Chuck Swindoll in his excellent book, Flying Closer to the Flame, writes, “What fuel is to a car, the Holy Spirit is to a believer. He energizes us to stay the course. He motivates us in spite of the obstacles. He keeps us going when the road gets rough. It is the Spirit who comforts us in our distress, who calms us in our times of calamity, who becomes our companion in loneliness and grief, who spurs out intuition into action, who fills our minds with discernment when we are uneasy about a certain decision. In short he is our spiritual fuel. When we attempt to operate without him or to use some substitute fuel all systems grind to a halt.”
Until the 1960’s and early 1970’s the Holy Spirit was the forgotten member of the Trinity. Mainline churches rarely mentioned this doctrine and few of its members had any knowledge or understanding of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Tragically his ministry has been unknown or ignored and his power rarely used. Along with the current interest in the Holy Spirit a great deal of confusion, ignorance, error and fear has arisen.
The Holy Spirit is a divine person and not a thing, object, or it. He is the third person of the Trinity, as much a person as God the Father and God the Son. He is not an inanimate or impersonal “it” or “force.” Sadly many people settle for two-thirds of God – God the Father and the Son while completely ignoring the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit possesses all the attributes of personality, intellect, emotions, and will. The Holy Spirit is a person but he is more than an ordinary person, he is a divine person – a divine companion. When Jesus Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit he left no room for the idea that he was merely a force or an impersonal influence.
The Holy Spirit makes God real to us. Michael Green writes, “The Holy Spirit universalizes the presence of Jesus in the hearts of his followers.” Prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was limited by time and space. But before the Ascension he promised to send the Holy Spirit, “But I will go and send the Holy Spirit to you.” Tragically today, many people think of themselves as devout Christians but have no real sense of the actually presence of the divine companionship. For too many people the Holy Spirit is far away. Many years ago an Artic explorer from Norway started an expedition to the North Pole. Two years went by in this lonely north land until one day he wrote a message and tied it to a carrier pigeon. The pigeon began the two thousand mile trip to Norway. When the bird arrived at the explorer’s home, his wife knew all was well with her husband.” Likewise the coming of the Holy Spirit, the heavenly dove, proved to the disciples that Jesus Christ has entered the heavenly sanctuary.
I believe that each one of us needs our own personal experience with the Holy Spirit – a deeper experience with God. That is exactly what our church needs at this moment and all churches need – a fresh new encounter with the living Christ. A release of his power that can transform and bring joy and change lives, and give strength and power for witnessing and for making a difference in the world. May the Lord do it again in our church is my simple prayer.
See you Sunday in church!