Holy spirit

Five misunderstandings about the Holy Spirit

Friends from my days at Wheaton College recently spent time with my wife and I in Seattle. We haven’t seen them much since graduation, but know that they have dedicated their lives to leading the Holy Spirit, which in their case led them to open a medical clinic for Quechuans. in the woods of Bolivia. The native Quechua are small and dark, while the descendants of the Spaniards are tall and white. A long time ago, my friends sided with the small and dark people.

One would think that responding to God’s call to the nations would be sufficient submission to the Spirit for any Christian couple. But at the end of the evening, our friends asked us if they should speak in tongues. An acquaintance gave them the name of her pastor to help them. “Should we call him?” ” they asked.

I was stunned. What could move two committed Christians – with a life of deep devotion and radical work among the forgotten of the world – to aspire to a new work of the Holy Spirit?

Of course, Christians should want to deepen the Holy Spirit, an integral part of the Trinity, which is at the heart of the Christian faith. But do all Christians need to experience this “special” manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit?

This assumption, I think, is rooted in serious misconceptions about the Holy Spirit which may prevent us from fully understanding this mysterious Person of the Trinity. Let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions.

1) The spirit comes in spurts

This is simply not true. Every breath we take is a sip of the Spirit of God. Think about Job for a minute, scratching himself with broken pots and croaking, “As long as my breath is on me and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not tell lies” (Job 27: 3- 4, emphasis mine). From the beginning, when God breathed life into Adam, the breath was nothing less than the Spirit.

We could not survive if we breathed in bursts. We should not seek the Spirit of God in spurts.

Instead, learn to cherish each breath you take as a gift from the Spirit of God. Breathe often. Breathe deeply. Experience the inspiration of God, the inspiration of God, every moment.

2) The work of the Spirit is spectacular

Think about the fame of Daniel of the Lion’s Den. For decades, foreign leaders have been drawn to the extraordinary spirit of God in Daniel. Why? Because he ate simply, rejected ambition, and studied hard. Daniel refused to climb the ladder of success by knotting himself to the handsome and sturdy elite Israelites that the Babylonians trained to help rule over ordinary refugees.

So don’t look for the miracle solution: the flashy experience. Rather, live for the long term because the Spirit inspires people who choose simplicity and humility over ambition and acquisition, people who choose simple vegetables over lavish lifestyles.

3) The mind is spontaneous

On the contrary, the Bible often shows that it is diligent preparation that opens the way for the Holy Spirit.

Take for example the Church of Antioch, where the Christian mission took root 2,000 years ago.

What was it that made these early Christians sensitive to what the Holy Spirit said, as Luke says in the book of Acts, a word that ushered in a full and very effective awareness?

To begin with, they spent an entire year studying the scriptures under Paul and Barnabas. They were also generous and donated to famine victims before the tragedy even happened. They fasted and worshiped, which they did when they heard the word of the Holy Ghost. The ingredients for a healthy church were firmly in place in Antioch.

So instead of waiting for the divine moment when the Spirit will fall, develop your disciplines, and do it in community. Study, pray, fast, and give with one eye toward that time when all you’ve been doing comes together, and you will hear one meaningful word from the Holy Spirit that changes everything.

4) The Spirit commands and is authoritative

In Isaiah 42 you will meet an inspired servant — the delight of God upon whom the spirit of God rests. This servant “will not cry out nor raise his voice nor make it heard in the street; a bruised reed which he will not break, a weakly burning wick which he will not quench ”(Isaiah 42: 3).

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This servant will not succeed by screaming, delirious, or delirious. And what is the success of this inspired servant? “He will not falter and be crushed until he establishes righteousness on the earth; and the ribs await his teaching ”(Isaiah 42: 1-2).

So shhh. Teach quietly, patiently, without fanfare, until righteousness fills the earth and the marginalized hear from God.

5) The mind is sure and gentle

After his baptism, the Holy Spirit entered Jesus with gentleness, skill, exquisiteness — with the gentle movements of a descending dove. But what did the Spirit do next?

“And the Spirit immediately cast him out into the wilderness,” says Mark 1:12. The Holy Spirit cast out Jesus just as Jesus cast out demons, cast out leprosy, cast out money changers from the temple.

The sweetness of a dove after the baptism of Jesus has been left in the dust by the violent force of the Spirit.

So don’t expect the Holy Spirit to pamper you, not if you want to grow spiritually. The Holy Spirit understands that we learn best through thick and thin, in hardship, in the hostile wilderness rather than along the peaceful banks of the Jordan River.

If you think that the work of the Holy Spirit is suddenly and spontaneously shifting, always appearing in glamorous and authoritative manifestations, think again. The Spirit of God is steady, ever present, and ever at work, whether spectacularly or simply.

Jack levison

Jack Levison is Professor of the New Testament at the University of the Pacific in Seattle. Author of numerous books and articles, including Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life (Paraclete Press), Levison is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for his scholarship. He holds a BA from Wheaton College, an MA from Cambridge University and a PhD. from Duke University. He lives near Seattle.