Remember, back in May, when H and I drove from Nebraska to Michigan and we listened to the bible on CD as we drove? Remember how I was all, “It’s the best thing ever!”? Yeah. Well, that was all well and good for the trip to Michigan, when we were listening to the gospels and the letters Paul wrote to the churches back in the day. But on the way home from Michigan? An entirely different story.
On the way home, I decided to listen to the book of Revelation. Now, I don’t profess to be a biblical scholar or anything, but I’ve heard the gospel story a few times. And, I’ve listened to many messages based on those letters between the gospels and Revelation. So, what I mean is that I’m familiar with those parts of the bible. Revelation? Not so much.
Let’s just say it wasn’t a pretty drive home.
While H and I were on sabbatical, the members of our congregation completed a study of the Holy Spirit. Each week, they met in small groups, viewed the DVD, and then worked through a chapter of the study guide together. Every now and then, in Colorado, or Germany, or sitting on the couch in our living room, H would wonder how things were going for the church. Were they doing the study? How was it going? What did they think? How would they respond? Would it make a difference?
When the sabbatical was done, and we made our way back to the church, we began noticing a difference right away. I imagine a study of the Holy Spirit always makes a difference.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading the book of Revelation. Yep. Revelation. I’ve been taking my time, reading the footnotes, looking up the cross-references. It’s still a big mystery. (Well. The whole bible is a mystery, isn’t it?)
Over the weekend, I got my hands on a copy of that Holy Spirit DVD, and I watched the whole thing in one sitting. All six sessions. And can I just say here that the church really should do more teaching on the Holy Spirit? There should be more books about the Holy Spirit. There should be more talking about the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, when I speak at churches or women’s events, or even if I’m just visiting a church one Sunday morning, I listen to see if anyone mentions the Holy Spirit. Have you ever done that? You should try it.
There is so much I could tell you about what I learned while watching that DVD last weekend. But for today, I just want to share this: I need the Holy Spirit to engage my heart and my mind with the words in the bible, so they make sense to me, and so I understand what it is God wants me to know. The Holy Spirit is God living in me. And the Holy Spirit is smart. Smarter than I will ever be. The mysteries of God aren’t too big for the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is God.
Yesterday, before church, I sat down with a cup of coffee and opened the bible to Revelation. It was the very last chapter of the book, and I can’t tell you how excited I was to realize I would be done — done! — with Revelation when I got up from the love seat. I started reading and I was almost through the chapter when I realized I’d skipped a step. What I really wanted to do was to press on and finish the thing. Be done with Revelation and move on to something like Colossians or Jude. Instead, I took a deep breath and said something like, “Holy Spirit, would you please help me read this book?” Then, I started over, reading that last chapter from the beginning.
Oh my goodness. What a difference!
Let me say this: I believe the Holy Spirit is present in everyone who has chosen to go “all in” with Jesus. There may be areas of our lives where we are more comfortable with giving the Holy Spirit space and control. And then, there are the other areas. The areas we’re not so comfortable surrendering to the Holy Spirit. Or, maybe it’s an area we just never considered letting go of. For you, it might be finances, or relationships, or work, or worship, or whatever. I’ve got issues in some of those areas, too. But I had a big block when it came to the book of Revelation. Things I’d been taught, books I’d read, superstitions I’d overheard; all these things conspired to keep me from being open to what God wanted me to see when I read the book of Revelation. Inviting the Holy Spirit to figure it out for me was just the thing I needed to get past all that.
How about you? Is there some area of your life that might benefit from extending an invitation to the Holy Spirit?
Note: This week, at The High Calling, we’re running a series on work-life balance. It’s an age-old struggle, isn’t it? Whether you work from home, work at home, or go to the office each day, finding the right balance can be a stretch. What if the Holy Spirit could help us, even there? Click the graphic in my sidebar every day this week, to join the conversation about work-life balance.
Linking with Michelle.