[Jesus said], “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:25–27
When I say “Holy Spirit” you say “____________.” What word or phrase comes to mind? If someone asked you to describe God, what would you say? Is there a “person” of the Trinity that you would mention most? How about least? I’m pretty certain that the Holy Spirit comes in third in most assessments.
If I am correct about this, then it is not just a theological miscue, but a practical tragedy for every Christian who lives in this error. Jesus said that it was better that he return to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could come and make his home in us. His home in us would, Jesus promised, empower us to do more and better things than even he did. But I think very few of us experience that reality.
I think author and pastor Francis Chan is correct when he says that for most of the Church the Holy Spirit has become the Forgotten God. Chan asks, “If it’s true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple, then shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?” (Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.)
The answer is yes. And so we need to step into that reality, the reality that the Holy Spirit is with you, dwelling in you. Right now, the God who made you, the God who sustains all things, who invites you to “follow me,” promises to make his home in you. You are not alone, you are never alone. The gospel tells us that Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, receive the Holy Spirit. The truth is that Jesus is still breathing on the Church — still breathing on and into you. Ask him to reveal himself to you. Right now, tonight, tomorrow morning. Put up a card on your fridge, a note on your mirror, a reminder on your phone. Stop, listen and ask for the Spirit of God to reveal himself to you. He will. And the more you ask, the more he will until you needn’t ask per se, instead you find yourself in constant communion with him.
And as you do so, remember, “The truth is that the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you wouldn’t normally want or choose to do. The Spirit will lead you into the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross, and that is definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be. The Holy Spirit of God will mold you into the person you were made to be…” (Forgotten God)
Peace, hope and love