The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. What I mean by that is He doesn’t just show up and force us to do something. He moves in our lives only to the degree we allow. But neither is He our servant bowing to our demands, expectations, or wishes. As such, it is incumbent on us to invite the Holy Spirit to move, to comfort, to convict, to empower, to help, to heal, to remind, and to guide. This invitation can be something as simple as “Come Holy Spirit.”
Inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives and fellowships is not a flippant request. In it, we are opening ourselves up to move as He wills, but not beyond it. We must recognize that not everything said and done in the name of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit’s doing. Paul wrote, “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–22, NASB95) We are to neither to put a wet blanket over the Holy Spirit’s fire or embrace everything at face value. Yet those extremes seem to be the most common.
For some of the readers, experiencing the move of the Holy Spirit is foreign, strange, and perhaps a bit frightening. For others, it is the desired part of their personal and corporate worship. The key part of Paul’s instruction is to “examine everything.” For those on the reluctant side, the encouragement is to step closer and invite the Holy Spirit to do as He wills. It is difficult to examine something from a distance. For those steeped in the moves of the Holy Spirit, examine everything. Discerning of spirits is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Goosebumps and spine chills are not always spiritual in origin. If the words, visions, and works do not glorify and point to Jesus, then it may be a different spirit at work. (see 1 John 4:1-3)
No matter where we are on the spectrum of experiencing the Holy Spirit, our expectations become like blinders put on horses to keep them focused on the road ahead. The greater reality is that the Holy Spirit is moving outside of our vision and expectations. Even in churches where the gifts are not welcome or expected, the Spirit moves. Perhaps the sermon hits a particular heart wound, hope, or need – that is a move of the Holy Spirit. Maybe a worship song moves us in some way – that is a work of the Holy Spirit. It could be that an off-the-cuff remark addresses a deep concern, or a prayer hits a hidden worry – that is the Holy Spirit.
For those of us acclimated to the Holy Spirit, we too can have blinders. Our experiences seemingly limiting the ways the Holy Spirit moves. If this or that happens, then the Spirit was here. If certain things don’t happen, then we somehow missed God. But that is not true. When we open ourselves and our worship services to the Holy Spirit, He does move. The question is whether we will look beyond the limitations of our expectations.
Even in this discussion, our expectation has been limited. For you see, the consideration above is narrow. It seems to only expect the Spirit to move during times of personal and corporate worship. But that is also limiting the Holy Spirit. He wants to move in us when we’re at work, on the road, at play, in the market, when online, and at home. “Come Holy Spirit” is just as needed in all of those places as it is at church or during our prayerful devotions.
The Holy Spirit desires to glorify Christ and bring all closer to Him and His Kingdom. Not only at church but in all aspects of our lives. Not only the “righteous” but all who have the heart to be moved, a conscience to be pricked, a will to be nudged, and a mind to be renewed. There’s nothing more to add except to say this – Come Holy Spirit.
Our next and final section of The Basics, a Readable Review of Christian Faith centers on the Church. That central gathering of believers which is vital and expected for continued growth in Christ.