Posts Tagged ‘Pentecost’
During the past month, I have been involved with an extended study and meditation over the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and followers of Jesus Christ. I first started writing about these stirrings around May 17th on the blog. This is part four of a multi-part essay sharing an ongoing reflection I continue processing. I do not profess this work as academically complete, so feel free to join in the conversation if you are so inclined. See the entire series of The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit here.
[18JUNE2012] Begin Part Four — Pentecost: The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit
From “The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit” Part Three
As I have said (to my understanding), “Love God and Love People,” is the prerequisite and contingent command for walking in the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, as indicated in my sphere diagram above, “Love God and Love People” is much more than a mental assent and verbal affirmation. While “Love God and Love People” is more than… it most often, is not, perfection; even a quick read through the Acts of the Apostles or the Pauline Epistles will reveal many imperfect people being filled with God’s Holy Spirit. What then is the purpose of this round and round talk? I think basic misunderstanding and poor teaching about the Holy Spirit lays at the root of why so many people are attempting to live the “Jesus Life” are doing so without the indwelling Holy Spirit. I also believe that a second reason, closely related to the first, is selfish rebellion against the commands to “Love God and Love People,” but I will share more on this thought in a follow-up installment to our series.
Part Four — Pentecost: The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit
Selfish rebellion may sound harsh, but I do not mean “clenched fist and teeth” rebellion. More often than not, our rebellion toward God resembles passive aggressive rebellion. What I mean is this; the more conversations I have on this subject with “Christians” the more I hear people confessing they really do not believe we (particularly they) can live as Jesus lived. Most arguments against living as Jesus lived fall under common themes (eg., Jesus was perfect and I am not, Romans 7 argument, “we” can never be perfect, etc.). While there are partial truths within the scopes of these arguments, they still result in false teaching when compared to Jesus’ words and the overall teaching found in the New Testament Scriptures.
If Jesus has called us to follow Him and He promises that He has made a way for each of us to succeed in this call to follow, but we profess that it is impossible to follow Him… we make Him out to be a liar. Jesus is not the liar. If we say we cannot follow Him, we are the liar…and we stand in direct rebellion toward Him as enemies of God. While our fists may not be raised toward Him, we are no less in rebellion against Him than all the demons of hell. Passive rebellion—unbelieving rebellion—no matter the name it goes by, is still rebellion.
The “selfish rebellion” we exhibit against God is because of so many “believers’” failure to understand what it means to be a regenerated disciple of Jesus. A great number of religious people assume their moment of regeneration hinges on a confession or profession of faith alone; however, anyone can say “I believe in Jesus” as James reminds us (James 2:19). Therefore, simply confessing that Jesus is God, does not equal regenerative salvation. Denial of self—dying to self is a prerequisite requirement to becoming regenerated disciples of Jesus Christ (Luke 14:25-33; John 12:24-26; John 3:3-6). Becoming a Disciple: Believing, Obeying, and Following seem to be implied prerequisites for receiving and maintaining the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39; John 8:12; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19-20).
“We who have once for all cloned ourselves in Christ, and been made worthy to have him dwelling within us, may show everyone, if we choose, simply by the strict discipline of our life and without saying a word, the power of him who dwells in us.” John Chrysostom
I am convinced by what I have read, through both the Old and New Testament Scriptures that the Holy Spirit of God upon you or within you is an extraordinary thing. Ordinary men and women, prophets, kings, warriors, and more were motivated and empowered to act in incredible ways…performing astoundingly supernatural acts. The most incredible act of all, to my understanding, is the promise of walking in daily relationship with the Triune Godhead as Jesus modeled for us while he walked amongst humanity. It makes absolutely no sense to me why any true believer would not want to receive this gift and walk with this level of intimacy and relationship with Jesus…with God.
It also seems odd to me when people profess being filled with the Holy Spirit and do not walk surrendered to the Spirit’s leadership. Jesus says that when the Spirit comes and we are filled with the Spirit, He will lead us in all Truth. Being led in and to the Truth assumes (to me) that we are growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, ably reflecting His image to the world in which we live. I know that I am not all that God has destined me to be, yet. I know that I sense His Spirit within me, calling me closer to Himself and transforming me as I surrender to His Spirit within me. I know we have been given the opportunity to be reconciled to God fully through the atonement of Christ Jesus. I know this atonement includes the gift of Holy Spirit baptism which fully empowers every true believer to live the life of Jesus today—in this body—on this side of eternity. For any believer to profess Christ as their Savior and live less than the life He promised, is blasphemous. Make your mind up today to live all for Jesus. Roll up your sleeves and partner with the Holy Spirit. If you are unsure of whether or not you have this infilling gift, or if you are need of renewal and infilling, turn back to God now. Pray to Jesus, confess and repent of your lack of giving your all and divided heart. Ask God to give you purity of heart and to fill-refill you with His Holy Spirit. Receive God’s gift and walk with Him. Words from Oswald Chambers press us and inspire us as follows:
Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest—Get Moving
Download the whole series in a printable pdf file here.
During the past month, I have been involved with an extended study and meditation over the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and followers of Jesus Christ. I first started writing about these stirrings around May 17th on the blog. This begins a multi-part essay sharing an ongoing reflection I continue processing. I don’t profess this work as academically complete, so feel free to join in the conversation if you are so inclined. See Part One of The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit here and see Part Two of the series here.
Pentecost: In-Dwelling Holy Spirit [Part Three]
I left off with the last installment of this series with the question, “What is/are the commandment(s) of Jesus?” The reason, again, that I believe this particular question is so important with regard to receiving and living with the indwelling Holy Spirit is because of Jesus’ words as spoken to His disciples in the Gospel of John (John 14:15-17).
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
Maybe I am making too much of the sentence structure and words used here, but it seems that the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit is contingent upon obedience to Jesus’ commandments. I think this idea is also supported with other teachings from the New Testament. When Peter preached to the crowds on the Day of Pentecost, he told them; “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). While the exact words, “Obey my commandments” are not in Peter’s instructions, “repent” “and turn to God” “and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” strongly infer and rightly assume obedience to Jesus’ commandments. Following these imperative statements seems conditional to receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit, not just a “down payment,” but full-on, over-flowing, in-filling, and indwelling baptism of the Holy Spirit. (“Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”) It is for this reason I believe close attention should be paid to the commandments of Jesus as we are dependent upon the infilling Holy Spirit.
When I consider what the commandments of Jesus are, I imagine them a single commandment comprised of many layers rather than considering them as a list of separate and specific commands. I imagine something like this…
The “sphere” of Jesus’ commandments is to Love God and Love People. I think this is best interpreted through the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and Jesus’ definition of the “Greatest Commandment” (Mark 12:28-31). Likewise, I believe these primary instructions are found embodied in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). While I think the commandments of God truly are as simple as Love God and Love People, I also think these commandments are much deeper than their simplicity may imply.
When I consider the commandments of Jesus, I recall a number of proclamations he made regarding himself. These proclamations shed light and provide substance to his teaching, subsequent instructions, and commandments. The following is a list of Jesus’ “self-identifiers.”
- He is the “Fulfillment” of the Law. Early in his teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaimed that he “came to fulfill the Law.” See Matthew 5:17-20 for full context.
- God the Father sends Jesus… (John 8:42) Jesus’ teaching was not his own, but teaching from God the Father (John 7:16). What he taught was gleaned in the presence of God the Father (John 8:38).
- Claimed unity with God (John 14:10-11; John 17:21), and claimed equality with God (John 14:9).
- Proclaimed that he alone was the Way of Eternal Life (John 14:6). Referred to himself as the gate and the narrow-way supporting his claim from John 14:6 (Matthew 7:13-27; John 10:1-18).
- Professed immutability or an unchanging, always existent nature (John 8:58; Rev. 1:8; Rev. 22:13)…supported also by the writer of Hebrews 13:8.
These aforementioned “self” proclamations of Jesus provide context and authority for all of his teaching. It is because of this context that my understanding of the Bible, from beginning to end, is a connected whole for Jesus’ instructions and commandments. What I mean to say by this is reflected in the image diagram above. Consequently, with this in mind, I do not believe that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit just occurs, nor I do not believe the event takes place just by asking. I think the Holy Spirit baptism comes resultant of, or subsequent to, changes that take place in the heart. I have already presented a case for this earlier (repent, turn to God, be baptized in the Name of Jesus, and receive the Holy Spirit), but evidence for not receiving the Spirit baptism might be agreed to from the account of Simon the Sorcerer and his request for filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:9-24). In any case, I wish to further explain what I believe is meant by “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.”
Love God and Love People IS the commandment Jesus has given to us; however, wrapped in that command is the fulfillment of the Law, the spiritual expression of the Law, and the practical outworking of the Law and Love (agape). Too often, we make pithy and cliché what God has intended for us to deeply express in every way of life…that is to Love God and Love People. When Jesus told the disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34), he wasn’t talking about “fist bumps” and “bro hugs.” He was talking about sacrificing your life for one another (John 15:13; 1 John 3:15; Phil. 2:5-7). Wrapped up inside of Loving God and Loving People are the Ten Commandments, and Jesus’ teaching about Kingdom loving and living as found in the Sermons on the Mount and the Plain…these, I believe, are the “high ideal” for which we strive…every day. How we strive for this kingdom living is explained in practical fashion throughout the apostolic epistles from the New Testament. For instance, Paul rebutts and rebukes Romans 7 living with a Romans 8 counter argument. He teaches us about God-love (agape) in his Letter to Corinthians (chapter 13), and he teaches us about living as “children of Light” in his Ephesians discourse and Spirit Fruit in his Letter to Galatians… these are just a few examples from the Apostle Paul. James teaches about practical outworking of faith to deeds from a heart converted to Jesus Way living in his letter. Peter teaches about selfless, servant love empowered through the divine nature in his letters, and John teaches his readers about divine love embodied by true followers of Jesus. It’s all there for us; deep and abiding instructions for the sojourning member of the divine Body of Christ. We are called to “walk as Jesus walked…” (1 John 2:6) in such a way that we are uniquely distinguished from people who do not follow the Way of Jesus. We can only successfully accomplish this mandate and our mission, if we are empowered and in-filled with the Divine Presence of God’ indwelling Holy Spirit.
As I have said (to my understanding), “Love God and Love People,” is the prerequisite and contingent command for walking in the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, as indicated in my sphere diagram above, “Love God and Love People” is much more than a mental assent and verbal affirmation. While “Love God and Love People” is more than… it most often, is not perfection; even a quick read through the Acts of the Apostles or the Pauline Epistles will reveal many imperfect people being filled with God’s Holy Spirit. What then is the purpose of this round and round talk? I think basic misunderstanding and poor teaching about the Holy Spirit lays at the root of why so many people are attempting to live the “Jesus Life” are doing so without the indwelling Holy Spirit. I also believe that a second reason, closely related to the first, is selfish rebellion against the commands to “Love God and Love People,” but I will share more on this thought in a follow-up installment to our series.
During the past month, I have been involved with an extended study and meditation over the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and followers of Jesus Christ. I first started writing about these stirrings around May 17th on the blog. This begins a two part (at least) essay sharing an ongoing reflection I continue processing. I don’t profess this work as academically complete, so feel free to join in the conversation if you are so inclined. See Part One of The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit here.
Pentecost: In-Dwelling Holy Spirit [Part Two]
These aforementioned first steps (see part one of this essay) of understanding the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit lead me to subsequent thinking…ideas and understanding, which seems implied outworkings from those foundational teachings about the Holy Spirit. We believe the Godhead acts as (and is) one God; this is how unified these Trinitarian Persons are—Three in One. Therefore, it seems to me, with this same Spirit of God, Holy Spirit, living in me… shouldn’t I be drawn to unity with the Godhead by virtue of following the leading of the Holy Spirit in me? Is this not what Jesus’ prayer (John 17:11, 21-23) was about? I believe it is. The resultant line of thinking leads me to believe in the work of progressive and entire sanctification—transformational holiness—which is being conformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ who is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). This is nervous territory of which I speak now. I do not think many of us who profess ourselves believing-followers of Jesus like to consider where these thoughts lead us. I do not wish to belabor a point, but the end result is this: If we surrender to the leading and the authority of the Holy Spirit living in us, we become living, breathing, replications of Jesus—we become free of the sinful nature, our desire is strictly and only to glorify the Godhead and advance the Kingdom purposes of God Almighty. Pettiness, fleshly desire, self-centered gratification and ambition are destroyed with the old self. The new self, the God re-born self, is the new creation that replaces the old self and purposes to live out the remainder of this physical life through the Holy Spirit as a Kingdom citizen. Sadly, it sounds better in theory than it looks in reality. While it would seem the majority of Christians would testify to this experience, the truth is nearly the opposite. It seems the testimony to living a life as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6) is the rare exception, at least most of my conversations and surveys with other Christians have revealed this trend to me. I think the fault is not a failure from God’s Word and promise; I can only believe that most Christians are not living a life as Spirit-filled Jesus-following-believers. The question remains; “Why not?”
As Jesus was the Word made flesh, He sent us, His followers, in like manner saying; “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21). He then breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). If we will only surrender wholly to the transforming work of God through the Holy Spirit in us, we too will be Word made flesh. God desires to make his plea through each of us as new creations, so others might be reconciled to Himself through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
“The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us [nor, I would add today, postmodernism or materialistic consumerism or visceral sensualism or whatever]. All these are dangerous but not the primary threat. The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.” Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People, page 66.
The more I study and search for understanding about the working of the Holy Spirit, the more I find it (the act of Holy Spirit baptism and in-filling) is contingent upon our devotion and obedience to Jesus and his commandments. I consider the teachings of Jesus found in the Gospel of John, chapters thirteen through seventeen particularly important among the Gospel accounts with regard to the function of the Holy Spirit and how believing followers receive the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit. This leads to an important question; “What is/are the commandment(s) of Jesus?” but I will get to that question in a moment. First, I need to qualify and clarify that I do not think receiving the Holy Spirit baptism (infilling-indwelling) is a formulaic experience. I don’t think it is a one, two, three… step process. I believe God can and God will, fill people by His choosing however and whenever He wills. Now, having made this qualifying statement, I still think there are general prerequisite “attitudes of the heart,” if you will, that serve us as a contingent whole when we seek the Holy Spirit baptism. These attitudes follow: a repentant heart and mind turned toward the Way of Jesus; a hunger for and attitude of seeking God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Jeremiah 29:13); a heart’s desire of surrender and obedience to God…something described like the life of Cornelius. “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly (Acts 10:2).” I don’t think these are sequential or specific conditions for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I do think they give a picture for the overall attitude of someone prepared for the infilling of God. Second, I think maintaining this attitude is the open portal to keep the Holy Spirit infilling perpetually flowing and homesteading within us. Perhaps we get an idea that once the Spirit takes up residence in us, it is a done deal. I have not read where Scripture teaches this. If the timeline is correct, we see multiple “fillings and/or refilling” over a span of 40-60 days (counting from the Gospel of John 20:21 through Acts 4:31) indicating the need for continuous filling of God’s Spirit in the life believers. Additionally, we know that we can “grieve” God’s Spirit and that the Spirit can be taken or can depart from us (Eph. 4:30; Psalm 51:11). The final thing I feel needs clarification is when the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs and whether or not it is separate work of regeneration (salvation).
There are as many different views on when the believer is “filled” or baptized with the Holy Spirit as there are denominations and statements of doctrine. This is sad, but it is true. In most cases, there is some understanding and position that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate work from the act of believing salvation or regeneration. The Orthodox Church believes the Holy Spirit is bequeathed sacramentally, through an anointing following baptism. The Roman Catholic Church believes receiving the Holy Spirit is a specific sacramental act conferred through confirmation. Although their specific processes may differ, the Wesleyan Holiness Churches, Pentecostal, and Charismatic Churches also believe that receiving the Holy Spirit (infilling baptism) is a second and separate work from regeneration. The Reformed Church is different from the other positions that it believes the filling of the Holy Spirit comes at the time of regeneration. Personally, my opinion is that while the two events need not be mutually exclusive, in many (perhaps most) cases they are.
Now, clarifications and qualifications aside, I mentioned earlier the more I study and search for understanding about the working of the Holy Spirit, the more I find it (the act of Holy Spirit baptism and in-filling) is contingent upon our devotion and obedience to Jesus and his commandments. So then, “What is/are the commandment(s) of Jesus?” I’ll pick up answering this question with my next installment of The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit.
During the past month, I have been involved with an extended study and meditation over the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and followers of Jesus Christ. I first started writing about these stirrings around May 17th on the blog. This begins a two part (at least) essay sharing an ongoing reflection I continue processing. I don’t profess this work as academically complete, so feel free to join in the conversation if you are so inclined.
Pentecost: In-Dwelling Holy Spirit [Part One]
♦ Acts 4:1—6:7
♦ John 14:15—17:26
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:15-17
I am burdened by thoughts about the functional implications of the “Indwelling Holy Spirit.”
As we began approaching the season of Pentecost, my thoughts, prayers, studies, and writing began to settle upon the ministry and indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. Specifically, I consider this incredible and marvelous gift of God, to us and living in us (assuming this is true), and how it is integrated and lived in our daily experiences. I still haven’t completed the processing of my thoughts, but I’m leaning in a direction of belief that probably isn’t popular with a lot of folks. My experience is restricted to the Church in the West and that in particular to the United States (since that constitutes the majority of my personal experience). What I’ve taken note of is this; our ability to live out the teachings of Jesus seems minimal at best. This may not be all that unusual though, considering it was an issue faced in the early New Testament Church or so it seems…
“And so, brothers and sisters I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather a people of the flesh…as though you belonged to the world or as though you were infants in the Christian life.” (1 Cor. 3:1).
Therefore, it is from this observation that I believe very many people making the profession of Christian faith are not filled with the Holy Spirit at all. This is a problem; however, I believe a bigger problem is that the church seems to have accepted this “lack of spirit-filled life” as normal… or maybe, it is only expected for the “super Christian,” whoever and whatever that may be. The alternative to this thinking may be just as insidious with its results, but more palatable to hear—”The spirit-filled life is an optional path of discipleship.” This alternative, I believe, is a lie of massive proportion for it was Jesus who commanded the disciples not to depart Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5).
Ultimately, the Holy Spirit (God) is the source of all power, understanding, wisdom, and guidance for every person who believes and follows Jesus Christ. I do not think it possible to follow him as a faithful disciple without this indwelling Holy Spirit.
“Even more well-intentioned believers drift and find themselves nearly comatose spiritually, numbed by years of religious activity without transformation.” Bill Hull, Choose the Life
Maybe I sound frustrated. Maybe I sound judgmental and critical; I sincerely hope that is not the case. Maybe my thinking is flawed. I’ll share my logic and let you be the judge. When I consider the Holy Spirit, I think; this is God… The Holy Spirit, according to the Bible and my theological training, is THE Third Person of the Trinity. I understand this Holy Spirit to be the very same Spirit of God introduced to us in the first chapter and second verse of Genesis. I consider this Holy Spirit to be the same Holy Spirit who descended upon Jesus at his baptism (Matthew 3:16). I understand the Holy Spirit that came like tongues of fire and a mighty rushing wind who “filled” the believers on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem is as much God as is God the Father and God the Son, Jesus (Acts 2:1-4). This is my premise: The Holy Spirit that fills and dwells within believer-followers of Jesus is the same Holy Spirit that is God, so God dwells in men.
I don’t think this premise is farfetched. Jesus tells his followers that the Holy Spirit will “live in you” when He comes (John 14:17). Jesus laid out similar “indwelling” theology in his prayer recorded in John 17:22-23 as follows:
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
The Apostle Peter also writes about “sharing the divine nature” in his second letter (see 2 Peter 1:3-11) as does the Apostle-Evangelist John in his first epistle (1 John 2:3—5:21). I also remember that the Apostle Paul writes extensively on the subject and work of the Holy Spirit who indwells follower-believers, especially in the Letter to Romans (chapter eight). Therefore, the first steps in my logic trail proceeds as follows: The Holy Spirit is God and believer-followers have been promised by Jesus that they can be “filled” (meaning to live within you) with the Holy Spirit-God. Jesus also teaches that this “indwelling” Holy Spirit will be a teacher, comforter, discerning Guide, provider of wisdom and knowledge, Bringer of Peace, and Truth leader. I believe Him. I believe Jesus is teaching us faith promises regarding the role of the Holy Spirit who lives in men and women and have no reason to doubt anything He shares about this Holy Spirit.
“For millions of Christians…God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.” A. W. Tozer, A Treasury of Tozer
[28MAY2012] Pentecost: The Day After
Remember, O Lord, what you have wrought in us and not what we deserve; and, as you have called us to your service, make us worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reign with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
“God chose us as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. Then let us stand firm and hold fast to the traditions we were taught.” In goodness and loving kindness, you save us, not because of anything we have done, but in mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit you pour out on us richly, O God, through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Amen.
I continue to meditate upon the gift and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Reading again today from the Book of Acts, these following words stood out to me:
Peter’s words pierced their hearts: and they said to him and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” (Acts 2:37-39)
These words from Peter seem to reinforce some of the thoughts I was sharing from the last couple of posts (here and here) regarding the infilling of the Holy Spirit. While it may be a “no-brainer” to assume repentance and following Christ are prerequisite for being filled with the Person of the Holy Spirit, I think many people in the realm of “contemporary believer world” take this for granted. Conversations that I have shared with people lead me to believe that a great number of folks completely disregard the working of the Holy Spirit entirely (as though it is an optional path of Christian enlightenment). Others disregard or outright reject the ministry and infilling of the Holy Spirit because of various outlandish claims and antics coming from some our extremist charismatic brothers and sisters of the faith. Still, there are others, who profess to embrace and even make claim to being filled with the Holy Spirit, but show little outward evidence to support they are being guided and comforted and counseled by this Spirit of the Living God who lives in them.
Peter’s words are a haunting echo in these perilous and post-modern days we live in. Political correctness, and cultural tolerances have creeped into our churches and into our doctrine… perhaps not in a written or “book of discipline” form, but the ways and means of our societal world has grafted itself to the DNA of our faith communities nonetheless. This isn’t necessarily anything new; it has happened in the life of the church over and over again throughout the days of man…even dating back throughout the history of ancient Israel well before the coming of Jesus and the birth of the Church. What do we do about this? Do we purge and scourge? I don’t think that is the answer; nor do I think adapting exclusivist or legalistic attitudes helpful either. I do think taking Jesus at his word and recognizing the wisdom of the elders of our faith who have walked before us can be helpful. Holiness is the command and demand of our God. If we want this God to inhabit us as individuals and us as a corporate body, it is incumbent that we follow his commands. Peter makes this abundantly clear in his words from the Book of Acts as he speaks words of exhortation to his kinsmen.
Moses said, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you.” Then Moses said, “Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.” (Acts 3:22)
We cannot afford to “pick and choose” the teachings of Jesus we want to follow or model our lives after. We are admonished to “listen carefully to everything he tells you.” If we fail to follow the teaching and lifestyle Jesus instructed us to live, how can we expect to have our communities and our own lives filled with his power and Spirit? The last words of Jesus to his followers was for them not to depart Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Can we afford to be so cavalier about the importance of this instruction to our own Christian experience? I think not.
Veni, creator Spiritus
O come, Creator, Spirit blessed, within our souls be now our guest, And let our hearts become your shrine; Come, fill us with your grace divine.
We call on you as Paraclete, We ask your help as Advocate, Eternal source of life and love, The fiery gift from God above.
O Spirit, power of God’s right hand, Give us your gifts to understand; With grace enrich our tongues and speech, that we your life and love may teach.
O Spirit, guide our darkened mind, Our hearts with love close to you bind; Give strength to our poor weakened will, A love for holy life instill.
Drive off our evil foes we pray, Grant us your grace to guide our way, That we be victors in the strife, By walking in your way of life. Amen.
O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment of all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with the, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
♦ Psalms 104:25-35, 37
♦ John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
“They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak about the marvelous deeds of God. Alleuluia! Father, through your Spirit you have poured into our hearts a marvelous love. Confident that you hear us, we pray: Send your Spirit, Lord, and renew the earth.“
The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides for many discussion points in the church: “What is the role of the Holy Spirit?” “How does one get the Holy Spirit?” “Who wants the Holy Spirit?” “Does a person need the Holy Spirit to be saved?” And, I’m sure there are dozens more discussion points that could be brought up about this mysterious Third Person of the Trinity.
Today was Pentecost Sunday a day also known by its Jewish festival name of Shavuot or The Feast of Weeks as recognized for the remembrance of God’s giving of the Ten Commandments. The day also has specific significance in the cycle of the Christian calendar as it remembers the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the original disciples and other followers of Jesus as written in the Book of Acts (Acts 2:1-31).
I’m certainly no learned expert on the details and workings of the Holy Spirit, but I think the role, personality, and nature of this representative person of the Godhead is very misunderstood, often taken for granted, and all too frequently spoken of with generalities instead of specific truths. This is unfortunate, because the result of this vagueness and ambiguity is miscommunication and misinformation leading to bad doctrine and false teaching about the Godhead.
I was glad that we talked about the role of the Holy Spirit in our church today and I thought our pastor did a commendable job in his teaching; although, I think the time allotment for these types of teaching and sermons is inadequate. While the points shared in the message given in our church today were informative and solidly supported by the Scriptures, there were clarifying details that were missing that could have been helpful in presenting a more mature understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of the individual believer. The same can be said about the working of the Holy Spirit in the corporate setting of the church a community…more clarifying details could have been shared.
The question was posed in our setting today; “Why are many living a Spirit-less life?” This is a good question and has a bit of a prophetic edge to it. The answers given to us were that some people aren’t aware of the Holy Spirit and others resist the Holy Spirit. Both points are valid and scripturally supported, and in both cases, there are people “who believe in Jesus” who are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
Our pastor went on to share several roles or ministries the Holy Spirit works in the life of the person who has received Him in their life. The Holy Spirit comforts, the Holy Spirit counsels, and the Holy Spirit convicts (of sin, righteousness, and judgment). The follow-up (and obvious question) comes next: “Who wouldn’t want this?” It is here (in my opinion) that our slope gets slippery.
As pastors, leaders, and as a priesthood of believers, we want people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his followers they should be filled. He told his disciples it would be better for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit than it would be for him to stay on this earth with them. It is good; then, for us to want every Jesus-following-believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Yes, it is a good thing. So we ask people; “Who wants this Holy Spirit… Who wants a personal Comforter, Counselor, Accountability Guide aka Convictor?” And, people respond… yes. And, we invite people to “say a prayer and ask God to send you his Holy Spirit.” Really? I don’t know if this is right. Something doesn’t sit right with me when we, as a church community, proceed with instruction in this manner.
It seems to me that we become sponsors of unintended “bait and switch” with our captured audiences. We have the tendency to be overly generous with our presentations of the gifts and benefits of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The example I have shared with asking for the filling of the Holy Spirit is a case in point. Once again, let me stress that it is a good thing to want our people filled with the Holy Spirit. I pray every Jesus Following Believer is filled with the Holy Spirit of God, but when we make a strong rhetorical argument for the reasons one should be filled and follow that argument with an invitation to be filled… without full disclosure of the cost and personal responsibility involved with becoming filled with the Spirit of the Living God, I think we are doing a huge disservice to the people we teach and potentially run the risk of dishonoring God and even grieving the Holy Spirit.
While the gift of the Holy Spirit is freely given by God, the cost to us is not free. We must surrender our lives to God in order to be continually filled with His Spirit. If we are not surrendered to Him, I dare say we are not filled…or we will not remain filled. I think that it is significant to note that when the Bible shows Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit it was at the Jordan River as he was baptized by John. The significance here is what baptism symbolized. Baptism is a sign of death, burial, and resurrection…denial and surrender of self. As Jesus surrendered himself to the plan of God the Father and emptied himself (Phil. 2:5-9), so he was filled. This, I believe, is an example to us and for us. Being filled with God’s Holy Spirit just doesn’t happen because we ask for it; God sends his Spirit to those that ask who are willingly surrendering their lives to Him… and this might be another reason “why many are living a Spirit-less life.”
O Heavenly King, the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, who are present everywhere, filling all things, Treasury of Good and Giver of Life, come and dwell in us, cleanse us of every stain, and save our souls, O good One. Amen.
♦ Psalms 33
♦ Exodus 19: 3-8, 16-20
What is present to me is what has a hold on my becoming. I reflect on the presence of God always there in love, amidst the many things that have a hold on me. I pause and pray that I may let God affect my becoming I this precise moment.
(From Sacred Space, the prayerbook of the Irish Jesuits)
“He lives with you now and later will be in you…” (John 14:17)
Paraclete: (Greek) consoler, helper, protector, intercessor, or defense lawer—paráklētos: called to one’s side.
According to the narrative account from Luke and Acts, today would mark nine days that the disciples and upwards of another one hundred people had been waiting for the out-pouring and impartation of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised. Jesus had told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait until they were baptized in fire of the Holy Spirit.
He did not tell them how long to wait or how long they would be waiting. He simply to told them to go, wait, and do not leave until… so they were waiting. Without knowing. Trusting. Obeying. Believing.
How far we have deviated from the instructions of Jesus.
Father, you not only give life and uphold us by your power, but through your Holy Spirit you marvelously renew us. We turn to you and pray: Send your Spirit, LORD, and renew the earth!
As people of God, Christ followers, we are called to be filled with power—Holy Spirit power—that alters and changes the very composition of our nature. We are baptized not only with water, but fire, the seal of a new creation and the foreshadowing of resurrection life, which is lived with purity of soul in the here and now as we wait for the fullness of God’s Kingdom to come in our eternal tomorrow.
While so many would lower the bar of the high-calling of Christ, Jesus calls us to be filled with the Spirit of the Ancient of Days. Infused with the very Person and Glory of God, we are able and capable of walking in the same power and authority of Jesus while he walked as the incarnate Son of God on this earth. Why is it, then, so many professed followers fail to walk with this power and authority? Is it possible that so many who profess to believe, do so with the same informed belief as the demons of whom James speaks (James 2:19). And, if this is the case, it might explain why there is little Holy Spirit evidence in the lives of these similarly professing believers. When the Holy Spirit fell upon and infused the lives of those who waited, they were forever changed. According to Jesus, they were in better condition than when he had walked with them personally (John 16:5-9). I think the same can be said for us, if we will only believe…if we will only wait, submit, surrender, and obey. The Holy Spirit does not fall upon or infuse those who do not surrender and obey. Jesus said the very first step to becoming his disciple was denial (surrender) of self. If we do not surrender, we are not his—If we are not his, we have no Holy Spirit power.
I want to think out loud some more on the passage of Scripture Jesus spoke from John’s Gospel that was posted in my blog from yesterday. The original passage follows:
“But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:5-9
I have heard it said when speaking of issues of sin, especially issues where it concerns those outside of the Christian church, that it is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction. The passage above is oft quoted as a proof text.
While I agree with the intent of the Scripture, I’m not sure I am in agreement with what I perceive the passage as understood by many in the church community. I get the impression sometimes that a lot of folk think of the Holy Spirit as this invisible soldier of God who goes around waving his arms or a magic wand, perhaps speaking some silent holy incantation over people that will bring conviction of sin…. Then, all of the sudden, the person who was “incantated” over, has a divinely inspired epiphany from which they repent, turn to God, and the Hallelujah Chorus begins playing.
Maybe all this sounds a little flippant. Maybe it is and maybe it is not. I have a couple of thoughts that are a bit less snarky. The words of Jesus follow:
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. -John 14:15-17
Jesus says about the Holy Spirit, “He leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” And then, later, Jesus adds these words; “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin…” I don’t think it is a stretch to realize what Jesus is teaching his follower-disciples. While we, contemporary disciples, will attempt to shirk the responsibility that comes from being a living vessel of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is defining the role of disciples as ambassadors of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), empowered and sealed with the Comforter-Convictor, Holy Spirit.
So I am not misunderstood, I should clarify that I’m not proposing that people get filled with the Holy Spirit and become obnoxious megaphones spewing hurtful words of judgment toward unwitting, unknowing, people who have not recognized the Holy Spirit or Jesus in their lives. I don’t think this is what Jesus intended when He said the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. So, what did he mean? Here is a possible interpretation…
We, the followers of Jesus, who are filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, are the living reflections of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, through us, introduces people to Jesus…brings comfort to those needing it and brings conviction of sin to those who are unaware of the sin and separation from God in their lives. We, the people of God, are the delivery system of the Holy Spirit to the world around us.
The apostle Paul called us “living epistles.”
You yourselves are our letter (living epistles), written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit…” 2 Corinthians 3:2-5
What does it all mean and how does it work? I think what this means is this: We have a greater responsibility than what many of us are willing to sign on for. Sharing the message of Christ through acts of service, giving of our financial resources, asking people to church, and/or using words are only peripheral ways of sharing the message. The primary way of sharing the Gospel is direct delivery through our personal lives, which are lived in the manner and model of Jesus Christ himself. We live as “little Christs” that is why the people were first called Christians in Antioch…because they acted like and lived like Jesus (Acts 11:19-26).
The cost of being a Christian in the terms of the original description is monumental. The cost is our lives—in the least, this will be metaphorical sense, calling us to sacrifice our personal ambitions, rights, finances, and more—all for the purpose of putting God’s kingdom first… at the most, we may be called to (literally) lose our lives for the cause and purpose of God’s kingdom. In this fashion, it is we, through the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin…and helps them to see Jesus.
Jesus has given to us a model of the Kingdom of God spoken through his Sermon on the Mount. The epistles and church letters, which make up the majority of the New Testament teaching, tell us about the life that is lived in the kingdom of God today—on this earth, on this side of eternity. This teaching describes a life that is lived freed from the bondage of sin, capable of living exuberantly the love known as agape, and always hopeful with joy looking forward to the return of Jesus regardless of what the circumstances of the day may dictate. Living the life described in the New Testament is not easy. Jesus told us that it would not be, but to say that we cannot live the life taught by Jesus is to call him a liar.
“We who have once for all cloned ourselves in Christ, and been made worthy to have him dwelling within us, may show everyone, if we choose, simply by the strict discipline of our life and without saying a word, the power of him who dwells in us.” John Chrysostom
Pentecost Sunday: A Meditation upon the Holy Spirit
Pentecost. Wait. The Holy Spirit. Infilling. Consuming Fire. Breath of GOD. Trinity. Unity. Baptized with. Inhabited by.
These are just some of the thoughts and words that bounce around in my mind when I think of this day, Pentecost, and the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus that we could (and would) share His Spirit. I think of the implications of the Prayer of Jesus (John 17:1-26) and what it means to be filled with, guided and comforted by, submissive and obedient to, and always in the Presence of the Holy Spirit of GOD Almighty. The promise of holy relationship reconciled and restored; Trinitarian fellowship renewed and unbroken… this is what I think about and rejoice over when I consider Pentecost.
I am Driven and I am Drawn…
I am driven to pursue the promise that Jesus gave to us; the invitation he extended to His followers and all who would believe: “I pray for them… Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one… My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:9-23).
It is the express desire of Jesus, according to this most passionate prayer, that His followers would enter into the Triune Unity with the Godhead. I believe this. Accordingly, I do not believe that Jesus would pray for or ask for anything that was not possible and it was Jesus who said that “all things are possible with God.” While there might be argument about the context of that particular quote, Jesus was, in fact, speaking about salvation and my use of this quote (Triune unity with the Godhead) is the ultimate expression of salvation (Matthew 19:25-26).
We find it easy, normal even, to believe that Jesus was in unbroken fellowship with the Godhead. We expect and talk of Him with an understanding that He, Jesus, viewed everything from the perspective of the Father. Jesus’ own testimony to this expectation validates our beliefs and understanding (John 5:19-20; John 6:38; John 17:6-8). We also know that the greatest agony Jesus experienced was separation from the unity of the Triune Godhead (Gethsemane: Luke 22:24; Matthew 26:36-46. See also the Crucifixion: Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). What is it about this understanding and this picture of Jesus that draws me? The answer, I believe, is the Holy Spirit… the same Holy Spirit that dwelled in and empowered Christ, that Christ Jesus promised would come to dwell in and empower me, draws me.
I am Driven and I am Drawn…
I am driven and I am drawn to a relationship that is filled in the same capacity as that of my Savior Jesus. The thing that He agonized over was separation from the LIFE of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Do I feel agonized over the thought of separation from the Godhead? Jesus was continually drawn and lived in unbroken relationship with the Godhead… the question that begs asking of me is this; “Do I sense a continuous draw to grow deeper, more intimate, more passionate, more symbiotically and synergistically connected to the God in whom I say I live, move, and breath? (Acts 17:27-28).
It is the gift of God Who, in His mercy, completes the hidden and mysterious work of creation in us by enlightening our minds and hearts, by awakening in us the awareness that we are words spoken in His One Word, and that Creating Spirit (Creator Spiritus) dwells in us, and we in Him. That we are “in Christ” and that Christ lives in us. That the natural life in us has been completed, elevated, transformed and fulfilled in Christ by the Holy Spirit. Contemplation is the awareness and realization, even in some sense experience, of what each Christian obscurely believes: “It is now no longer I that live but Christ lives in me.” —Thomas Merton; New Seeds of Contemplation
Truthfully, I fall terribly short from this continuous experience, but falling short does not keep me from striving for it. As I have read, studied, and prayed over Scripture, I am fully convinced this expectation to live as Christ is what God has intended for us. We are Sons and Daughters of God; we are Brothers and Sisters of the First Born Son of God. The blessed Holy Spirit is the gift to us enabling and empowering each of us to live as Christ. This is Pentecost; this is the promise; this is the reality of the Holy Spirit, God with us, and Christ in us. We live as Christ. I am driven to Him and I am drawn to Him, so I might live as Him… as He promised.
The final question I have and the challenge before us all is this: Do we live with this hunger? Do we live with this driving, drawing, burning desire in us, before us, and behind us? If we do not, I dare say there is something dreadfully wrong with our understanding. The message and the mission of Christ is not a cerebral conversion, not an intellectual affirmation. The Holy Spirit “coming upon you” is a metamorphosis, a transcending transformation to a new life…a new being and a new way of being. Personally, I refuse to believe otherwise. “You will receive power…” It seems to me, if we have this same Holy Spirit of God who is the Third Person of the Godhead dwelling within us, we would have this hunger…an inescapable yearning to be in whole and holy, pure and unbroken fellowship and relationship with GOD Almighty. If this doesn’t exist within us… something must be wrong in my estimation. My guess is there were hundreds of church sermons today that shared those words with tens of thousands of congregants who profess to believe and follow Jesus Christ. I wonder… How many of those believe they can live with the same power and personality as a Son or Daughter of the Most High God? I believe and it will be to my dying breath that I strain forward for that prize in this life until I cross over to whatever God has in store for me in the next. Amen.
O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Some of you may have seen the movie A Few Good Men starring Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise. One of the famous scenes had Jack’s character passionately responding to Tom’s demands for truth; “You can’t handle the truth!”
This has been echoing in my head as I have considered a passage from the Gospel of John I read through almost two weeks ago (John 16:12-15).
“I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now. However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth” (John 16:12-13 CEB).
I realize Jesus might not be responding in the same spirit as Jack’s character, but I can’t help but think and believe that there might be some similarity behind the intent and reasoning. So, what might Jesus mean by this statement and what have my thoughts been?
First, I think there is a timing issue. The disciples were not ready to receive, understand, or act upon additional revelation from God at this juncture. Not only is this clearly evident in the words of Jesus in this passage, but later, post crucifixion and resurrection just before Jesus’ ascension, the disciples ask Jesus about the fulfillment-completion of his mission (Acts 1:6-8). It is obvious in the disciples’ question and Jesus’ answer they were still struggling to understand; “they were unable to handle the truth now.” Jesus advised them it would be better for them after they received power from the Holy Spirit who would guide them and enable them to become witnesses for the Kingdom of God. This helps me to understand that just because I want something… whether it is knowledge, understanding, or a task of responsibility that is God honoring doesn’t mean I am ready for it. There may be a timing issue at hand; perhaps I need to wait upon the Lord for the perfecting of that time as in this particular case.
Second, maybe there is a maturity issue that needs attention. This detail might be related to the point of timing I just mentioned. Timing can often include logistical details that involve a number of people and circumstantial factors, but timing can also involve personal maturity specifics which might range the emotional, intellectual, and/or spiritual growth gamut. In the case of the disciples from our Scripture examples, one of the issues of timing was certain spiritual immaturity. Jesus specifically advised them they would not be ready to take up his mantle and mission until they were imbued with the same Holy Spirit power he had been empowered with. We see another example of this thinking from the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:11-12) “There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” Maturity helps us to process truth and bear the things that God would say to us.
Third, I think our willingness to be led by and obedient to God’s Holy Spirit is proportionate to the truth Jesus is willing to reveal to us. If we are unwilling or reluctant to receive from and obey God, there is a good chance we might not hear from him at all…or worse. Jesus told his disciples when they went from town to town sharing the Gospel message of God’s Kingdom if the message was not received with gladness, they were to take back any blessing and leave a curse upon the town and leave as they “shook the dust from their sandals” (Luke 10:8-12). I can’t help but also remember the ominous words of Jesus when he spoke to his disciples about paying attention to how they listen to him (Luke 8:10, 18).
Fourth, and this is probably the thing that has had me chewing on this text for the past couple weeks, I don’t want to miss what Jesus wants to tell me. “I have much more to say…” I can only imagine how much I have missed “hearing” from Jesus because of my immaturity, stubbornness, weakness, disobedience and self absorption. I know I’ve gone around waving my hands up in the air wanting (and begging) God to speak to me… tell me truth. But, I haven’t been paying attention. I haven’t been obedient to the things I’ve already been told. I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, who is my Guide in the first place. I want knowledge, I want direction, I want the Truth… but “I haven’t been able to handle the Truth!” It doesn’t have to be this way.
Jesus made a way for us to handle the Truth. We don’t have to be spiritually immature. We have to be willing to obey. We have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to wait. And, we have to be constantly seeking with the attitude of all the aforementioned; patient, listening, and obedient heart. The Holy Spirit being our Guide, may we always be walking in humble submission to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.