The Holy Spirit: Our Bastard Stepchild?

“It is better for you that I go away. If I do not go away, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will not come to you. If I go away, I will send Him to you.” ~ John 16:7

Notice the last sentence in that verse. “I will send HIM to you.”

God the Father.

God the Son.

God the Holy Spirit.

Seems the Spirit is the last one to get our attention. We put Him at the bottom of the list.

We count the Spirit as one of the Trinity because the Bible tells us to do so. But why do we so often view Him as the lesser of the three, an occasional afterthought, when John tells us in the verse above that it is better for Jesus to go and the Spirit to come.

Another translation of that verse says: “It is expedient for you that I go away.”

Though Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, it’s the goal of most Christians to follow Him and to become more like Him. How do we know Jesus if he’s away in the Heavenly realm and we’re here on earth, and why was it better for Him to go away?

Jesus’ task on earth was completed on the cross. It is a finished work. The job was done, and thank goodness for that.

But we do well to remember that God himself took on our humanity as Jesus the Son, and by His own choice He limited himself by becoming man. Jesus (as man) could not be all things to all people, in all places at all times.

In other words, if the Lord Jesus were here today in His human body, He couldn’t be where I am now and where you are at the same time.

But there is one who can, and is.

If the “headline” on this post makes you uncomfortable, I join with you in that discomfort. I mean no harm and no disrespect. It makes me uncomfortable because it points out my failure, and moreover, my sin.

So many times, I’ve heard people in church say … ‘the Holy Spirit was really present in our service today.’

Are we guilty of viewing the Spirit as some magical energy force, more powerful at one time than another, choosing to “show up” at one moment and not the next? Is He just some heavenly fog that we eagerly await to descend upon us and transfigure the moment? Is He just some spiritual portal through which we must pass to touch the face of God?

I’m guilty.

A pastor in my hometown was courageous enough to ask this question to his congregation last  Sunday. His question stopped my thoughts dead in their tracks. Why would I long for the Spirit to show up and do a great work in my life when he’s already right there, all the time? He lives inside of me.

He grieves when I violate my moral consciousness. He disciplines me in love when I go against His will, but He stands beside me at all times and loves me because I belong to Him. The deal is done.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve gotten things wrong. We’ve bought into the idea that the Spirit is some transcendent force or power – some notion just beyond our grasp and reach. We hope and pray that He will show up and move us on Sundays.

We’ve learned it all wrong, and so now, we have a lot to un-learn.

I know I do.

Thank goodness for the Better Way, and let the lessons of un-learning begin.

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8 thoughts on “The Holy Spirit: Our Bastard Stepchild?

  1. Your title intrigued me … and I was not disappointed after I read it. I love it when I am challenged regarding how I act, react, or think. That’s what this posting did.

    …and un-learning has been my approach for some time now. My goal is to be cognizant of the fact that I am responsible for what I think and do. Just because I’ve done or thought something for years doesn’t mean it’s immune to being challenged. Some of my thoughts regarding the Holy Spirit have needed to be challenged … or un-learned.

    Great post.

    • Thanks, Robin. Over the last week I’ve given a lot of thought to my blog and what greater purpose it might serve. I’m not a big fan of blogs that just post random thoughts or “musings” as they say. I want my work to cause people to think. Not necessarily to challenge their thinking or change their mind. Just to make readers think. It if accomplishes that in any manner, then I consider it successful writing, so thanks for sharing those thoughts. It makes me happy.

  2. Hey Steve, very true. The relationship we have with Holy Spirit seems to be a teaching that is completely overlooked in most churches today. Some good reading that goes a little further into this same train of thought only with a little more detail and with some great application for your daily life would be “Good Morning, Holy Spirit” by Benny Hinn. I most certainly recommend it!

  3. Pingback: The symbol of the Holy Trinity « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

  4. The Holy Spirit is a person who is a part of God. Without the Holy Spirit, we would have no connection with God.

  5. Pingback: the symbolic language of God’s way of heavenly peace « the magic of language blog: partnering with reality – by JR Fibonacci

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