This Sunday at 6pm, we looked at John 2:23-3:15. There is material there about the Holy Spirit. Someone who’s effects we see, but who’s presence is like the wind, invisible: ‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit’ John 3:8.
It got me thinking about the Holy Spirit, and how I’m learning to love him more. Here’s why:
Because his work is a massive deal:
In John 2:23-3:15 we see the terrible problem of the human heart. That even for the best person, new physical birth can't give spiritual life. That returning into your mother’s womb, being born as a baby again, is not radical enough to fix our deathly problem. But, standing in sharp contrast, we see that the Holy Spirit can and will give spiritual life (John 3:6). The Holy Spirit can bring the more radical solution we need. He can do the apparently impossible.
And so as I ask myself ‘How does this compare to how I view the Holy Spirit?’ I answer: John’s view of him is bigger, and way more impressive, than mine. He’s telling me that the Holy Spirit can do the massive work of life, when I often think he’s doing something small on the side. And as a Christian I turn to pray; I am left praising God for the Holy Spirit and asking him to help me understand more.
Because his work is the work of salvation:
I’ve been pondering the wider context of John. On Sunday we saw that the Holy Spirit gives people spiritual life. In John 1:33 we saw Jesus would baptise with the Holy Spirit. The work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit are intertwined. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the when someone gets the Holy Spirit. Yet the moment we get the Holy Spirit is the moment we get spiritual life.
As I ask ‘How does this compare to how I view the Holy Spirit?’ I think back to how I’ve limited the Holy Spirit to something extra outside the main event, rather than integral to salvation. John is telling me he’s massively important, even in salvation and I’m left amazed. As I pray, I have more to praise God for, more to ask him to help me understand.
Because his work is consistent:
Considering the Bible’s context and heading to Ezekiel 36:25-26 has helped too. Hard human hearts have always been the problem. The promise of the Holy Spirit was always how God planned to change hard hearts into alive hearts. In John we’re seeing these promises become reality.
As I ask ‘How does this compare to how I view the Holy Spirit?’ I realise I think of him as a New Testament character; not someone always promised, always integral to God’s plan. John’s helping me see he’s someone who I needed, and now have. Someone who means I can follow Jesus. I’m learning to love how much he actually has come to help me. ‘I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you’, Ezekiel 36:26. Thank you Father.