From: Forgotten God
My hunch is that most of you reading this book have basic knowledge about the Holy Spirit; but when it comes to experiencing the Spirit in your life, it’s a different story. Take a moment and ask yourself this question: When was the last time I undeniably saw the Spirit at work in or around me? If it was recently, consider taking a few minutes to reflect on what the Spirit of God did and how you saw him at work. Thank God for his active presence in your life, and praise him for the way he is leading you even now.
If you are having trouble recounting a time when the Spirit was at work in or around you, perhaps that is because you have been ignoring the Spirit. Perhaps it is because you have a lot of head knowledge about the Spirit, but not much of a relationship with him.
The reality is that the early church knew less about the Holy Spirit than most of us in the church today, at least in the intellectual sense. But they came to know the Spirit intimately and powerfully as he worked in and through their lives. All throughout the New Testament, we read of the apostles whose lives were led by the Spirit and lived out by his power.
The goal of this book is not to completely explain the Spirit or to go back to the apostolic age. The goal is to learn to live faithfully today. First of all, it is impossible for us as finite humans to completely understand an infinite God. Second, many of us don’t need more knowledge about the Spirit from a cerebral vantage point – what we need is experiential knowledge of his presence. And third, we can never “go back,” only forward, seeking what it means to live faithfully in the time and culture where God has placed us.
So while hopefully you will learn something new about the Holy Spirit in this book, my prayer is that it will draw you into deeper communion with the Spirit and greater experience of his power and presence in your life.
Years ago, when a random thought came into my head, I decided to share it with my life. “Have you ever wondered what caterpillars think about?” I asked.
Not surprisingly, she said, “No.”
I then proceeded to tell her about the confusion I imagined a caterpillar must experience. For all its caterpillar life, it crawls around a small patch of dirt and up and down a few plants. Then one day it takes a nap. A long nap. And then, what in the world must go through its head when it wakes up to discover it can fly? What happened to its dirty, plump little worm body? What does it think when it sees its tiny new body and gorgeous wings?
As believers, we ought to experience this same kind of astonishment when the Holy Spirit enters our bodies. We should be stunned in disbelief over becoming a “new creation” with the Spirit living in us. As the caterpillar finds its new ability to fly, we should be thrilled over our Spirit-empowered ability to live differently and faithfully. Isn’t this what the scriptures speak of? Isn’t this what we’ve all been longing for?
It really is an astounding truth that the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. He lives in me. I do not know what the Spirit will do or where he’ll lead me each time I invite him to guide me. But I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them. I want to consistently live with an awareness of his strength. I want to be different today from what I was yesterday as the fruit of the Spirit becomes more manifest in me.
I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the Spirit’s leading on a daily basis. Christ said it is better for us that the Spirit came, and I want to live like I know that is true. I don’t want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly.