Sunday, September 21, 2014
“God loves to pour out His Spirit with power on those who will dare to align radically their purposes with His.” ― Steve Childers
Almost all Christians know of the power of the Holy Spirit. Few Christians know how to go about filling themselves with it. It’s not like filling a gas tank where you can just drive up to the station, put the hose in the tank, and let the filling begin. We want to be part of the action, we want the power of the Holy Spirit in us to be because of actions we have taken, but it doesn’t work that way. Some have run from the Spirit because they knew what changes it would create in their lives, but you cannot run far enough or fast enough to outpace it as it travels with you wherever you go. Whether you use its power, love, comfort, and strength is entirely up to you. You have to invite it into your heart. The picture at the right is of a German visitor who would sit every morning watching the sun rise, praying, meditating, and then just listening for the comfortable reassurance that the Holy Spirit was there, and when he felt it stirring within his heart, he would ask for guidance, strength, and direction. According to him, he always got it, but only if he was quiet and let it speak to him. We have trouble being quiet. We have trouble listening to the still, small voice when the world is full of shouting, yelling, crying, cursing, and anger. I once went on a week-long retreat to learn to be quiet, and it was very difficult for me. Being quiet doesn’t just mean not talking. It means clearing your head of all the intrusions of this world, the dilemmas facing you, the worries you can’t shed, the physical pain you may carry with you, the anxieties of your responsibilities—all these get in the way of true quiet. It took me almost six full days of working with guidance from experts before I learned how to be quiet. When you can calm your soul, the Holy Spirit will fill it with power and direction, but you must be willing to accept it. You must be willing to go where it leads you, as it did St. Paul, the disciples, and all who have truly followed ever since. You don’t have to be out in the woods or in Africa to be quiet and listen. You can do it in a stadium of screaming fans if you really want to do it. It’s easier for me if there are fewer distractions around, and I welcome those times. God speaks to me through the Holy Spirit and quiets my heart when my loved ones are traveling or I hear of others suffering. If you want to love others, you must first love yourself enough to be still and listen to God. You must invite the Holy Spirit into your life enthusiastically, hopefully, and gladly. Please do.