In May this year, the Church celebrates “Pentecost Sunday”. It’s the time each year we specifically give thanks for and recognize the work of – the Holy Spirit of God. It’s an area of faith that many of us feel unprepared or unsure how to talk about. But most of us would quickly admit – we desire His Spirit.
“I’m a theologian, who wants to be a believer.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in “Saints and Villains”
We forget sometimes, how simple yet huge it can be, to experience the Spirit of God. We have promises all throughout scripture that God has given us the same Spirit that was given through Jesus Christ, and that when that Spirit comes on us, we will receive power to be witnesses (Acts 1:8). We hear even Jesus himself promise us we will do “even greater things than these” as the Spirit continues the work that has begun long ago. (John 14:12)
But so many times, we get caught up in a sort of “spiritual hunt” for some sort of “authentic spiritual experience” that can somehow prove in a miraculous way so that we can exclaim audibly for others to hear “THERE! There is the Spirit of God doing something!!!!”.
Well, those experiences are neat, and they make great movies and inspirational testimonies to pass on through our families and church families. They’re definitely encouraging. May we never cease being thirsty and expecting such experiences that blow our minds, and redefine the realm of “what can happen” in the name of Jesus.
But we forget verses like 1 Corinthians 12:3 that say to us, “..and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.” What a miracle and Spirit-enabled thing it is for someone to even speak/live with Jesus Christ as their “Lord”. Not money, not systems/hierarchies of this world, not any other power, or voice, or source of influence. Jesus. The Jesus who spoke of a new way of existing. The Jesus who promised and offers a new, true version of life to its’ fullest. The Jesus who calls us to care for others before ourselves. He calls us to live vulnerably, knowing we’ll probably get hurt, and to Love without reserve.
I can tell you I’ve seen the Holy Spirit of God move. It was scary, and it was innocent. It was simple, and it was profound. It was in the action of a 6 year old feeling God call her to give her money away to help adopt her sister from Africa. It’s in the faith of a 3 year old who begins each prayer with “Thanks for ________”, instead of simply asking for it. It was in the midst of a 10 year old marriage, where my wife smiles and tells me she loves me.
Sure, someone can throw the words “Jesus is Lord” out there, without any Spiritual backing.
But for someone to actually say “Jesus is Lord” with their life…THAT is miracle. Spirit-filled, creation-transforming, healing, redemptive life-bringing “Word becoming flesh” type stuff. And I believe I’ve just made myself a bit hungrier for it. You?
Come, Holy Spirit…