Tuesday, April 15, 2008

the Holy Spirit

When was the last time you went to church and they talked about the Holy Spirit as the message? And no, I don't mean sat in a Bible college class or chapel and heard about it. I mean sat in your typical church service or young adults service or whatever and that's what it was about.

Until last night, I don't think outside of my time at Bible college I had ever heard a sermon preached on the Holy Spirit. I think that because the topic is one where there is so much that could be said and there are so many things that could cause conflict and division because the church doesn't agree on them. But, I don't see those as good reasons to avoid talking about a specific topic. I think those are exactly the topics that need to be discussed.

For me, growing up in church, you received the Holy Spirit when you became a Christian - He now lived in you and was supposed to be guiding you. And that the Holy Spirit was part of the Trinity. But, beyond that, I remember very little being said about the Holy Spirit. Not to fault the church I grew up in . . . it was pretty conservative when I was a kid.

But, I never really understood how the Holy Spirit guided you, or why He came into your life when you became a Christian. It all seemed a little strange to me . . . and then I would hear from some of my friends that grew up in more charismatic churches about speaking in tongues and being slain in the Spirit. I think that just confused me more. It took some Bible college theology classes to help me better, although still not fully, understand the Holy Spirit and His role in the life of the believer.

Needless to say, I was interested to see what would be talked about in the message at Alive last night. After taking theology classes at Bible college where we spent time talking about what the Bible had to say about the Holy Spirit, there wasn't really anything in the message last night that I hadn't heard before. But, it was good to hear and be reminded.

There was one thing that has kind of stuck with me since then. The speaker talked about the difference between having the Holy Spirit indwell us and having the Holy Spirit fill us. About how we can allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in our lives, but limit the areas of our lives He can enter and limit His influence in our lives. Or, we can allow the Holy Spirit into our lives and give Him access to every corner - to every area - of our lives and allow Him to really influence how we live our lives.

It got me thinking, I know many people who are Christians but you would never know it from how they live. And I know many people who are Christians and there is absolutely no doubt about that. There is a huge difference between allowing the Holy Spirit access to one part of our lives and allowing Him access to every part of our lives.

What about you? Are you filled with Holy Spirit? Or have you only allowed Him to dwell on your life and limited what areas of your life He has access to?

I think I often go through times of both in my life. I have times when I allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me where He wants and I follow willingly. And I have times when I close off parts of me to His access - when I don't allow Him to have influence in areas of my life. My guess, from conversations I have had with friends, is that that is the case for many people. But, my prayer that is that I would live full of the Holy Spirit - that I would allow Him complete access to every part of my life. And that is my prayer for you as well.

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