We human beings have fought a tendency to take care of ourselves since the beginning of time. For some reason, perhaps pertaining to the early idea of “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps,” we feel the need to manage and control our own lives, save ourselves and make ourselves act and behave like Christians — all the while continually making the changes that reflect the morals and precepts of God. It’s up to us.
But is it really?
I can’t imagine what it was like for those early Disciples. They spent roughly three years with Jesus — the Messiah, the Son of God — learning from Him, watching His loving touch and caring reaction to all persons, hearing His redeeming words and offering his followers a connection with God. Then, He is gone. Taken up into Heaven. Did they feel deserted? Abandoned? But again comes the promise — the gift — God will send them. And on the day of Pentecost the Spirit comes bringing power from on high.
We celebrate this every year — the day of Pentecost, Pentecost Sunday and the season of Pentecost. But what happened to the authority, the power? Where is the comfort and the truth that was promised? Jesus said He would send an advocate for us, a helper — well?
From the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, Jesus seems excited to be sending one to His Church who will aid us and be so important to us that His getting out of the way to make room for the Spirit was vital. Jesus saw the Spirit as a gift who would serve us well.
Did we forget where we put the gift we opened, the One who came to us when we responded to the grace of God in Jesus Christ? What happened? Perhaps we happened. Maybe that great desire to take care of ourselves and steer our own ship hasn’t left a lot of room for the one who seeks to be the source of change and continued transformation in our hearts. Could the gift have been taken out of the box, but left on the shelf unused?
Deceased Presbyterian minister and author, Richard Halverson, wrote: “If a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, his (her) witness will not be optional or mandatory — it will be inevitable.” The continuing presence of Almighty God is living, waiting, residing in you, ready to transform life as you know it. Let it out—it is inevitable!”
“I know that hearing news like this is overwhelming and sad. But the truth is that my departure will be a gift that will serve you well, because if I don’t leave, the great Helper [the Holy Spirit] will not come to your aid. When I leave, I will send Him to you.” John 16:6-7