I love autumn and the glorious changes in nature–the splendor of glistening golds, sherbet oranges and scarlet reds being displayed across our visual landscape. Yet, I am a huge baa-humbug with anything Halloween.
I flip-on my built-in blinders in hopes of avoiding the displays with ghosts and goblins, wicked witches and such. And please, don’t make me look at yet another poster of Chucky!
Seems the haunted spirits nowadays are more realistic than Casper and his foes from my childhood days.
Sadly today’s viewers are not spared from the realism of graphic violence with mass murderers and demonic spirits, a reality for some. Perhaps that’s partly why most of us are hesitant to recognize Scriptures’ Holy Ghost.
Maybe it’s in the name ghost we pull back, reasoning anything with the semblance of spirits conjures up wispy veils (and cheesecloth) floating in midair, echoing hollow sounds. Frightening at first, these spirits are undoubtedly mysterious and ever illusive. Worst of all, they’re uncontrollable.
And we like our control, don’t we? So it is, many of us discount most anything spirit-wise.
With Halloween before us, did you know the Holy Ghost is not as spooky as some imagine? Isn’t that where we miss out, especially as we read the verses about the Trinity—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Think about it. How many of us separate the Three-in-One into thirds?
We grasp the first third with God all alone, many more the first two-thirds of God the Father and Jesus the Son. It’s the last third where things get divisive.
Yet, following the Holy Spirit’s guidance is not spooky or illusive. So is it we overlook those scriptures as though they’re fine print in a contractual agreement we don’t need to know?
Wasn’t it in the beginning, before we conjured up ghost-like beings, the Holy Spirit was much involved? As a young Christian that’s what I read in Genesis.
In some ways, it was to my advantage I didn’t have so much denominational indoctrination embedded during my younger years, so that I didn’t over-theorize this third part of the Three-in-One.
Granted, it was also to my disadvantage that I was clueless for those years, needing the stability and life in the Lord I missed as a teenager.
However, because I was a blank slate I didn’t know to fear the scriptures with the Holy Spirit in them. At the women’s Bible study where I attended, Drew T. taught that the Holy Spirit was a part of the Trinity.
He is our
- He is the Guider of our days.
I needed that! I needed Him! Trying to be good all week by myself simply wasn’t working.
So it was, I paid attention to the truths in His Word, as well as in the actions and attitudes of the believers in my midst. In turn, I was upset no one had told me any of this before (the reason for this writing). For those first decades I stood in church and recited the doxology that included the Trinity, I never got it.
So why is this Helper such a secret? For it’s obvious, the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life has proven to be invaluable in the most practical areas of my life.
It’s so simple once we ask: Why wouldn’t a good father provide practical means for his children to succeed in the ways of their days?
What started me thinking about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives?
Forty years ago, I first pursued the Holy Spirit in my life as I was learning God’s Word. I understood that God’s Holy Spirit through me when I prayed created a highway, a bridge, a connection of some kind for whomever I was praying.
God’s Holy Spirit–a friendly force meant for our best–was that loving ubiquitous touch of God.
Not something I could beckon like a magic chant with a fancy wand.
No, this connection is through our relationship with our Father who encourages us with His Spirit, and He offers us the power of prayer to intercede on behalf of our loved ones (and, yes, even our enemies) who live down the street or across the continent.
God does that for us? Yes, He loves doing that for us and in us and through us.
In my case, in the late 1970s, I was sending my prayers from Arkansas to Colorado for my alcoholic father whose selfish life had finally caught up with him.
Interestingly throughout those days in prayer, I had an urgency to write this estranged father. It took me hours to write those heartfelt pages where I shared about my new life in Christ, how I had the perfect Father who filled my empty holes–the ones too many unfathered children possess. Because of that fullness now in me, I could forgive this man who chose the world and not me, this man tagged as dad who had injured me more than my own earthly forgiveness allowed.
But, best of all, I shared with him how he could have a new life, too.
It was pages long. And once I mailed it, I was sure with the Holy Spirit’s promptings that Dad would be calling me in the next few days. I imagined us finally talking and building a real father-daughter relationship. My dad on earth might finally care.
Months passed with no telephone ringing. I prayed anyway to the Father who always cares. One day my grandmother called to say that my dad had moved back to Arkansas. He was coming to visit my brothers and me.
Long story short
Dad never told me this, but he confessed to my mother (his ex-wife), “There were many times over these past months when I was so close to committing suicide. Each time I was drawn to pull-out Ann’s letter, reread it and grasp hold of the hope I needed to finally make it back to Arkansas.”
His lifelong habits engrained kept him from his fullness. He did spend his last days volunteering at my grandmother’s church.
So many times we never realize how the Holy Spirit is working.
So it is, the Lord offers us a part of Himself in the Holy Spirit to be practical and relevant to our lives.
The role of the Holy Spirit is not as spooky as it sounds.
What makes us get so weird about it is that some people seem completely weird about it. That thin fine line is hard to distinguish when developing faith in the unseen, trying hard to hear His voice in a clamoring world with too much in sight. These are lines we can’t distinguish without a relationship in which we ask and seek and find, listening and learning consistently.
We’re not always blinded when we can’t see.
Actually our spiritual senses are heightened as we trust in His unseen ways: we see clearer than we can humanly fathom.
Isn’t that what those who are physically blind report—their other senses are strengthened?
We as humans simply rely on ourselves too often, dismissing a life of faith.
And that has to grieve God.
Checkpoints while learning to listen:
- First and foremost, God will never guide us to do anything contradictory to His Word.A few months ago I read about a minister/counselor who convinced a teenaged girl that their growing love-relationship is what God would want. I am sickened just relaying this lie, but it is a clear indication how we have justified our sinful choices under the guise of God.
- And certainly the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinful ways but He doesn’t condemn us. He shows us a way to get help if we care to learn. The enemy is the one who comes to kill and steal. Yes, the enemy of our souls is the one who beats us down and tells us we’ll never be forgiven or we’ll never be an overcomer.
- Gratefully, the Holy Spirit confirms and reconfirms when we ask, for those times when we’re not sure, and we want to be certain we really heard God. I believe God understands our sincere desire to hear Him so He is good to confirm.
Sometimes what we hear can be simple practical advice that points out a way to make us stronger and wiser. For instance, the other day I felt like the Lord was showing me/speaking to me by His Holy Spirit that I was not a judgmental person. This can be a good thing, right? But I was also not very discriminating, as in discerning. That can be a bad thing, a dangerous thing, in this day and time.
It was like a mini-common sense lesson dropped into my thinking processes from a Father who loves me. I realized I didn’t need to feel guilty by some negative thoughts I had picked up about others and their circumstances. In that situation, I wasn’t being critical or judgmental, I was simply learning to be realistic, discriminating, discerning.
I suppose we’ll never fully understand how the Holy Spirit works to comfort us, encourage us, warn us and protect us. All I know is that we have been robbed of His full potential in our lives because we’ve been scared off by charlatans, by those who misrepresented God, and put themselves and their “ministries” as the focal point. It must grieve God for those who speak hate, and say it’s religion.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit is truth. Let us seek His truth and cease to live our days without His guidance.
For all the times, I’ve missed hearing Him, I regret.
So I encourage us all–We start by being attuned.
When we ask the Lord to help us be sensitive to others and to teach us how to pray for others is where we start and continue.
“If you . . . know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Jesus says in Luke 10:13 (NIV).
Whenever someone comes to mind, lift them to the Lord. Why not? How can it hurt?
Disclaimer: Our being led by the Holy Spirit doesn’t make us better than others, we simply become more dependent on His leadings, His warnings, His encouragements, big and small.
And yes, we still mess up, we still make wrong choices, we’re still as rude/angry/impatient/unfruitful as we so choose to be.
And, again, that has to grieve God.
Seasons in our lives still point to a sensible God who desires to fully expand us in our everyday lives, building character, if we like, strengthening not only ourselves but also building those around us. For all the ways we feel deficient, our Father provides a way.
For further reading:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
II Corinthians 3:4-6
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)