On a recent interview, Jack Levison author of The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life described his budding interest in the Holy Spirit as being partially inspired by a visiting, newly graduated Bible student. When Jack (who was 15 at the time) asked the visiting teacher about spiritual gifts, the young man quoted him 1 Cor 13:10: “but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.” Jack was told this verse meant spiritual gifts were no longer needed–the Spirit was no longer needed–because we now had the Bible.
Jack was inspired by this negative experience–the idea that Christians believed and taught that we simply didn’t need the Spirit anymore because we could now read about the Spirit and the good news of Christ in the Bible inspired him to question the status quo. Needless to say, instead of abandoning the idea of the Holy Spirit, Jack was drawn into the mystery of the Spirit. And thank goodness he was.
Can any of you relate to Jack’s experience? I know my friend Becky can since the same thing happened to her at Bible college when her professor said basically the same thing. But really, I relate more to being drawn into the mystery. Mysteries are wonderful things. After all, who doesn’t love a cozy mystery? I certainly do. Their whole purpose is to draw us in and make us think… and discover! I remember years ago when I first began discovering the Holy Spirit, I told my pastor how excited I was. I said, “The Spirit is God present on earth and for our benefit–to be our friend and guide!” I could barely contain my excitement. My pastor simply smiled and said, “Well, I guess that’s one way to look at it…. but some of us have been searching for years.” And then he gave me Philip Yancey’s book Disappointment With God.
A mystery, that’s what the Holy Spirit seems to be to the majority of Christians even now. The Spirit is this ever-present, priceless mystery. But let’s make no mistake, no matter how difficult the journey to developing a relationship with the Spirit seems to be, the blessing of the Bible can’t replace her. Although, the Bible can certainly lead you straight to her.
The Spirit is God present on earth, sent to us through the sacrifice of Jesus. We need her, now more than ever.