you box the Spirit? He is untamed, wild and free. And I love that.

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? It’s kind of scary if I’m honest. It makes life seem a little less my own, which is probably the point.

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But despite the fear and against the independence of my rebellious heart I have to wonder… What if we are missing out on 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!

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If There is No Magic Formula, Then What? (Pt 2)

Yesterday we talked about ways we try to manipulate God, twist His arm, and push the right buttons on His “heavenly vending machine” to get what we want. While most of us would never come out and say it this bluntly, the formulaic way we treat God speaks for itself. We believe lies that there are specific spiritual steps we can follow to achieve a desired outcome. We try to claim Bible verses (out of context) and say they promise things like physical healing. And when none of these things work, we blame ourselves or others for a “lack of faith” as though there is a certain amount of faith that is guaranteed to make God do anything.

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Perhaps we create formulas because we are trying to grasp for a feeling of control in a shaky, frightening, and often heartbreaking world, trying to make sense of things we don’t understand.

 

 

 

Even though we believed, prayed, and did everything we could…

  • The cancer still won
  • Our marriage still fell apart
  • We still miscarried
  • I’m still single
  • My husband is still looking at porn
  • Our child still died
  • I still lost my job
  • We still didn’t get pregnant
  • We still went bankrupt
  • They still don’t love Jesus
  • The world is still a mess

How do we reconcile a supposedly good, all-powerful God and the “good” things that He fails to accomplish? Believe me, I’ve been wrestling with this for the past few weeks!

treasure-1238318_1920I think we start by expanding our minds away from the understandable “god in a box” that we have created in our own image. Allow the real God to be bigger, greater, and just more than we can comprehend. Does the Bible say that God is good? Yes! All-powerful? Absolutely! Does He still choose to let bad things happen and take good things away? Yeah, actually the Bible says that too. Check out one of my favorite verses.

“I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” Isaiah 45:6b-7

I found this verse after our second late-term miscarriage. Even though I didn’t know why God choose to take our baby, it was comforting to me to know that He never lost control, it was something He did, and that He was big enough that He didn’t owe me an explanation. Maybe I can’t possibly understand God or make sense of Him, but a God that huge who also promises He is good and loving is something I am okay with.

If there are no secret keys, no hidden formulas, no special chants, no magical ways to get God to do our bidding, then what can we expect? What has God really promised us? The answer might surprise you.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” John 15:20-21

Let’s get this straight, we’ve been promised trouble, temptation, and persecution? That doesn’t sound like a very nice promise! I thought life with Jesus was supposed to be warm fuzzies, roses, and sunsets? You know, easy and peaceful?

You might hear some Christians say that, but it’s not exactly in the Bible.

The Bible very clearly tells us that the world we live in is broken. It happened at the Fall, when sin first came into God’s perfect universe. Creation is broken so we have things like disease and natural disasters. People are broken, so they make choices that hurt not only themselves but also those around them. We will face trouble BUT look at the other promises in those verses.

Jesus wants to give us peace! He encourages us by reminding us that He has overcome this world. He is faithful! He will provide a way out of the temptation. And in chapter 14 of John, Jesus tells his disciples that he will not leave them (or us) alone; he is sending the Helper (the Holy Spirit).

So, life is going to hurt, but I will never be alone? That’s right. And a God who is more, and better, and bigger than I can ever imagine is in complete control even when it doesn’t look like it? Yes. And He wants to walk with me through life, to help and comfort me, because He loves me? Yup! He wants to walk so close with you that He actually lives inside of you. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

I don’t know about you, but rereading that last paragraph brings tears to my eyes. It’s so much better than a vending machine, or a magic formula guaranteed to bring me what I want! HE is a real, living, incredible, loving Being, who wants me;  He wants to be friends with me, and help me. He wants to give me peace and joy, despite the brokenness of this world, not based on anything I do or don’t do, but simply because of His amazing grace!

How about you…are you willing to believe in and trust a God who is way too big for you to twist His arm, who might not always give you what you want, who is impossible to understand, but who is in complete control and will walk with you through each heartache in this broken world?

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