weekly theme #29*
week containing Pentecost Sunday
“A deep sense of awe came over them all.” That’s how Acts 2:43 describes the early church. Seldom do I sense awe, and that is embarrassing to admit. The Creator of the universe has reached out to me, and he gives his Spirit to dwell within me. Yet I’m not in awe of this indwelling. What does that say about me? I may say that I am so focused on what I am to do that I neglect who I am to be.
I am not to change the world. God changes the world, and he desires to work through me. How awesome that is! And he works through me best when: 1) I allow him to change who I am (my being) from the inside out, and 2) I work in community. The Holy Spirit is more than feelings. He is God dwelling within me, and he wants to manifest himself through me if I will surrender my wilfulness to him. I can live in the illusion that I control my life or surrender my life to the only One who can control it. I could not follow Christ with the Holy Spirit dwelling within me. Alone I am too weak to progress against the opposing current of my own bent toward sin, the world’s distractions and opposition, and Satan’s wile and power. I need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, making my inner self a welcoming place for the Spirit to reside. I cannot open the door of my inner self to the very things that oppose spiritual health without damaging the Holy Spirit’s work within me.
The result of my surrender and cooperation is the ability to best function as part of the Body of Jesus. The Spirit allows clear and continuous communication between all parts of the Body and the Head, who is Christ. It’s hard to read through the book of Acts and not get focused on the acts of individuals such as Peter, Barnabas, and especially Paul. Yet the Holy Spirit can move whole churches as well as individuals. Acts presents the community of believers as an example of how fellowship looks, warts and all, and even in that imperfection the early church is evidence of the Holy Spirit moving people as groups as well as individuals. The Holy Spirit is key to the unity of believers that I so crave.
I’m afraid that I have minimized, perhaps ignored, the value and role of the Holy Spirit. Truly, I have been off target, and I have asked for correction. I’m eager for where the Spirit takes me.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.