Working my way through Watson’s and Abraham’s Key United Methodist Beliefs in preaching this month and next. I made it to chapter three over the weekend – the Holy Spirit. By far the most challenging of the chapters so far. I tend to pay little attention to the work and person of the Holy Spirit in my faith and life. And therefore probably in my ministry as well. I tend to conflate the Spirit with the Father and the Son in ways that limit my growth in spiritual things. My service too.
What struck me while reading was that I want half of the Holy Spirit. I want the Holy Spirit who is with us always (John 14:16). I lean on the Spirit’s comfort and healing. When I have doubts, I want the Spirit’s answers. When I am confused I seek the Spirit’s direction. When I am lonely I long for the Spirit’s abiding presence.
What I do not want is for the Spirit to teach me truth — “The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you.” (John 14:26 CEB). I ignore the Spirit revealed in the book of Acts who provides power and direction for the mission of making disciples of all the world. The Spirit that breaks down barriers between human and human and human and God. The Spirit who pushes forward into mission and service that is anything but comforting or comfortable.
I wonder if I – if we – do not experience the fullness of the Spirit because of this very thing. We want to be comforted… we want our needs met… we want to know the answers to the questions we have asked. But the Spirit’s work is a whole, a package, of things that include what I want inextricably linked with what I don’t.
It’s past time in my journey of discipleship to grow into a deeper understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit. All of the Spirit.