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?
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