The older I get, the more reliant I am on the Holy Spirit. I see it at work when It inspires me with wisdom when I speak to a young person; the Spirit gives me ideas and creativity at lightning speed and it becomes effortless for me to pen plans down when I know that something that brilliant couldn’t have come from me; It reminds me of things that I need to do; It empowers me with courage and bravery to do things I don’t normally attempt; It turns me away from things I ought not to do; It teaches me what to pray; It reveals the truth that is already in my heart. I basically couldn’t do a minute without the Spirit. So I can vaguely imagine how desperate King David must have felt when he cried out in Psalm 51:11, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.”
It was an encouraging reminder today at the Foundations of the Christian Life seminar, that the Holy Spirit is a giver of power. I like BH’s description of the Holy Spirit as “the executive member of the Godhead”, meaning the one who accomplishes what God commands. In the Hebrew language, “Ruach” is used to describe the Holy Spirit as the “breath” of God. It’s like hearing a thundering voice, and feeling the air that comes with the booming sound. (Imagine putting your palm in front of a sub-woofer.) BH quite rightly says it, that “the desires of God in heaven is executed by the Spirit of God on earth”.
And so, today’s lessons are in line with last Tuesday’s Jesus Mentor Me session; everything that we learn comes via facts, instructions, advice, news etc. but from all the plethora of data that your mind processes, the Spirit illuminates the truth (that we need to know) from the flurry of information that we receive. This realisation of truth specifically speaks to our hearts and convicts us of what’s wrong and reminds us of what’s right. From this, our minds are continuously transformed and that subsequently causes a change in our speech and conduct. But everything begins from this illumination of truth that the Spirit does. However, if I may reiterate, the Spirit can only illuminate when there’s something already present to illuminate on.
I’ve always seen this analogy of the Holy Spirit at work within us: The Spirit is always beside us, and is connected to us via a string. Whenever we need help and counsel, the Spirit pulls the string and we’ll feel Its’ tug. But each time we turn the Spirit away, more string is released. Remember that the distance between the Spirit and us doesn’t change – the only variable is the length of string that is collected between us. When the string is no longer taut, we no longer feel its tension. However, the more we respond to the tug, the shorter the string becomes and the tighter the tension would be. In this respect, I’d like to think that the grace of God operates in a way that while we’re the culprits releasing string to slack the tension, the one drawing the string back, is the Holy Spirit.
Oh how true it is – “Take not your Holy Spirit from me”!
On Tuesday, my Shepherds and I attended a short talk conducted by Dr Ed Pousson, author of Jesus Mentor Me. He taught from Luke 2:39-52 (the anecdote of how the 12-year-old Jesus was away from His parents, at the temple of Jerusalem, discoursing with teachers five times his age). Dr Pousson’s insightful sharing caused a paradigm shift for most of us. I’d like to capture the key lessons I took away from that session:
- Jesus did not have a headstart with His knowledge of the Word; He had to be acquainted with scripture, go to school and study hard just like everyone else – He was on a level playing field with you and I.
- The difference between Jesus and us – we have Jesus to learn from but Jesus didn’t have Jesus to learn from! Therefore, He is our teacher and so we as students ought to adopt a posture as one who would sit and absorb from a great rabbi.
- Many of us find a job but miss our spiritual vocation – let’s not forget what our true purpose in life is, and we can only know that when we seek God continuously.
- We should learn as much as we can from our teachers, pastors and mentors but there comes a point where we can learn no more and hence it’s necessary to have a direct download from the Spirit.
- If Jesus practised spiritual disciples, then we have no excuse to not do what He did.
- We should always have a burning heart and an open mind.
- The Holy Spirit reveals the truth in our hearts; the best way to store truth is by memorising Scripture. If there is no software installed, then there’s nothing to recall.
I returned home with the purchase of C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory. Yet another book queued up and waiting to be devoured. Such optimism…