In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Can we get enough?

As Christians we can never "get enough" of God. I think we want to grow and learn and see more evidence of the Holy Spirit's power and leading in our lives. I know I sure do.

I appreciate something I read recently by FB Meyer recounting an experience he had when he was crossing the Irish channel on a dark, starless, night:

"I stood on the deck by the captain and asked him, 'How do you know Holyhead Harbor on so dark a night as this?' He said, 'You see those three lights? Those three lights must line up behind each other as one, and when we see them so united, we know the exact position of the harbor's mouth'"

Meyers explains the implications he drew from this experience, "When we want to know God's will, there are three things which always concur - the inward impulse, The Word of God, and the trend of circumstances. God in the heart, impelling you forward; God in the Book, collaborating whatever He says in the heart;God in circumstances. Never start until all three agree".

Lately I've had the inward impulse to learn more about the Holy Spirit. Not so much on an intellectual level as on an experiential level. I want to see more of the fruits of the Spirit manifest in my life, I want to be used more to bring people to God and help them grow in Him, I want to have greater impact on the lives of my sons and the people with whom I work.

Recently I had the experience of looking through the CBD (Christian book distributors) website and saw a book by Francis Chan entitled "Remembering the Forgotten God Revising our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit." I ordered both the book and the workbook. I've decided to read 1 to 2 chapters each week during the evening, and work through parts of the workbook during my morning times with God (there are sections in the workbook where you're looking up scriptures so those portions would work perfectly for my morning times with God).

Most likely I'm the same as you and have met many wonderful, and many struggling, Christians during my life. For myself, I've often fallen into the struggling camp and it's only by God's grace and goodness that I don't stay there.

I've unfortunately had the experience of encounters with some people in my life who talk the most about the Holy Spirit, yet seem to evidence the least of His fruit. These people seem so caught up in going on about the miraculous, to think that the sensational proves who God is....yet, is that really what the Holy Spirit within us is about?

I do know that God's heart is one of compassion. Over and over in the gospels I read about God in the flesh-Jesus-and how he was moved with compassion for people. He was also constantly healing people. I'm also impressed by what I read in Acts 4:13; that the world saw a difference in the followers of Christ. Being around Jesus, having His Holy Spirit within them, made them different from the rest of the world. I want to be like that; for people to see Him in me.

I grew up in a Baptist tradition and have many people who I respect greatly who are into dispensationalism. While I agree with lots of that thought process because I see much of it clearly in the Bible, I'm not sure about all of it. Some I know would go as far as to say that while Jesus walked the earth, and for His first followers to be authenticated, it was a time for the miraculous, but that God does not really work that way today.

While I can not see that, on the other hand I do not see people doing miracles to the extent that we see the disciples doing them in the gospels or the early church leaders in the book of Acts. I don't see the Christian groups I hear talk a lot about the miraculous, as a whole, living any differently than those who are not of faith. Or any differently from the Christian groups that are not into the miraculous. Is this an example of the fact that, although God's character, Word, and purposes do not change, His methods do? Or is it for some other reason? Should the miraculous even be where I'm looking; should I instead look to see His fruit manifest in me and then He'll show me what I'm to do?

These are just questions that I have and things I've been pondering.

I'm certainly not looking to Chan's book to provide me with the answers. But I see it as an aide in this process; I don't think it matters if I end up agreeing with Chan's conclusions or not, it's the process of examining the subject that interests me.

What about you, do you ever have encounters with Christians who talk a lot about the Holy Spirit but don't seem to manifest His fruit? Do you wonder why we see so little of the miraculous in the western world? Do you ever question the place of the miraculous in our lives? Do you have questions about the Holy Spirit and His place in your life?


Mike said...

I am delighted this area interests you enough to ask these tough questions of your Great God!

One thing sticks out most to me: If God the Spirit dwells in me, then I should be different...different from those around me, and different from whom I used to be yesterday. But AM I different?

I think you hit the nail on the head with that phrase about the apostles being different from others. I have made it my prayer as I have also grown more in love with the Holy Spirit.

Keep digging!

Tony C said...

I personally feel the nature of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity is one of the most complex Christian core doctrines. As a matter of fact, just last week I was talking to two other men whom I will be joining on upcoming Wednesday nights to teach core doctrine. When it came to the Holy Spirit, it was almost a 'short straw' gets the task. Why?

Whenever I'm in doubt about a subject matter, I always go back to the red letter words in Scripture for an answer. He came to teach us too.

Excellent thoughts, and I hope you post more on the subject after your studies.

RCUBEs said...

I love that your hunger to seek more of Him provokes us to think deeply as you share your precious thoughts...

Many people always desire to see miracles in order for them to believe in God. I'm glad we have His Word that recorded many miracles performed by Him but those did not make the Israelites obey. They continued to rebel time and time again despite witnessing His wondrous miracles.

Jesus' miracles were recorded but many laughed at Him and did not believe Him, too.

I'm so grateful that He gave us His Word which is the basis of our faith. Knowing it's the truth, then I know I don't need to see miracles. I think myself being changed inside out is a miracle itself...Courtesy of the Holy Spirit. God bless.

Inge' said...

I love reading and studying about the Holy Spirit! I have several books that I constantly refer back to.

I don't think that we really understand His purpose in our lives.

I am very particular about what I read even by Christian authors, but Spurgeon and Tozer both have excellent books on the Holy Spirit.

What always sends me to my knees is the fact that the Holy Spirit willingly indwells me. Sinful, wretched, awful me.

I think we only think about the conviction we receive from the Holy Spirit. But, He does so much more!

I hope that you continue to share what you learn from you new study!

BTW, Spurgeon says that He illuminates the Word for us as a lamp so that we may understand and we should pray for Him to do that for us. How cool is that!

Michelle said...

It will be interesting to see your thoughts on Chan's book. I read Crazy Love and really enjoyed it.

I believe we tend to shy away from the Holy Spirit because of the charismatic movement with characters such as Benny Hinn. I, personally, have never experienced any type of supernatural working of the Holy Spirit as illustrated by the "gifts" of the Holy Spirit.

I HAVE, however, been supernaturally changed because of the working of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the work of Christ on the cross and the will of God! That's about as much as I can comprehend. :) Keep us posted on your venture!

David-FireAndGrace said...

I love the Holy Spirit! He is my constant companion. He is the voice of God in my spirit always leading me to see what the Father is doing!

Honestly, for every Christian that shows the fruit (and in some case the the wax fruit) we can always find people with bad character. They are everywhere in the church. During the time of Jesus there were tens of thousands that witnessed his miracles - heck 5,000 men and their families at bread and fish. I bet more than a few of them snapped at their kids on the ride home.

Power is not Equal to fruit. Power is not equal to obedience, or character or anything else. Remember Judas, he was a bad dude, but he was there feeding the 5,000 that day; God used him.

Power is about faith, and nothing else. Without faith is impossible to please God and we will never be of the character that Jesus had. That is one of the myths of Christianity. We'll never be good enough.

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives within us to transform us (in character), and empower us to do even greater things than Jesus did. :)

It is faith that releases it. BTW - there are lots of spectators in Christianity, but that is not what we were meant to be.

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