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To Ignore the Holy Spirit is to Ignore the Voice of Jesus in Your Life

I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard the sermon last weekend by Jeff Manion (@ManionJeff). Watch the clip below. Then I’ll explain. (You can see the whole sermon here.)

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/41493586 w=500&h=281]

Most of us, if we attach ourselves to Christianity, are fine with Jesus, but sometimes it seems we are uncomfortable with the Holy Spirit. Why is that?

I can think of a few reasons to start with:

  • We tend to see the world in natural terms not in supernatural terms. Even as Christians, we intuitively doubt supernatural things (angels, demons, miracles). We are products of our culture.
  • Many of us are concerned about what we see as excesses in some Pentecostal/charismatic circles, and we want to avoid those mistakes (even if it means going extreme the other way).
  • Many of us are afraid of what others will think. We don’t want to look foolish or arrogant.
  • Many of us are simply unaware of the Bible’s teaching about the Spirit. We see the Spirit as some cosmic force we’re supposed to tap into (now that’s intimidating!). Plus, we’ve never seen anyone practice this in a way that seemed authentic and doable. The whole thing freaks us out.

Does that pretty much cover it?

Whatever the reason we have for ignoring the Holy Spirit, this is a vital topic if we want to follow Jesus faithfully and experience the “abundant life” Jesus offers (John 10.10).

As Jeff points out, Jesus sent the Spirit and desires to speak to us through the Spirit. But we can get even more specific than that (and this will revolutionize your perspective on the Spirit).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. That’s why we can say things like “Jesus is living in our hearts.” Here are a couple Scriptures that show this (there are others):

“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father’” (Galatians 4.6).

“I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1.19).

This is not to say the Holy Spirit and Jesus are the exact same. They’re not. The Bible teaches that God is a community of three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. They are distinct. However, the Bible also teaches that they are unified as the one true God. It’s mysterious, but it’s true.

My point is that when we think of the Holy Spirit, we should think of Jesus as well. And when we think of Jesus we should also think of the Spirit (and go ahead and throw in the Father for good measure!).

The Holy Spirit is the spiritual presence of Jesus living in our hearts working to make us more like him. So if we want to follow Jesus we must open our ears and listen.

Here are a few convicting questions we need to ask ourselves:

When I ignore the Holy Spirit out of fear or skepticism, could I actually be ignoring the Lord Jesus Christ? The one who died for me? The one I’ve given my life to?

Could I also be ignoring the Father who created me and loves me deeply?

Could all of this mean I’ve been trying to grow spiritually but avoiding the very thing I need most?

Where are you on this?

Are there reasons I missed that we ignore the Spirit?

What do you think keeps us from taking the Spirit seriously?

(In my next post, I describe how I started listening.)

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