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September 1, 2010

Who is the Holy Spirit?

I have a question for you guys and I'm hoping, hoping, estoy esperando (throwing in a little Spanish because I'm in the Dominican Republic this week) you'll respond.

What do you know about the Holy Spirit? Who do you understand Him to be? And how important is He in your life? Feel free to answer any or all of those questions. I'm asking because I believe He is thoroughly underestimated and under-appreciated in the Western world, and until that changes, Christians will continue to look just as unimpressive as everyone else.

Has it ever bothered you that those of us who call ourselves Christians in the States seem to be just as depressed, divorced, anxious, fearful and worn-out as the rest of the world? If I throw out everything I've learned about being a Christian and start fresh with just the Bible and prayer, it seems like we should be living so completely different that people can't help but notice. Not that suffering or bad times won't happen to us, but we should handle them differently because it's really the Spirit of God giving us the strength and peace we need instead of us trying to suck it up and just get through. Does anyone know what I mean? Is it bothering anyone else out there that we blend in more than stand out?

I decided to start fresh with the book of Acts because that's where it all began for the early church. Well, officially it started with a group of people who followed Jesus because He asked them to, and they learned from Him what it looks like to really live. In Acts we get to see how they did once He was gone and they were on their own...except they weren't because the Holy Spirit shows up and the place goes crazy. The Disciples start speaking in languages they never learned in school, and healing people just like Jesus did. Not for the fame or glory of the people doing the talking and healing, but so that people would see the miraculous and praise God in Heaven. Matthew 5:16 says "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." which is exactly what happened back then.

Now that's the kind of church I want to be part of. That's the kind of church I want to BE. Church isn't what happens on a Sunday morning in buildings around the world, that's just a gathering of THE Church. We are each, individually, supposed to BE the Church in the time and place where God has put us. And in order for me to really represent Jesus, the Holy Spirit has to be part of the equation, but I feel like He's always been somewhat ignored in the church I grew up in. That probably explains the lack of power in that church and why we look so much like the world. I'm tired of being part of that church and am ready to start over and do this on Jesus' terms instead of my own. I'm reading through Acts and the Gospels and praying that Jesus will fill me with His Spirit and make me the person He wants me to be instead of the person I can pull off on my own. I don't really like her much anyway...she tends to be a jerk.