1 Corinthians 2:14
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2 :14)
The 20th century could be called the century of the Holy Spirit. In 1901 the modern Pentecostal movement was born, and for the first time some identified speaking in tongues as the necessary evidence of being filled with the Spirit. The Pentecostal movement had phenomenal growth world-wide. Then in mid-century it broke out into mainstream denominations in what came to be called the charismatic movement. Finally, toward the end of the century, the missionary enterprise was inundated with an emphasis on power encounter, emphasizing the need for visible demonstrations of supernatural power to accomplish world evangelism. Many in that movement seemed to focus more on the enemy, the unholy spirits, than on the Holy Spirit. Still power encounter has grown directly out of the Pentecostal and charismatic context. In reaction to this, many Christians have rejected all demonstrations of the Spirit’s activity and have been afraid to emphasize the ministry of the Spirit at all. This attitude is a tragic loss since the Holy Spirit is the source of all spiritual blessing. We humans find it easier to take one side of biblical truth to one extreme or the other, neglecting the balancing truths of Scripture, rather than find the center of biblical balance.
Whatever your present knowledge or experience of the Holy Spirit, I hope you’ll want to tap into his resources for living the Christian life. He has made full provision for you to do just that. Apart from him there’s no way you can experience a close friendship with God or become the person he intends you to be.
Since the mid-eighties I’ve been computer-dependent in my writing. I was satisfied with the way my old computer worked-after all, it used to be state-of-the-art. But increasingly I experienced difficulties. Gradually I found my computer could “talk” with fewer and fewer other computers. It couldn’t read what other people sent me. I began to use electronic mail, but the Internet was designed for speedy new models, not for my Noah’s ark. I upgraded, but it wasn’t enough. I needed a new model altogether. Dressing up the old one wasn’t good enough. Our experience with the Spirit resembles my situation with the computer. We humans were originally created God-compatible. We could communicate with Him. At least our first ancestor, Adam, could. But a breakdown occurred. We try self-improvement-reprogramming our mind to think more like God so we can understand what he is saying in his Word-but it doesn’t work. We need to be an altogether new model, a new creation (1 Corinthians 5 :17). That’s exactly what the Holy Spirit provides – a new creation. Our body and brain is the same, but when he recreates us, he puts a new spirit within us. The inner workings of the new you are different from the old me. The new you is made God-compatible. Theologians call this change regeneration. It represents so radical a transformation; the Bible calls it “a new birth” (1 Peter 1:3). Most of us, however, underestimate the potential in the new model. We don’t tap into the resources the Holy Spirit has provided by making us new (2 Cor. 5 :17).
Not only does the Spirit re-make us into new models, he begins a new personal relationship with us. His names hint at the personal aspect of our relationship. He is called Comforter and Counselor. Descriptions of his activity, such as convicting of sin and teaching us all things also point to his personal ministry in our lives.
When movies or fairy tales transform one creature into another, some secret formula or potion may work the magic. But God doesn’t do it that way. When God reconstructs us in his likeness, he doesn’t stay at a distance and send us a do-it-yourself kit. God’s provision for changing us is very personal: He gives us himself. The Holy Spirit comes and personally works the miracle. He makes new people out of us, and then comes inside as a constant companion. Better than that – he fills us up with himself!
We’ve seen how God himself, by the Spirit, has made full provision for us to spiral up into his very likeness and into intimate companionship with him. But maybe that isn’t happening. Maybe you’re sort of plateaued out in your Christian life. Perhaps you are even starting to spiral down away from God. What’s wrong? Why doesn’t the Spirit-filled life seem to work?
There are three possible reasons Christians fail to grow; 1) we may be ignorant of God’s provision or of my responsibility; 2) I may have unbelief, lack of confidence in God; 3) I may be practicing disobedience. If disobedience is the problem, it can occur in two different ways, conscious rejection of God’s known will or unconscious drift out of a close relationship. What is going on in your life? Take some time and examine if you are growing in your likeness to Him and in your companionship with Him. If not, why not? Decide today to reconnect or if you never connected, ask Him to recreate you on the inside.