September 26 – Ignoring the Unseen

September 26 – Ignoring the Unseen

John 16:13-14

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. he will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:13-14)

Imagine the following: the President of the United States comes to speak at your local high-school auditorium. The band strikes up “Hail to the Chief” as the president strides to the microphone. The spotlight follows his every step. Suddenly the crowd, as one, rises and — what’s this? They turn their backs to the stage and, pointing to the balcony, erupt in applause for the fine performance of the spotlight operator! Absurd? Of course, but it illustrates a truth about the Spirit. The Spirit glorifies — shines the spotlight on — the Son. The Spirit points people to Jesus, and Jesus glorifies the Father (John 15:26; 16:13-14). Each member of the Trinity respects the others. They maintain a balance between individual personality and corporate identity. In the same way we need to have balance in our approach to the Spirit. Proper theology and proper living are always a matter of balance. We must not focus so completely on the person and work of the Spirit that we lose sight of the central figure of time and eternity, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must also beware of and avoid the opposite extreme. We must not ignore the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Many churches and Christians treat the Spirit of God as if he did not exist. To ignore the Spirit is a tragic error. We need the Holy Spirit to empower us for daily living. Jesus depended consciously on the Spirit for everything he said or did (John 5:30). We require the presence and power of the Spirit no less than did the Savior. We do not have to go to either of these extremes. We can strive to live in the balanced center of biblical truth about the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, many people act as if all that really matters can be bought or sold, enjoyed by the body, or used to make them look good to other people. You might call such people unspiritual, since the realm of the Spirit is not very important to them. On the other hand, to those who are spiritually minded the realm of the unseen is all-important, and God is the most important person in life. Relating to him is the most important relationship. In fact, a spiritual life is one dominated by the Spirit of God. Stop and think about this a moment. In which direction do you tend to actually live out your life — ignoring the unseen or constantly connected?

A primary question relates to the nature of the Holy Spirit. Is the Spirit a person or an impersonal god-force? Consider what the following Scriptures indicate about the nature of the Holy Spirit. “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold him or know him, but you know him because he abides with you and will be in you. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:16-17, 26, NASB). “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26, NASB).

How do we know that the Holy Spirit is a person distinct from the Father and Son? For one example, read John 15:26, ‘When the Counselor comes, whom l will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about Me.” This verse indicates that the Spirit goes out from the Father and testifies about Jesus.

Romans 5:26 tells us that the Spirit talks to the Father. John 14:17 says that the Father sent the Spirit. You may have drawn from your own Bible knowledge for instances such as Jesus’ baptism. All three persons of the Trinity were present on that occasion, but they were separate and distinct (Matthew 3:16-17). From these passages you see that the Holy Spirit is a person, and he is God; yet he is distinct from the Father and Son. Furthermore, a division of responsibility exists between Father, Son, and Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s role is that of executive — the one designated to carry out the purposes of God.

Since college days, I have greatly benefitted by keeping a journal. Often my entry will be a prayer telling the Lord how I feel about my situation, praising him for something about him I especially appreciate, or calling on him to help. As I finish, I always pause to tell the Lord my personal response to what he has been teaching me. I share my prayer response with you for today’s reading. If you feel the same sort of response and wish to use this prayer as your own, please feel free to do so. Or perhaps my prayer will trigger something you wish to talk to the Lord about. Writing out that response in your own journal will help you. Whatever form your prayer response takes, be sure to close each day’s reading by talking directly to God about what you have read. Below I offer my response to today’s reading on spiritual realities.

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are real and that Your unseen world, which goes beyond my senses and beyond scientific measurement, is more important than everything I see. Thank You for giving me Your blessed Spirit. May I grow to know Him better and to experience His presence and power. Teach me all I need to know about the Holy Spirit, but especially help me learn to walk with Him all my days. I ask this with confidence because I come in the authority of Jesus’ name.

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