Friday, July 17, 2015
Are You Full?
So, it might be better to phrase the question, “How can we be filled with the Spirit?” But, if we stick with the original “How can I be filled with the Spirit?” then our answer would be, “By being meaningfully engaged with other Christians,” or “By being an active member of the body of Christ.” As we gather together for corporate worship, as we serve together as co-ministers of Christ, we will be filled together with God’s Spirit.That is extraordinarily radical stuff. In an age where the religious experience is considered highly individualized, to describe the ultimate Christian experience as corporate is radical. But it also explains a lot. That whole passage in I Corinthians where Paul goes on and on about the gifts begin for the good of the body...Think about it.
This focus can, and I believe should, change much of how we do church these days. We organize, plan and design our churches and church experiences to provide an individual experience. And yet, for genuine action of the Holy Spirit, it would appear that it is a corporate experience that is required. It's not about what I, or you, want. It is about what WE need. In thinking about that, I can see two things are necessary.
The first thing that is needed is leadership. That is to say people who are sensitive to what the group needs, and is willing to take the group there, even at the expense of some insistent individuals that do not fit the mold. The second thing is that when we are part of a group we have to subsume our own desires, to some extent, to where the group is headed. But this latter thing is tricky.
Because groups are composed of sinners and therefore groups can go in wrong directions as people often do, we cannot allow our subsuming to the group to take us to wrong places - Either as a group or as an individual standing apart from the group. We cannot go with the group to a sinful place, but we cannot allow our pride to put us in a bad relationship with the group. Much prayer and much humility is needed.
And perhaps humility is the first sign that the Holy Spirit is at work.
Group Holy Spirit Individual