Monday, January 06, 2014

The Spirit's Presence

There was a man who connected God's Spirit, correctly, with God's power; and he connected God's power with signs and miracles. Since, A=B and B=C, then A=C. So, he concluded that the lack of signs and miracles meant that most people who called on God did not have the Spirit of God.

And he concluded that since people in the first church received the Spirit, and it was desireable to have the Spirit, there must be some way that people got it. After all, God did command his children to be filled with the Spirit. So, this resulted in a search for some means to invite the Holy Spirit to take up residence in a person's life with a good likelihood of success. Which, in turn, caused a large number of Christians to focus on a particular type of action, and a particular type of result, which became the main demonstration that the Spirit now filled the heart of a person.

I am not arguing against either the action or the result. I do have some concerns with the basic assumptions. (Maybe A != C. Maybe A+D = C.)

(1) It is written that the Spirit is the source of our power in God. We connect with God and his Spirit flows into our hearts; his presence brings power. But it is also written that God gives his Spirit to mark us as belonging to his family.

(2) If the Spirit is the mark of being in God's family, and in order to demonstrate the presence of God's Spirit in a person's life requires the "miraculous," then we are forced to exclude from God's family many people who have set their hearts, faith, hopes and allegiance -- as well as time, energy and resources -- on Jesus, his family and his purposes.

But Scripture testifies that if we give our hearts and allegiance to Jesus, he accepts us, justifies us and receives us into his family. He also marks us as part of his family by putting the Spirit into our hearts. By adding the "miraculous," we seem to be adding a condition that God does not add.

(3) By focusing on the "miraculous," we ignore other results that Scripture says should be obvious if the Spirit is in our lives. There is a reason they are called "the fruit of the Spirit."

(4) By focusing on the "miraculous," we scramble God's priorities. Love is God's first command. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit, or the first demonstration of God's Spirit in a person's life. Scripture says that the "miraculous" is temporary, but that love is eternal. Scripture says that without love, the "miraculous" is vanity and chasing after the wind. 
  • So, A != C, there is a D somewhere that needs to be factored in.
  • We are foolish if we overlook or attach too little importance to the "miraculous." But we are equally foolish if we attach too much importance to it.
  • We need to have God's priorities, and give most of our time and energy to what he regards as important. (Maybe we are experiencing little of the mirculous, because we are expressing little love.)
  • I have some ideas about the D factor that I hope to shared very soon.

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