I was recently looking for something I had mislaid when I came upon a gift I had completely forgotten I had, hidden in a drawer. I couldn’t even remember who gave it to me. It was useful, so I took it from the drawer and am now using it.
I’m writing this seed immediately following Pentecost Sunday, one of the three great celebrations in the Christian calendar. On that day, in the UK, the BBC broadcast a live service from a church in the city near where I live, which I found very moving, encouraging, alive and real. It was a large congregation honouring the Father and the Son, and celebrating the gift the Father promised, given by Jesus after He ascended into heaven.
Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case for all churches. In fact some of them seem to have forgotten that Pentecost is a special time – just like Christmas and Easter – because, without the living presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our midst, we’re powerless, even if we go through the motions and seem to have results. For some the Holy Spirit is a forgotten gift, put on one side and forgotten.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Holy Spirit was the talk of the Church, but in general it seems different now. Has He become the forgotten member of the trinity? ‘Moving under the Anointing of the Holy Spirit’ is an Ellel Ministries Course. People who attend often seem to have little biblical understanding of the work and person of the Holy Spirit, and of the genuine baptism of the Holy Spirit, which changes your life for ever.
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came as the sound of a mighty wind. Wind is powerful, and there’s no way of controlling its power or direction. When we try to control the Spirit He leaves us to our own devices – never forcing or cajoling us. Small flames of fire separated and settled on each of the disciples in the upper room. They became on fire for Jesus and changed their world. Are we on fire for Jesus? Has the fire of Pentecost transformed us?
The Holy Spirit is, of course, a person just like Jesus and the Father. He waits for us to invite Him to direct and inspire our lives, to know Him, love Him and trust Him as a friend. He is the presence of Jesus in the world today. We can welcome Him or resist Him. We resist Him when we go our own way instead of His way, whether through self-centredness, ignorance or fear. We grieve Him when we are desensitised to sin so that He can’t convict us and bring us to repentance. We quench His work in our lives when we’re so busy doing our own thing that we can get on without Him.
We can’t live on past experiences, wonderful as they may have been. Today, are you leaning into the wind of the Spirit? Are you abandoned to utterly and completely obey Jesus, in ways that the Spirit will lead, or are you so comfortable where and as you are that you have no sense of your need of the Comforter?
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us Your Son, the Lord Jesus. And thank You for sending the Holy Spirit into the world until Jesus comes again. Please renew in me a sense of my need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, of my need to be radical and abandoned to do Your will, whatever that may be for my life. Give me a thirst that can only be quenched by the living water of Your Spirit in my inner being, so that my life will count for You in a new way. Amen.
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