I realized something at the Exponential Conference last week. I’m a pastor who is afraid of the Holy Spirit. Honestly, I don’t trust Him. Yeah, you’re right, that’s a problem but before you fire off an email to the deacons, read my story. You might even find that you’re a lot like me.
I’ve got a weird ministry story in my past. To make a long story short, my first church had me under a senior pastor who went down a bizarre path and said it was the Holy Spirit leading him.
He started seeing floating body parts, talking about demons a lot and giving people “words of knowledge” where he’d reveal information he had received about them that they didn’t even know. The world became a terrifying place and the church was a place where your “secret sins” or “generational bondage” might be announced to all. Grace faded fast while people worked hard to win the approval of the “anointed” man at the front.
It was all the work of the Holy Spirit according to the pastor. His take was that the Spirit was not restricted to “the book.” (The Bible) I’ve always been a book guy in a Berean sort of way. (Acts 17:11)
A lot of weird stuff goes off as Holy Spirit things. Flip through the Total Bunk Network and you see people blow on other people who then collapse in a heap. You can get prayer mats for sending in cash and you can get rich too. People claim God sends earthquakes and floods to judge people. Most of it is somehow attached to the Holy Spirit.
My experience has been mostly that “Spirit-filled” and “Spirit-led” people are downright kooky. Do you know what I mean? I’m talking about the people who announce their Spirit status like merit badges that they determine I obviously haven’t earned. They make me feel like I’m damaged goods and not as good as they are.
So, I’ve mostly avoided Holy Spirit stuff or have treated Him like an “it” instead of a “He.” I’ve decided that if the Holy Spirit kooks are the real deal then I am just not interested. I’ll just do my God stuff while they parade into my office announcing that the Holy Spirit sent them to help because experience has taught me that it won’t be long before they leave us hanging. They leave their commitments behind saying that the Holy Spirit is leading them into something else. Their Holy Spirit seems pretty fickle to me; not real reliable at all.
But then, there I sat at First Baptist Church in Orlando, listening to speaker after speaker – guys I listen to, guys I read – tell me that the ministries they lead are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. They spoke of their intimacy with the Holy Spirit and their dependence on Him. They talked of resting in Him, trusting in Him and being led by Him. No pride, no arrogance, no demands. True relationship with the Holy Spirit just showed Jesus bigger and better than they ever knew. These guys are not kooks.
I’ve heard it said the the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. That nails it. I’ve been scared of the Holy Spirit because of the obnoxious, demanding, anything-but-respectful, unreliable people who have trampled on me while claiming to be “Spirit-filled.” They haven’t been gentlemen at all. They’re more like bullies.
But the Bible tells me that the Holy Spirit is in step with the others in the Trinity. He has the same love, the same goals, the same heart and character. He’s not like the bratty little brother or crazy uncle. He’s totally in sync with Father and Son.
It’s time to set my fear aside and build my relationship with Jesus recognizing that it is the goal of Holy Spirit. He’s not calling me to be a fruitloop. He’s calling me to be like Jesus.
If your view of the Holy Spirit is a lot different than how you see Jesus, you are probably doing what I did by allowing the actions of people to define Him rather than discovering Him through Scripture. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all about the exact same stuff.
The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” The Holy Spirit is a “He.”
Do not pray for more of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity and is not in pieces. Every child of God has all of Him, but does He have all of us?
– F.B. Meyer