Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Unseen but active

I meant to write a blog on Thursday or Friday, but a stomach bug changed my plans dramatically. I'm still a little groggy and light-headed, but some might think that was normal. At our monthly ministers meeting on Thursday morning (pre-bug), we had a presentation and discussion about the work of the Holy Spirit in evangelism. It's a heavy subject for any group to talk about, but put a bunch of preachers together and you get all kinds of ideas - mostly good. Personally, I think the Holy Spirit is active in helping people find Jesus, but only if that person is first seeking Jesus. That help is not some kind of miraculous sign or whispers in the dark, but providing opportunities to hear and learn about God's will. For those seeking to share the gospel, I also believe the Holy Spirit is active, as God's agent to carry out His will, in giving us opportunities to talk to others. The key is our being sensitive enough to see the opportunity when the Holy Spirit gives it to us.
One of the guys in our group asked a question as we were finishing up that we didn't have a chance to discuss. He asked why the Holy Spirit has always been such a controversial subject in the church of Christ? I have always believed that there are two reasons for that. First, is the simple fact that our heritage is based on a rational approach to interpreting and understanding scripture, and trying to fit the work of the Holy Spirit into a rationally explainable category is impossible. There is a reason why God didn't give us all the facts and information about how the Holy Spirit works, but we still seek to package it into a logical - and usually limiting - comfortable doctrine. The other reason it has always been a controversial subject for us is our fear of emotionalism, which is just another way of looking at the first reason. We have always had a fear of Pentecostalism that, like many doctrines, causes us to go to the other extreme and, in my opinion, "quench the Holy Spirit".
One of the things that my study of Galatians has taught me, is that the Holy Spirit will only work in us to the extent that we allow the fruit of the Spirit to be a natural part of our life. The more we exemplify the fruit of the Spirit, the more we are freeing the Spirit to work in us. It's not frightening, illogical, or out of control. It's simply the same thing as "For me to live is Christ." They're not interested in who gets the attention!

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