I’m in a men’s small group that is beginning to go through the book, The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith. The opening chapter gives some thoughts about the work of transformation in our lives. As he does so, he appropriately elevates the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Here was an interesting observation that he made:
“The Holy Spirit is often the member of the Trinity that gets the least attention. We pray to God the Father, and when we read about Jesus in the Gospels we can picture him in human form. But the Holy Spirit is not often the focus of our lives. I have come to believe that the Holy Spirit is not upset about this. The constant aim of the Spirit is to point us to the Father and the Son, and not to himself.” (28, emphasis mine)
I believe that Jim Smith is not saying we shouldn’t train ourselves to hear from the Spirit, he most definitely would encourage us to do so. That is what the book is about, anyway. However, I found some solace in his words. I have been in several worship services or gatherings where folks claim that the Holy Spirit was “there” and seemed to be moved deeply by His work and presence. If I can be honest, sometimes I begin to wonder if there is something wrong with me because I didn’t seem to have the same exposure or experience. In some strange way I begin to doubt if I have developed any sort of ‘know how’ of the Spirit’s work in my life.
However, it is fun to look back over the past year, 6 months, weeks of my life and recognize nudges, impressions, divine appointments, and circumstances that has lead to growth in my life. I can’t help but think the Holy Spirit was leading and directing in those instances and then, hiding away so that the Father and the Son would receive glory for it. It is interesting that we can’t even confess Christ as Lord without the Spirit’s ability. (1 Cor 12:3) He is in the midst of everything, nudging us towards loving God and loving others.
In our group this morning, we realized that the first step in walking with the Spirit is to call Him “He” instead of the typical “it” that we refer to Him as. He is the Paraclete, the God who “speaks and encourages alongside”. May we know His presence and encouragement, even as He does His best to hide from us. May we not feel guilty if the goose bump experiences on our record are less than our brother or sister next to us, realizing that the Holy Spirit is there in spite of goosebumps, dreams, visions, or praying in tongues. May we realize that He, the Holy Spirit, is ultimately leading us to be like Jesus- through conviction, encouragement, truth, and comfort.