Question: On Neglecting The Holy Spirit

Anonymous asked:

Hey JSP! First of all, much love because you’re an awesome brother and one of my favorite people living. I just had a question about the Trinity.. I was wondering why there is so much emphasis on God the Father and Jesus, His Son, and such little praise of the Spirit? Is it because we have a personal relationship with the Father through the Son and that the Spirit is a gift to use? Idk, I feel sorta bad the way we treat the Spirit or the way we talk to Him as opposed to the Father. Ur thoughts?

Thank you so much for the very kind words, my friend.  Humbling and much appreciated.

I’ve written a few things on the Holy Spirit before, and I can tell you it’s really interested no one. The Holy Spirit is like that weird cousin at a dinner party who wears vintage 70s purple-green plaid and probably has great taste in music but gets ignored all the time.

I know the “search engine” thing is a cheap writer’s trick, but on Google the name “Jesus” shows up 448 million times, while “Holy Spirit” shows up 54 million times.  So Jesus is roughly 9 times more popular.

I think it’s mainly because

1) The Holy Spirit is sort of a vague, ethereal, abstract concept that is not as “physical” as Jesus or the Father, and so our anthropological image of the Spirit is like a vapor or “energy force.”  It doesn’t help that for hundreds of years, the King James Bible called Him the “Holy Ghost.”  it has a spooky vibe that no one instinctually goes for.

2) The Holy Spirit is quickly associated with the Charismatic Pentecostal movement, so we generalize that with Prosperity Theology, healing scams, running through the church pews, prophecies run amuck, and a frenzy of speaking in tongues.  It looks like an emotional, unhinged, cult-like trend.  I hear random things like “them Holy Spirit chills” or “the Spirit told me to date you” and a bunch of other weird gut-feeling stuff.  I don’t think all this is wrong, but much of this has turned off people from ever getting Spirit-filled.

3) It’s natural to say, “I love Jesus” or “I love God,” but not “I love the Holy Spirit.”  Doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

4) Most pastors and theologians are not sure how to describe the Holy Spirit’s work in the cross and resurrection.  It’s hard to preach.  The Gospel is easier to understand apart from the Spirit, even though: the Spirit poured out life for the dead from the cross itself (1 Cor. 15:45), the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11, 1 Peter 3:18), the Spirit also justifies us (makes us right) from sin (1 Cor. 6:11), and the Spirit empowered Jesus as he offered his blood on the cross to the world (Hebrews 9:14).  But again, I know this isn’t easy theology, so most pulpits never touch that stuff.

5) The idea of the Trinity is extremely difficult for most people to grasp.  I don’t blame them.  Like when Jesus died: was that God dying?  Do we pray to Jesus or the Father?  Is the Spirit just a counselor?  How do we have a relationship with all three parts of the Trinity?  Some of this is a mystery.  But out of all three, the Spirit is the one most mysterious to our own limited brains.

All this being the case, here are some things to consider.

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Quote: Love Them

“Love people. Work hard. Think hard thoughts. The hardest thoughts. The ones that make you question things. The ones that make your head ache and your heart burn. The ones that make you angry, the ones you’ve been afraid of, the ones others will hate you for thinking. And when you find something good and true, don’t you dare hide it. Don’t you dare. Love people, love them! Go give things to people! Go listen to them! Go hold the door open for them! Love. People. Before they put bullets through their heads, before they start wars. Show them love. Show them the face of God.”

— Lauren Sheppard