Thursday, June 24, 2004
The Stand: God the Father & the Holy Spirit
It's been a philosophically tough week. But it's important for each of us to discover God, and to follow Him as He reveals Himself. These essays are not intended to be doctrinal dissertations on the meaning of life, just my ramblings on what these various "churchy words" really mean to me at this point in the process. Of course, if you disagree with me or have any questions, please post - I promise not to say funny things about the way you're combing your hair and stuff.
I don't want to move too far down this path without also sharing some thoughts on God the Father and on the Holy Spirit, building on what I wrote earlier on the Person of Jesus Christ. I know that we've had some discussion recently on the necessity and understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. In a nutshell, God is God (Exodus 20:2), Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; Matthew 28:19). There is one God, and as much as we can tell, these three personalities are the same entity and at the same time three aspects of the same Person. All three are individually a Person. The Holy Spirit is not an It, but a He. The Father is I AM, and He is loving and merciful and holy, each trait being first and foremost at the same time in all three Persons.
When talking about God culturally, most people don't know Him. It's a concept, not a personality yearning for relationship. He's not the grandfather in the sky, arbitrarily posting rules and regulations, smiting all the sinners and patting the heads of all the blonde kids. He doesn't act like us, doesn't react, isn't surprised or perplexed. He doesn't lose His cool, thankfully, and He loves us beyond our own limitations. He created us, and knows our worth better than we do, knows our potential better than we do, and knows our weaknesses and strengths better than we do.
Sometimes, God is silent. We can't hear Him because we're not listening, or because we have shut Him off by opening ourselves to too much worldly noise, or because we are in sin and holy things are not on our minds. Or, He is silent of His own choosing. That is His right and prerogative. We are tested in the quiet times, moreso than in the He-spoke-to-me times. There is never a time when God doesn't love you. There is never a time when He will desert you. But He might hide for awhile, and wait for to see how long it is before you come looking.
God is in control, but only to the point where He sovereignly chooses to not intervene: namely, in the realm of our free will, our ability to choose wisely or not. While He is "in control", we are not automatons under His control. He does not use a remote control to flip our channels. Much like a child is under a parent's "control", there are rules and warnings and chores, and the parent directs the child towards successful obedience and discipline. That's how I view God's control and sovereignty.
The Holy Spirit is the personal manifestation of the post-resurrection Messiah (2 Cor 13:12-14), gracing and empowering (Micah 3:8) and urging us onward in fulfilling God's will around us. He instructs us in the ways of God (John 14:26), and He gifts us in particular ways for particular assignments. The gifts of the Spirit are given through the ministry of the Spirit, even as He interceded with groanings that go beyond our language and understanding (Romans 8:26). He is the Comforter, the Healer, and we can only "communicate" with Him in the spiritual realm: that is, our spirit, newly born and formed by the miracle of Christ in us, can interact with the Holy Spirit, and as we live by the spirit within, we are in proper alignment to hear from God. Most of the time, however, we try to make decisions and hear from God through our own feelings, our own intuition, our own perceptions - through our flesh - and we miss out on what He's trying to say. I hate it when that happens.