What does this mean in our walk of faith? I was talking to another Christian brother at work the other day about the mystery of the Holy Spirit. Here are my reflections on that conversation.
The Holy Spirit in Our Lives
Let's be clear on this critical point: You will be persecuted for your faith. Oh, you can have 'faith' alright. Just as long as you follow the ABC rule, meaning, Anything But Christ. The problems that we see in our lives, our families, our communities and even the world at large can be boiled down to having religion without the Holy Spirit. However it is precisely the Holy Spirit that gives us that much needed wisdom and discernment. Here is a profound thought: You need God in order to talk to God. In more trinitarian terms, it is the intercession of the Holy Spirit that allows us to converse with the Father. We then conclude our prayer in Jesus' name. It is the HS which enables us, gifts us and gives us the fruit of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit in Our Churches
As any hockey fan knows, every player on the Stanley Cup winning team (in this cas the Detroit Red Wings) gets to spend a day with the Cup. Tomas Holmstrom and his cousin Robert Sundstrom decided to baptize Sundstrom's seven week-old daughter Alva Felicia in the Stanley Cup. I thought this was neat. After all, what are the odds of any child being baptized in such a manner? Naturally, this got me thinking. What makes a baptism special is the presence of the Holy Spirit, not the distraction of a sporting trophy. The Holy Spirit is what makes a church a church. Without it, the church is merely a social club with religious trappings and antiquated props. It makes little difference whether little Alva is baptised in a Stanley Cup or a wooden cup. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit resting on her parents and in the church that she will be attending that matters. I sure hope they treasure the pictures of the occasion!
The Holy Spirit in the World
Let us then be clear what faith is and what faith is not. Faith is not the whipping of oneself into a frenzy. Nor is it falling on the ground whilst speaking in tongues. Similarly, the church should be primarily concerned with comforting the saints and giving our testimony to an unbelieving world. That's it. Once a church decides to engage in (usually) Marxist politics, strange (and un-Biblical) liberation theologies and other secular fantasies (global warming comes to mind), it is setting the stage for it's own destruction. It is with great irony then both the individual believer and the church often become the very thing that make the enemies of the cross giddy. We shouldn't be making fools of ourselves in front of others. Neither is it our job to save the world. As flawed as we are and the churches that we erect in His name, it is precisely this body of believers that stands as an obstacle to man's unholy ambitions. Once Jesus comes for His bride (the church), all manner of evil and hatred will flood this world. In the meantime, we ought to be engaging this unbelieving world and helping our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to be about our Father's business. Anything less will not do.