Friday, September 25, 2009
What Do You Fear?
Erv Streng is a retired Lutheran pastor who was part of a group which, for several years, I met weekly for study and prayer. One day, Erv told our little group: “The problem with the Church is that we’re afraid of the Holy Spirit.”I have said it so many times on this blog that I think everyone is tired of reading it. Real faith in Jesus Christ changes us - precisely so we can be indewlled by the Holy Spirit. It makes us different, and I think that is what we are really afraid of.
I’m not talking about things like speaking in strange tongues or touching people to bring instantaneous healing, both of which God gifts some Christians to do. But I am saying that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity Who never calls attention to Himself, may sometimes cause us to do things to call attention to Jesus Christ which we’d rather not do.
Have you ever thought about what it is you really do fear in life? Not the trivial stuff like snakes and heights, but genuinely fear. The things you don't even want to talk about because you do not want to contemplate it.
If you ever cold bring yourself to make a list of those things they would all involve change and the unknown. My deepest fear would be losing my wife. Despite having lived alone for 20 years before we met, I would not know what to do with myself should she be gone for whatever reason. I cannot picture a life without her. Big change, and unknown circumstances thereafter.
No wonder it is so hard to get people to really come to Jesus. BIG change, and an indistinct outcome. And so, Mark is right, we do not talk about the Holy Spirit, because as the agent of such change. We figure if we ignore Him, maybe we can hold to salvation without change.
But here is the thing. The outcome is not nearly as indistinct as we would make it out to be. We know God, at least as best as we can, and we know that He is good. And because He and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, we know that whatever the Holy Spirit asks of us is good.
Big changes, perhaps - but they are for the good. I did not fear marrying my wife, though it was a huge change - I know that it was for the better. So are the changes the Holy Spirit brings about in us. Nothing to fear.